Aspergers and Poor Personal Hygiene

A common behavior characteristic in Aspergers (high functioning autism) kids is the dislike of grooming and personal hygiene habits. "Aspies" of all ages seem to have difficulty establishing sound hygiene routines in the areas of bathing/showering, brushing hair, changing clothes, haircuts, cleaning teeth and washing hair.

Some Aspies tend to feel that showering or bathing isn't necessary. I remember asking my grandson with Aspergers if he was going to shower. He said “no” …he didn't have time for that. He then asked for an orange. I told him he could after he showered. That worked the ONE time. Then I started to find the peels and seeds in the shower. When I asked him about it, he said it was faster to do both at the same time.

The source of the problem stems mostly from the sensory sensitivities associated with Aspergers (particularly with tactile sensitivities) rather than from “laziness.” The nervous system of Aspies is always on high alert, and their brains interpret touch in unexpected ways (e.g., instead of being calmed by a gentle hug, they may become agitated or tense). Sometimes even anticipating being touched can trigger a meltdown in a child with Aspergers.

Here are some of the main reasons children with Aspergers seem to avoid practicing good personal hygiene:
  • Using deodorant is potential area of discomfort for kids with Aspergers. The shock of the cold spray on their warm armpit coupled with the quite high-powered aerosol delivery causes genuine alarm and discomfort. Most deodorants are strongly scented, which also bombards a sensory sensitive Aspie.
  • Some Aspies fear falling over if they shut their eyes, thus you can imagine the potential anxiety experienced by simply washing their face in the shower.
  • Poor vestibular system functioning means Aspies often feel wobbly on their feet and suffer from gravitational insecurity (e.g., dislike of being upside-down, being suspended in mid-air or having their feet off the ground). Thus, the simple act of bending forward or backward over a sink or in the shower can create dizziness, anxiety or mild panic.
  • Getting dressed and feeling comfortable in clothing is another area of distress for kids with Aspergers. Irritations can occur from loose fitting clothing touching the skin, tags or labels scratching, and clothes that are too stiff or too tight.
  • Brushing teeth can be a challenge (e.g., not liking the taste of toothpaste, experiencing burning or stinging from it, having sensitive teeth and gums).
  • Brushing hair or getting a haircut can be a challenge, because Aspies usually have very sensitive scalps.

Below are 20 tips to minimize the Aspergers child’s distress over grooming procedures:

1. Allow your Aspie to try several brands of toothpaste until he finds one he is comfortable with.

2. Be sure to put down a secure bath mat to prevent any slips on the wet floor when he’s done.

3. Being empathetic and talking with your Aspie about his discomfort in the grooming process will help him develop better personal hygiene habits.

4. Cut out tags and buy seamless socks and garments if your Aspergers child is sensitive to seams.

5. Experiment with unscented roll-on deodorants or natural crystal antiperspirant.

6. Get him into the habit of flossing, and if he has bad breath, have him gently scrape the back of his tongue with his toothbrush. Get a fun timer to help him brush longer, like a cool little hourglass filled with blue sand.

7. Goggles protect eyes from shampoo and water.

8. If your youngster finds a shirt that he is comfortable in, buy a couple in bigger sizes and put them away.

9. If your youngster has balance problems, consider a shower chair for use while washing hair.

10. Minimize temperature variations when bathing.

11. Provide a soft bristled electric toothbrush and bland tasting toothpaste.

12. Remind him not to touch his eyes or mouth or to pick his nose. Germs can easily enter the body through the mucous membranes of the eyes and through the nose and mouth.

13. Remind him to wash his hair if it looks oily, and teach him how to clean his face and under his nails.

14. Set up regular bath times. Many moms and dads find that evening baths are a nice way to relax their Aspergers youngster before bed. And bathing the night before can help ease the morning rush. Some Aspies prefer showers, which can also save a lot of time on a busy school night or morning. Showers can also save water.

15. Teach your child to wash his hands, especially after coming home from school or playing outside and before eating. Hand washing is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses.

16. Teach your child to cover sneezes and coughs. Germs can travel far and wide on a sneeze or a cough. Get him into the habit of covering his mouth and nose with a tissue (or his arm if he can’t reach a tissue fast enough) when he sneezes or coughs.

17. Try to keep your child’s hair and clothing fashionable (even if he doesn’t care, his peers do).

18. Use a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner to reduce time spent in the shower.

19. Use simple clothing. Look for things like elastic waists, pullover shirts, Velcro fastenings and slip-on shoes.

20. Using visual reminders/timetables to encourage the completion of daily grooming tasks can be helpful in establishing good routines.

Whether your Asperger child is 4 or 24, personal hygiene and grooming may continue to cause distress through his sensory sensitivities. Being mindful of these sensitivities, and be prepared to compromise.

