Tips on How Having a Sibling with Autism has Changed my Life for the Better

Tips on How Having a Sibling with Autism has Changed my Life for the Better

Tips on How Having a Sibling with Autism has Changed my Life for the Better

*This post may contain affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. Please see our disclosure policy.

How having a sibling with autism has changed my life for the better

We all go through events in our lives that lead us to make decisions and take us down different paths that affect our life. Well, today I want to share how growing up with my brother has changed my life for the better and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Autism can be scary…but it doesn’t have to be

I think many people hear the word Autism and they think socially awkward, aggressive, weird, etc…We don’t have to think that way if we get to know the person for who they are and not what society tells us to believe.

My Story

My brother was born when I was 13 years old and I loved growing up with a baby brother. It was so much fun to see him grow up and have opportunities to play with him. I remember going out into public places with him and getting weird looks from strangers like he was my child, but that didn’t stop me from going places with him. He was my little brother and I loved him so much.

I remember going off to college and that was the year when he was starting kindergarten and the year he was diagnosed with Autism. My mom would tell me how hard that first year of school was for the both of them with her being the special education teacher not being able to help her own son and how much anxiety he was having at school. After that year was when my mom decided she needed to do what she felt was best and homeschool my brother.

Growing up along side my brother has taught me many valuable life lessons and has lead me down different paths in my life that I probably wouldn’t be down today if not for him. He was my inspiration for choosing my career path of occupational therapy and for starting this blog! He has taught me more about compassion and nurture along with my mom more than anyone else ever has. He helps me be a better person by helping me think outside of the box to learn to help other individuals as well. He has helped teach me so many life lessons along the way and I want to share them all with you!

My Number One Tip: Love your Brother or Sister for Who They Are

I feel like society tells us so many times that if we aren’t “normal” we don’t fit it and we need to “change”. I am telling you that is wrong to believe and that we need to learn to love and accept our loved ones for who they are as individuals and not what society tells us to believe. Think about people that have stood out in our society…were they people that fit in? Or were they people that stood out and had unique and amazing talents? The people that stand out to me are the ones who go against the crowd to stand out and be different. Don’t let the world tell you how you or your sibling needs to be, make the world a better place and help them learn to make the world work for them.

Learn to embrace their differences and their strengths. Help them identify their strengths in their lives and see themselves through a positive lens. I feel like so many times Autism is seen as bad…and this can have a huge impact on someone’s self esteem. Make sure you are always talking about Autism in a positive light and talking positive with your sibling and family as well. This can have a HUGE impact.

Don’t Try to Change Them

This statement goes along with the one above, but I wanted to make sure I hit this hard…Every person is unique and has strengths and weaknesses. We all have skills that we are good at and others that we could use more practice with. Your Sibling is going to be the same way, if they have something that is more difficult for them help them with that skill, but don’t change who they are because they can’t do something as well. For example, if going out to public places is hard for your brother or sister, find a way to make that easier for your sibling by going somewhere that you know they really enjoy. My brother does not like going out to eat at restaurants, but he was super motivated to go to Dave and Buster’s. We were able to go to that restaurant because it was something he wanted to do and was motivated to do it.

A strength of my brother is that he is very smart with science and technology. He is very good with computers and that is why I have been learning the blogging world for him to be able to teach this skill to him when he gets older as a way for him to make an income. As his sister I feel that I need to use my strengths of (patience and learning) to help my brother out when he transitions into adulthood to help make life a little easier for him.

Treat them as an Equal

This may seem like common sense to some, but always make sure you treat your sibling like you treat your other siblings as well. It is okay to joke around with them, play with them, or even get upset with them. These are normal emotions to have with all family members.

Involve Them in Activities with You

Don’t leave someone out just because you think they won’t like the activity or it might be too hard for them. Always ask them if they would like to join you in something, you never know what they may say.

I also want to say too, don’t force your brother or sister to do something with you if they really don’t like it or don’t want to do it. Growing up, I knew my brother really did not like movie theaters or going to restaurants. I always asked him if he wanted to go with me, but I would never force him to do something if it upset him.

Teach them Skills

Being the older sister, I kind of also took on that motherly role as well with me brother. I wanted to protect him from harm. If we went to the playground when he was little and had a hard time playing with the other kids I would look out for him. I would be the one playing on the jungle gym with him and going down the slides. I wouldn’t let the other kids bother him or bother me either.

Growing up with my brother when I was younger I loved being able to teach him new play skills or go swimming with him and try to help him learn how to swim. Now that we are both older my mom and I are both trying to learn to teach him life skills to help him be more independent as he transitions into adulthood. I know I look to my brother for teaching me new skills on the computer and through different video games he is playing and he looks up to me to help teach him different skills as well. Be there for each other and be a positive role model for each other. Take the time to help one another and teach them something you are learning.

Most of All Be a Big or Little Sibling to Them

Love each of your family members for the unique person that they are. Learn to love their quirks and be there for them. Protect and guide them in this journey through life. If they ask for your help, be there for them. You don’t have to make the big gestures, just do the little day by day things together that make such a big difference. If you are an older sibling like me, take time to call or visit your younger brother or sister because seeing you can bring your little sibling so much joy.