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•    Anonymous said… My son just turned 14 and still fights having to bathe himself.
•    Anonymous said… My son would not be no trouble at all. He is turning 11 and I have to drag him to bathroom with my husband assist. Get him in the tub. He acts like we have a knife to cut his leg off or something. Then his mad because he has to use soap and wash every where. He says we are trying to make him blind as water gets in his eyes when trying to get water on his head to rinse. Teeth. I wish you could see his face. Such punishment! "Why do people brush their teeth !" " I do not have sugar bugs on my teeth. I find it difficult to get him to wash his hands after going to bathroom.  I'm sorry. I guess I'm not answering your question but it's nice to hear we aren't the only ones. DRAMA that is my house. The dentist keeps telling us he wants to pull a couple of teeth and place braces. Yeah that's I laugh. There aren't enough people there to hold him down. No laughing gas going to work there. It would be tramatic to everyone. He would not tolerate braces at this time.
•    Anonymous said… Totally agree with the above. It may take months, like in my 14 yr old sons case, but once its part of the routine there's no trouble at all.
•    Anonymous said… We had to make sure our son had showering, and brushing his teeth as part of his routine. Brushing his hair isn't much of an issue because he likes it fairly short. A light brushing in the morning before school is all that is needed. He's very good about making sure he brushes his teeth and puts on deodorant every morning because he knows it's in his routine.
•    Anonymous said…  My 18 yr old son showers about every 3rd day, but he doesn't leave his room to get dirty anyway. Luckily, he is obsessed with brushing his teeth smile emoticon and smelling nice! I just convinced him to get a haircut after 6 months & he is loving himself sick Lol My son responds well to scientific facts, so maybe you could tell him why maintaining good hygiene is important (using technical terms) smile emoticon
•    Anonymous said… Always been a problem. When my daughter encounters tangles in her hair it frustrates her into meltdowns.
•    Anonymous said… I was thinking my daughter was the only one that had this problem so I am so relieved to know it's not just me that has this problem with my Aspie's child.
•    Anonymous said… I went through the same stuff. My son is now almost 21 (next month) and he's showering, brushing, flossing and requesting to see the dentist and dermatologist all by himself. He still leans on me for a lot of things, but knows when his BO is getting whiffy and he showers. He started taking pride in his appearance etc about 2yrs ago. Better late than never! Just need to get him the right job...social anxiety is a pain!
•    Anonymous said… My son 15 had same issues, but with many talk, now he started to shower everyday , wash his hair ( he didn't like to wet his head) , and uses deodorant ( this i have to remind him everyday).
•    Anonymous said… My son is 11 and all hygiene is awful but getting better. We found trying to keep the same routine of showering/teeth brushing every day but I still have to constantly bug him about it.
•    Anonymous said… My Son is 14. When I ask him to have a shower, he asks "why do I need too". His tooth brushing is more like 2 seconds, than 2 minutes, so I'm glad I'm not alone xx
•    Anonymous said… My son was highly resistant to using deodorant for an extraordinarily long time. Eventually, through conversation, it turned out he had read the label (of course) where it indicated the product was 'highly flammable.' He understood this to mean he was at risk of combustion when he had the product on his skin. Switching to roll-ons made a difference, but it is still challenging.
•    Anonymous said… My sons the worst!! Seriously worried about it he is 9 at the moment and i have to talk him through every shower after the huge fight to even just get him in there.. i actually have to brush his teeth 4 him as he just cant do it right or refuses to..
•    Anonymous said… This makes me feel better!!! But, he has started brushing his hair in the morning!
•    Anonymous said… Ugh...my son's hair looks like a mop literally. Teeth..let's just say his gums are red and swollen. And nails, I am allowed to cut them once every 2 weeks when they are 1/2 inch long. His talons, aka toenails he rarely let's me .
•    Anonymous said… When I can get my son in the shower, he washes his hair, etc. fine, but getting him in there is a challenge. He doesn't see the need for personal hygiene like clean clothes, brushing his teeth, etc.
•    Anonymous said… When my daughter was younger she wouldn't want to get shower but within the past 2 years, age 15-16, she loves showering and putting on make up and doing her hair even though she doesn't like leaving the house.
•    Anonymous said… All of this def applies to my daughter and has done for many years, especially more so now as a teenager - she won't have a bath and has to have set times/days for a shower; hates brushing her teeth and hair brushing is just as bad as it was when she was little - you'd think I was killing her when brushing it! The hygiene 'monthly' is defiantly proving to be challenging at the moment
•    Anonymous said… been fighting for over a year. i know he has it. his father does and nobody diagnosed him. they just did ect treatments. and finally at 24 year old they diagnosed him. i know my son has it. so im still fighting for what he needs...its hard as im doing it alone with no support or guidance from anybody
•    Anonymous said… Don't give in to what the doctors tell you. It took 8 years to get the diagnosis for ASD for my son at the age of 12. Lots of Aspies don't like the sensation of water on their skin. Keep going.....
•    Anonymous said… I use to be obsessed will hygiene but then depression kicked my ass.
The reason most Aspies don't care though is because it's a waste of time. So is sleep. Sometimes so is eating. It just depends on what were obsessing over at the time.
•    Anonymous said… my son almost 4. he is obsessed with being clean and washed and constant fresh clothes and deordorant. only issue is rinsing hair after shampoo from shower. he has never been able to take a bath...flips out. i know he has aspergers....drs and specialists tell me im nuts.
•    Anonymous said… No mention of girls and their periods. That's our biggest challenge when it comes to hygiene.
•    Anonymous said… Period panties may be a good solution.
•    Anonymous said… Teeth brushing is the worst
•    Anonymous said… what if your child just simply refuses? My son is 16 now and taller than me. His personal hygiene is awful but if I bring it up it can produce a meltdown. I find it exasperating and quite frankly, depressing.
•    Anonymous said… Yep all 3 of my children have an aversion to teeth brushing and being clean in general.

Post your comment below…


Anonymous said...

I am having a really hard time getting my 17 year old Aspie to shower and brush his teeth. In regards to showering, he hates the feeling of the soap and body wash because he says it feels slimy! Any suggestions?

Sandra said...

My 12 year old HATES brushing her hair, because it hurts her scalp. As a result, her hair tends to be a knotted mess, which makes it harder to brush and hurt more. How do I get her to brush it each day so that it doesn't get all knotted? If she were a boy, I would just shave it short, but she doesn't want short hair.

Anonymous said...

We use Dove bars for sensitive skin. MY 15 y/o has never complained of this being slimy. I also have a hard time getting mine to brush his teeth. He does do better with "his" tooth paste.

Anonymous said...

WOW!!!! My husband and I, just this morning, were saying that
"something has got to give". We were discussing the fact that it takes 2 hours to get our son to brush his teeth and wash his face.
Thank-you. I was feeling a bit hopeless about this. Thinking that he was just lazy or there was an ugly power struggle going on. He has always been this way with his teeth, his hair, and his showers and clothes, it is a huge battle daily. It has taken it's toll. But, now we can approach it NOT from such a negative place, but more of a coping one. Thanks again, for the light bulb moment, we didn't know!


Anonymous said...

I wanted to thank you for the informative articles. I have two that were diagnosed three years ago but one is more severe than the other. One has poor social skills and all the other things that come along with it and the other one only has small problems, harder to learn but gets straight As and plays sports but does focus on one item all the time. Going back to the article on hygiene, I thought it was just my son but thank you for letting me know he isn't. What I have found that works for me is I let him pick out his favorite body wash/shampoo and he is so excited to use that coupled with the matching spray deodorant that goes with it and we don't have any meltdowns. When he was younger he hated the way the shower felt on his body but loved to go swimming so try that if you have problems, let your child choose their body wash/shampoo, and if the water "hurts" their skin try a bath. Those two things have saved our family many melt downs. Thanks again for your great articles and keep them coming, you’re the only one who knows anything. Marie

Anonymous said...

I really like to read of others having similar problems to ours! My 15 y/o Aspie has only been officially diagnosed since the end of Oct. He has always shown all the problems everyone of you talk about! These articles are a "peace" to me. However, my son is plagued with OCD and is battling "fear of germs" I can't keep him out of water. We are trying some new medication. Is anyone else in this boat?

Candice said...

My 5 year old son absolutely freaks out when it comes to haircuts. It's a horrible nightmare. He is usually screaming and sobbing-his tears, sweat and runny nose create so much moisture that the hair sticks to him (which creates another irritation). We've tried suggesting trims with scissors or clippers (his choice). We've given him the option of going to a barber...no dice. What usually ends up happening is we can't get him to agree on ANYTHING, so we (it takes one to hold him and one to cut!) end up holding him down and shaving it short (allows for longer periods in between and it's quicker than trying to trim it evenly). It has been about 6 months since his last one and he's in desperate need for another, but I keep putting it off because it is so stressful on all of us. Please help! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

To Candice:

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Anonymous said...

Sandra, try a spray detangler or combing it when wet. Try combs instead of brushes (buy several types to see if she likes one better). I've long hair and brushes seem to tangle my hair. I've even ended up with some hairs wrapped around the brush. With my son, we have the problem of him washing his hair. He wants it long also. We warned him that if he didn't wash it, we'd cut it - and we did. After the 3rd time, he started washing it. He also hates it if I think it's to greasy and have him put his head in the kitchen sick and wash it myself. When he goes to take a shower, I often tell him, "wash it good or I will."

Jeanne said...

My 13 y/o Aspie hates the feel of a washcloth. I found bars of soap made into a sponge. As he washes the soap disappears and the sponge appears. He likes them a lot better. Got them from Cleanlogic. He also hates to shower or brush his teeth so we use a calendar and post which days he has to do which one. We will gradually increase the days on the calendar until he is doing it every day.

Susan said...

The shower/teeth issue has nearly destroyed our home. We've tried everything from his own stuff and timing to unrelenting structure. His manipulation, arguing, and anxiety are overwhelming for all of us. HOW MUCH DO I PUSH ? and HOW do I push the fact he HAS to be clean? we let him do it himself he didn't shower or change clothes for 2 1/2 weeks. We've tried 3 x wk specific nights- its NEVER a good time to do these things. We're at wits end. 15 yr old boy HAS to be clean.

Anonymous said...


We have the same struggle with washing and teeth brushing. Then, all the kids in his youth group made him a "Clean Kit" and gave it to him, asking that he start using it be caused he smelled. They gave him shampoo, bar of soap, deodorant, tooth paste and brush. He came home with it and said, 'I guess I need to start cleaning myself if I want to make and keep friends'.

The best time for him is when he gets home from school. He's too tired in the morning and evenings to want to do it.

Anonymous said...

an 8yr girl constantly has a runny
nose and does not care. I asked her
to wipe it and she tells me its ok,
she does not care about it. I told her it would look nicer if she
did, but she does not care. How can I help??? she also saids I can tell her all I want and she will not do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

I'v always had problems with hygiene. When i was a kid my mum used to force me to brush my teeth and to get baths and I hated it. I'm 19 now and as my mums becoming less controling over me i'm becoming more unhygienic which also causes problems with itchyness. When I was a kid I also had childs strawberry toothpaste that I liked compaired to normal toothpaste but it also left a bitty powder like substance in your mouth. I no longer brush my teeth I have always had a phobia of brushes. the sound and feeling is horrible. SHHH SHHHH and then the bristles :( I also find house brushes very irritating when there used. I do put deoderant on if i'm going out but I have to go outside to apply it (so it doesnt linger inside) and do 2 .5 second pulses from the can on each arm at about 2.5 feet (Lynx has a quite mild and sweet smell. although it still smells and taists like horrible chemicals if I apply too much). deoderant also tends to solidify into fine crystals on your arm pit hairs and causes itchyness.

You should also maby try a reward system (prefairably based on there interests). I used to like pens when I was a kid and my mum used to get them for me when I was good. She gave me a fountain pen for going to the dentists to get a filling. It was small cheap gift but to me it was the most amazing gift in the world.

Anonymous said...

My son can't stand having his hair washed and the battle is just too much for me. I would like to make my life easier by using waterless shampoo sometimes (every once in a while we get a mood in which he will tolerate actual water). He states that his objection to having his hair washed is getting shampoo in his eyes and mouth so that rules out some of these "foaming" dry shampoos. Has anyone used one that just stays up on top of the head and doesn't have any chance of foaming down into the face?

My son is also not a fan of brushing his teeth. The other day he asked me if there is flavorless toothpaste. I imagine there is, but I am at a loss and don't want to buy something gross. Does anyone have a recommendation for flavorless toothpaste, by any wild chance?

Bridgette said...

My 9 yr old has developed severe dandruff this fall/winter and trying to get him to wash his hair is so hard but I don't want him to go out in the world with huge flakes in his head and all over. It's REALLY bad! I used a hair scrubber to wash his hair and of course it turned into the likes of a pig wrestling contest. But what we found to actually wash his hair is to do the same way it's done in a salon. He sits back to the sink or in the shower and we wash his hair and all the water goes back.
We also have problems with everything else hygenie- bathing, deodorant, teeth brushing. He is getting better with bathing since he's starting to get musty on active days. I make him smell his pits, he hates the smell and he will immediately jump in the shower. I just have to make sure uses soap.

Anonymous said...

Bridgette, your son's dandruff may be related to what he is eating. Cut out the refined carbs: sugar, white flour and make sure he is getting omega 3 in his diet.
My AS son is 20 and hates to shampoo his hair or put on clean clothes. Doesn't like showering, but will take a bath and it helped to put him to sleep, when he was younger,to have an evening bath with some epsom salts. When he was 3 he would not open his mouth to brush his teeth and it took the whole family to try to get him to brush his teeth,but now he does it, but it has to be Colgate toothpaste. Not sure where one would find flavourless toothpaste, check health food stores. I found spray in,leave-in conditioner helpful for long hair and use a pick. We used to shave his hair, but my son wants to have long, curly hair but does not want to comb it, so a pick normally used for a perm works.

Sally Well said...

Our biggest problem with our Aspie son (5 y/o) was the teeth brushing. We experimented without much luck and finally spoke to the dentist about it. He suggested we use a natural toothpaste (he gave us Dr. Nate's Naturals) because they don't foam up as much, don't have as strong a taste, and most importantly (for me, anyway) it's fluoride-free so if he doesn't spit it all out, I don't have to worry that he's swallowing a stomachful of chemicals. It hasn't totally solved the problem, but it's certainly helped a lot.

Anonymous said...

Im so glad to find this article! I never realized this was related to aspbergers...hello self! I am undiagnosed, but my son is classic and worsening daily. I have attempted to get him diagnosed and I keep getting told its quirky toddler behavior. Oh well. I babysit kids for a living and this isn't normal. he says his socks hurt and I just plain don't wash his hair. I buzz it short monthly super fast while he eats candy and then i wipe his head with a washcloth as needed. He refused to brush his teeth for a long time and now the strawberry toms fluoride free toothpaste is a lifesaver. Also, to anyone considering it... Wheat free and dairy free gave me a different kid. The paleo diet is a true life saver for us. Best of luck!

Bethany said...

My 11 yr. old son is in the process of being diagnosed. His doctor is 100% sure he is and so am I. The biggest issue I we are facing is the bathroom hygiene. I am at a loss. My 16 yr. old daughter doesn't even want to use the same bathroom. He is not cleaning himself up good enough which in turn I am bleaching the bathroom, clothes, bed clothes...anything he comes into contact with. I am so overwhelmed right now. Nothing I do seems to help. I spoke to his doctor who has had a patient in the past with the same problem. Just when I think things are getting better I find something. Please help. I am overwhelmed and ready to meltdown.

Anonymous said...

i've had sensory problems for years relating to personal hygeine, your post has been a great read to understand a bit more why this could be the case.
I’ve just written a blog on the sensory issues I have in relationship to personal hygiene and why it can be hard for some people with autism / Asperger syndrome. Written by a nurse with the condition. http://nurseteaspoons.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/personal-hygiene-and-asperger-syndrome.html please check it out! Josephine.

Anonymous said...

You can have long hair without tangles by getting a good layered haircut. It was a revelation for me to find I no longer needed to use a detangling comb and conditioner every time I showered! If you want to keep it unlayered, get good at French-braiding.

Turple65 said...

Hi everyone...this one is going to blow everyone's mind.....
Our son is now 23. He was diagnosed with Asperger's at the age of 12. This year they added the diagnosis of Schitzoeffective Disorder. He has been seeing a Psychologist since he was 12 and he also see's a Psychiatrist for meds. A year and a half ago I applied for SSI with the Social Security Administration. Je qualifies for services because of Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Theys will deny if you say Asperger's. Once he is approved (long and tedious process because they automatically decline everyone, hoping that you'll give up (not this momma!).

About my son's behaviors: He has only brushed his teeth about a dozen times this YEAR; He refuses to shower our bathe at all because he's not "mentally prepared" which he can't explain or talk about. His bedroom looks like a scene from the show about hoarders, and smell so bad that it is seeping through the walls. WEre had to put one of this door snakes meant to keep drafts out, at his door to keep his stink in his room.

His doctors have been trying to work with the whole shower issue so we have worked it out so that he needs to take a shower every other day until it's consistent, then we can work up to every day.

We've also told him that we will no longer pay for his schooling because out of the 12 classes he has taken at the community college, he has dropped 1, and failed 7. We just can't afford it. He won't get a job and plays on his laptop in his stinky room all day/night. We've told him that hw needs to do some chores around the house but he won't. We have implemented the rules of "will work for food". We've put a lock on the freezer in the garage, and locks on all the kitchen cabinets where food is stored. He only has access to what is in the frig, and that's not much. The reason we went all "tough love" on him is because he is extremely disrespectful towards me. We got into a verbal assault and he told me to "shut up". When I told him that was extremely disrespectful, he told me that I had to earn his respect!!!!! I walked away so pissed off. His dad was in the garage and heard us and asked our son what was going on. Our son answered "mom is being a bitch!"... I overheard him. I'm so hurt because i've done everything to help him. I'm done. As soon as he is accepted for SSI, he's out of here. He'll have to go into a residential treatment facility. No other options. He has no friends, and all our family members have their own problems.

It's been 5 days since he showered, and even longer since he's brushed his teeth. He smells horribly of b.o., and his hair is oily and flaky. I'm so angry that we've never been able to get any services for him.

It's been nice to be able to get this off my chest.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I read it. I have done a lot of it already. She likes close up toothpaste I think it is the red one. BUt cant find any tooth brush she likes. I enjoyed the reading material! SHe has such pretty teeth. About the only way her teeth get brushed is if I am the meanie and I make her stand there while I brush them gently. SHe is 12 years old. Visual reminders are used for everything! For reminders to pick up after playing, etc... THanks again!

Dori said...

Wow! On a whim, I looked up Aspergers and hair and clicked on this. My son, who will be 17 a few weeks, is awful about haircuts. He used to scream when getting his hair cut when he was little, and I never thought anything of it. He was diagnosed with Asp. till a three years ago. It is a constant battle getting him to get his hair cut now. His hair looks awful, but at his age, we leave the decision up to him. He doesn't wash his face properly either. I have to always remind him to do it. Therefore, he has the worst acne out of all three of my teens. Before he was diagnosed, he didn't even know how to use face washes and creams. If I bought something new, he would bring it to me and ask if the pimple cream goes on his face or what? That was when he was like 12/13! It is highly frustrating when you are dealing with a child who by all other accounts seems "normal," but then has problems doing seemingly simple things. Since his diagnosis, I've just dealt very patiently with him, and try to explain things slowly to him. Surprisingly, his IEP testing from school came back showing that he was "well above average" for all his auditory skills! So at least he's listening!

Turple65 said...

Hi Dori,
The majority of people with Asperger's have above average-to-high intelligence. That's one of the biggest problems with getting a diagnosis in the first place. My son's Pediatrician refused to acknowledge that anything was going on because "he's too smart". It has NOTHING to do with intelligence.

FYI, the only toothpaste that my son will use is orange flavored. It's hard to find in some areas so i've even bought it on ebay. Not much good right now though. He still hasn't brushed his teeth or showered since my last posting on September 16th (a month ago).
Another thing that angers me...as you can see
by how many people post just here, I would tend to think that this condition is turning into a National health crisis and the majority of the country doesn't even know about it. Sure, everyone has heard of Autism, but Asperger's is not the same thing. Our teachers aren't even properly educated on the subject so they basically tolerate our kids long enough to push them through the system with as little effort from them as possible. They NEED more education for spectrum disorders. There's going to be many more students coming through their classes.
Just a thought on the haircut issue: it's never been a problem for us because I've given my son his haircuts all his life. However, with some boys, depending on their age, and with supervision, it might be worth it to buy a pair of clippers like the ones they use at salons. Set it on the longest setting to start, and let your son shave his own head. It's not bald. The longest sering if somewhere around an inch long. Remember, Supervised. And them put then away so he doesn't get any crazy ideas and you end up with a hairless cat!
Good Luck out there parents!

Unknown said...

Bethany -

This thread has been here a while, but I hope you're still subscribed to it. My son had a lot of problems with bathroom hygiene, made worse by an inability to control urination and bowel movements.

I frequently have reason to be thankful he's in such a good school. The school got involved because obviously these issues happen there, too, and they can't have everyone exposed to urine and feces.

They got him an occupational therapist, and she has made all the difference! Seriously, if there is any way you can do it, through the school or privately (insurance would probably pay if you get a referral) you should see an occupational therapist.

She figured out what his barriers were, got a bathroom at the school and the ones at home set up to meet his needs, and established a clear, doable plan for him to follow when cleaning himself. It worked wonders.

Anonymous said...

That is so cruel. It is hard enough to battle with an inability to do something your brain won't let you do, but then to be punished for it. "Not mentally prepared" is the same as "my legs don't work". Been there, done that. You wouldn't with old food from a person that pooped himself and needs help being cleaned up because they can't walk. I don't blame your son for not respecting you. You don't respect his disability's impact on his life. You are his mother. Help him find ways around his road block instead of shaming him and punishing him for something largely out of his control. Supply him baby wipes. Include him in choosing the scent of his room cleaning products. Get toothbrushes with softer bristles and let him dry brush if he can handle that.

Unknown said...

I struggled with it for years with my daughter now 1w. She now brushes her hair everyday on her own but has a shorter cut just above shoulders to help. I would put a show on that she really liked a half hour show or shorter is best. Then we agreed that no matter the knot situation when the show was over I would be done. I would sit behind her and spray lots of detangle spray on her dry hair. Then I would use a brush and start at the tips to minimize pulling. For harder sections I would hold the roots in one hand while I pulled the brush through with the other to minimize pulling as well. It was a long hard road but we came out the other end of it with hair no longer being a battle. I hope that this helps some, know your not alone and you will make it through this

Holding on said...

Yes maam. My daughter cannot stop washing her hands for about 15 minutes each time. Her hands are raw from washing them constantly. When were out running errands, if I can drag her out, she uses hand sanitizer. My daughter does not like for everyone to touch her belongings. She doesn't want different germs to transfer. ShE also would like for me to wash her up, and brush her teeth. She doesn't want to touch the soap, nor her toothbrush. She often tells me she doesn't like going thru this, but she cannot help it. It's so peculiar to me, because she doesn't want to follow necessary hygiene routines daily. But, she does not like to be dirty at the same time. At the present she is attending therapy. This is the Most difficult thing my family has endured. Good luck to you&your family. The best thing to do is to talk to someone & to keep an open line of communication with your child.

ezfoxz said...

Hate to tell everyone, but it doesn't get any better! I'm married to a 51 yr old Aspie and I STILL have to tell him to take a shower! I mean, i'm NOT his mother and normally refuse to have to play that role, but he will LITERAL
LY not have a shower, for weeks, monthes, and always says he "cleans" himself (spit bath that I never see) and states he never "needs" a bath because he doesn't stink...UGH!!!! I feel like his mother more then his wife most of the time. Luckily we finally have gotten a hold of a Psychiatrist who has an understanding of Aspergers and his Anxiety/Bipolar issues and has medications to help manage most of the anxiety and social anxiety issues but its still a work in progress...still no job for the most of the last 14 yrs...one day I hope he can get a job and keep it...never knew i would be a single mom esentially to all my kids including my husband...it is not an easy road for sure...

ezfoxz said...

I never realized how much Aspergers ran in families. I'm married to a 51 yr old Aspie and although I didn't know of his diagnosis when we married, I quickly realized he was definitely different from others that I had dated. His symptoms became obvious and I diagnosed him years before he was officially diagnosed. Our son also is Aspie as well but seems higher functioning (at least at the moment as he is only 13). Hubby has severe anxiety issues and inability to keep a job and has bipolar symptoms with severe depression at times. Luckily we have found a Psychiatrist who is managing his symptoms better then previously. He and my son both have the hygiene deficits that drive me crazy. Funny thing is that my hubby (who won't take a bath literally for weeks/month's will point to my son who doesn't shower for a week about how he needs to shower but in turn doesn't feel he "needs" to shower himself as he isn't getting "dirty" since he doesn't do anything much but play video games all day. I recently realized that my own father and mother both are Aspies and my oldest daughter too is Aspie (different from my son but definitely has all the female symptoms of Aspergers)...my other daughter has some learning disabilities but I don't believe she has Asperger's but she does have dyslexia and some learning disabilities...Just found out my sisters 2 boys probabaly have Aspergers for the oldest and Autism for her second son and she has a 4 month old who appears to be NT at the moment...Looking back at my childhood and at my parents relationship today, its obvious they have the symptoms of both the male and female version of Aspergers...Crazy how it all makes since now and how I always knew my parents were never like everyone else's parents...never liked or wanted my friends to come over, mother is antisocial and never was a touchy/feely/loving mother, very hyper critical, very OCD, dad is a packrat collecting useless trinkets he has collected over the many years in bags upon bags on his shelves that only he knows where everything is and what they are but are literally worthless to anyone else...and my brother who is also an Aspie still living at home at 34 and no plans of moving out or my parents making him move out...and they all are yelling and screaming and arguing all the time and no one see's the other's points of views and have always been hyper critical of me as a child...ugh...i don't know how I got out scott free (along with my sister) but I know first hand the difficulties and my sister is quickly learning as her youngest is now 4 and obviously Autistic and extreamly difficult...so sad...

Unknown said...

Thank you for your post ezfoxz^ you have put my current relationship into perspective for me and prepared me for what I might have in store should I marry him. I am 23, making a living and my boyfriend (of one yr) is 26 but acts as if he is still 16. He is the smartest person I have ever met but so so so sos so so so difficult! Every single day is a battle for us. I work a lot and he can't or won't get a job and if he does he gets his first pay check and is done with it. He refuses to clean anything so when I get home from a 9 hour day I suddenly have more work to do! I love him so much more than my 3 previous boyfriends he is teaching me some incredible things about myself and in general but he can be so obnoxious, innapropriate, selfish, and unappreciative without him even realizing it. He refuses to believe he has AS ( he was diagnosed at 15) and won't hear a word about it, he is very health and mind conscious, HATES society, government, money and anyone who holds any sort of power or authority. Anyway, he seems different from other examples of aspies I have read about. He is definitely unique which is what I hate and love about him... I sometimes am not sure if this difficult road is worth it....... He drives me NUTS!!

Unknown said...

I have ASD myself, and it's frustrating because I love feeling clean, but I HATE the way getting clean feels. Toothbrushes cause me sensory issues and I can barely use mouthwash (and mouthwash is the best I can do), I have a short haircut to avoid brushing my hair due to a sensitive scalp (I always cry when I brush out knots due to how badly it hurts), deodorant becomes clumpy and gross when I wear it, and I constantly forget to do these because I am a writer, and my parents and PCA constantly nag me and criticize me about it.

I also produce excess oil, and they always tell me to scrub in a tone that implies that I don't scrub at all, and I can't tell if they mean it or not. I hope they aren't criticizing me for something I can't control! I can't help my body doing that to me, I never asked to for my body to make me extra greasy, my late Dad, I inherited the excess oil thing from him (I love you, Dad, but thanks a lot! Rest in peace and may cancer plague you no more), and he never did that.

He only told me to bathe once, then let me do it on my terms, and if I forgot, he would wait for longer than the two minutes my parents and PCA give, and give me a bull-load of time before asking if I remembered, and never got mad if I forgot and then I would do it then, while the others yell at me for not doing so every 2 minutes! Gimme a break, I'll get it done if you leave me to my own devices, and stop nagging me every 2 minutes! That makes getting clean even less appealing, so sometimes autistics don't bathe because of a lack of understanding towards our disability or constant nagging about it, it's better to use a gentler approach, give us more control our sensory issues, and let us do it on our terms. The more control we have over our hygiene stuff, the more we will do it.

Anonymous said...

My son is 13 and suddenly hasn't showered for 4 weeks. He used to take 30 minutes showers each day and my water bill went through the roof so I convinced him to take a bath instead, but now he's not even doing that. He does wash his hands often, at least, but only with water. I can't convince him to do anything unless there is a consequence. My wife was in labor with him for about 24 hours and he they gave her lots of pitosin to get her to dialate enough to get him out. I kind of wish we had done a C section and never had the pitosin in case it is partly to blame for his condition. I've heard that pitosin could possibly be the cause of ASD, but I know I have it too and all of my minor tics are major ones with him so maybe it compounded his condition. He is staying up past 2 in the morning some nights and he calls us names when he gets upset. He's sleeping on the floor under the dining room table because he doesn't like that I sat on his bed one time. He goes through an entire roll of toilet paper every two days. He's clogged the toilet countless times. I had to replace all the toilets with the kind that can flush 28 golf balls and he still found a way to clog it. My sister went through a lot of this with her son and said the onset of puberty and hormones is the beginning of much of the worst behavior but it got better for her son as his brain adapted and matured. He's begun to say he's ashamed to be my son and wishes I would get in a car accident and die. He says some of the most rude and hurtful things. Each day is stressful, but at night right before it's time to go to bed, we can have some really great talks and he seems to be the most susceptible to suggestions. He's like me in that he can't hear more than one person talking at a time. I remember being that way as a kid and couldn't understand how my friends could understand all the conversations happening at the same time. I knew something was wrong with me, but I couldn't figure it out until I was googling some of my son's symptoms and a list of attributes came up and right there I could see that I did about 7 of the 10 ASD attributes, to varying degrees. I still haven't been officially diagnosed as I'm worried it might affect my job as a software developer if it becomes public knowledge. Right after I googled the symptoms, I did mention it to a co-worker that I suspected that I have it in addition to my son, but I now regret saying anything. He is such a smart kid and gets straight A's, but life during the pandemic has been a challenge and he doesn't have anything that he really cares about. We're dog sitting for a friend for a week and my son's instincts to care for something seems to be perking up. We may have to go get a dog if it seems like it will help.

Anonymous said...

I've never been diagnosed with ASD, but I'm pretty sure I have it after googling the symptoms for my son. I forgot to mention in my other post that my wife has Celiac so the past 12 years or so I've been eating a mostly gluten free diet. Then the past several years I could tell my anxiety was occasionally out of control then depression and anger and then sometimes I was dillusional and a bunch of other symptoms, but again, only once in a while. I remember waking up in the middle of the night with major anxiety and for no reason. Being that I'm a software developer, troubleshooting issues and debugging was kind of my thing so I decided to troubleshoot my life and I was able to zero in that it was eating wheat. Once the wheat was out of my system, which would take 6 to 12 hours, I would have all the withdrawal symptoms, i.e. anxiety, depression etc. There's something with the brain craving wheat and things going haywire once it's out of my system. I think being on a mostly gluten free diet had made me more sensitive to wheat and maybe my ASD compounded it. Once I took out the wheat, I felt so much better. Every once in a while I'll eat something like teriyaki sauce and then usually at night I'll wake up and can't go back to sleep. I've thought about having my son switch to a completly gluten free diet to see if it helps his condition.

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