Growing up alongside my brother has changed me for the better because it has taught me to be the person I am today. I have learned to love each person for their unique abilities and strengths and to not let the world define who you need to be. My life choices have been chosen because of my brother and mother and I have them to thank for the person I have become. I hope that if you have a sibling with Autism, they can have such a positive experience on you as my brother has had on me in my life.

If you have a sibling with Autism, whether they are younger or older, what are some tips they have taught you in your life? I would love to learn from other siblings as well! Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Are you feeling overwhelmed by information about Autism and don’t know where to turn? Check out our 180+ FREE Autism Resource Guide for information about Autism websites, blogs, Facebook support groups, books, self-care, transition to adulthood information and MORE! Get your FREE resource below by giving us your name and email address!

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Are you looking for other amazing tips and advice from Special Needs Parents? Check out the other posts below for GREAT tips and advice to help you feel less overwhelmed.

The Best Montessori Tips for Families with Special Needs | Every Star is Different

Advice for Monitoring & Managing Anxiety in Autistic Children & Teens | My Home Truths

Advice for Parents of Children with Special Needs | The Chaos and The Clutter

What Autistics Wish You Knew About Your Child | This Outnumbered Mama

Ways to Help a Special Needs Child Learn | Life Over C’s

The One Thing I Wish Someone Had Told Me After My Daughter’s Diagnosis | Kori at Home

2 Things Every Hyperlexia Parent Should Know | And Next Comes L

The Best Self Care for Single Moms of Special Needs Children| Finding the Golden Gleam

 

How to Teach Teenagers with Autism How to Shower and Bathe

How to Teach Teenagers with Autism How to Shower and Bathe

*This post contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. Please see our disclosure statement for further details.

How to teach teenagers with autism how to shower and bathe

Not only do we need to understand the steps of taking a shower or taking a bath, but we also need to figure out how we can teach those specific steps to our children. Our family has been working hard to help my teenage brother with autism how to take a shower independently. We wanted to share with you tips and tricks that we have used to help my brother learn to be more independent with this skill!

Tips on How to Regulate the Water Temperature Before Getting into the Shower or Bathtub

This could be a dangerous skill, make sure a parent is always around when you are working on regulating the temperature of the water.  Make sure you are modeling the skill for your child and showing them exactly how to turn on the facet. If you find a consistent temperature that your child likes the water at take a permanent marker or something to mark where to turn the facet to so they have a visual of where to stop.

If your facet doesn’t have labels or color coding to understand which way to turn on the facet, you can try to add these. You could try adding blue and red stickers to the faucet to visually show hot and cold.

Try using hand over hand physical cues to help them understand how to turn on the faucet in your shower or bathtub. Practice this skill over and over with an adult present to make sure they do not burn themselves and keep repeating until they understand what temperature to place the faucet at.

Tips on How to Wash the Body while in the Shower or Bathtub

If you feel comfortable doing this you could model how to take a shower for your child with you in your swimming suit for modesty. If not, be there in the bathroom with your child and show them the steps you want them to take with how to get their bodies wet with water, how much soap to use, and then how to rinse off their bodies in the water. Show them exactly how to turn their bodies in the water so they can rinse off their front side, back side, private areas, under their arms, and their head. You can also use a handheld shower head if that makes it easier for your child to reach the areas of their body to fully rinse off and get wet.

Always make sure they are safe in the shower, especially if their balance is a little shaky. Try adding grab bars to the shower. We recommend getting ones where you can drill them into a stud to make sure they are strong and stable (you may want to hire a contractor for this), but if you need there are suction cup grab bars that you will need to check every time you shower to make sure they are stable and locked. You can also add a non slip mat at the base of the tube to help with traction.

You can try using a wash cloth or loofah while in the shower or bathtub to have put the soap on that to wash off their body if they want something to hold onto while washing their bodies. A bar of soap may be too slippery and just placing body wash in their hand may be difficult for them to lather and be able to spread on their entire body. You can also try a long handled sponge to reach some of those hard areas like our backs or lower legs as well.

When rinsing off their bodies show them how to look around to see if they see soap bubbles on their bodies anywhere and that means that there is still soap on their bodies and we want to wash all of that off before getting out of the shower.

When washing hair, show them which container is shampoo and which one is conditioner. You can write the numbers 1 or 2 on top to tell them which ones to do first or you could add a rubber band around one of the containers for texture if they have some visual difficulties to let them feel which one is the shampoo and which one is the conditioner. If this is difficult for your child you could always purchase 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner to take away one of the steps. Show them how much to put i their hands and giving them a reference like saying it shouldn’t be larger than a size of a quarter. If this is something they need to practice, purchase some cheap shampoo or conditioner to help them work on the amount of force they need to use to get out the appropriate amount of soap.

Also show and tell them how wet their hair and body needs to be before putting soap in their hair or body. Have them practice and tell them when that is enough. Also show them exactly how much to rub onto their bodies or in their hair by doing it for them, and then having them do it with you and slowly you can stop doing it and have them do it more independently.

When they are done washing and rinsing off their bodies, show them exactly how to turn off the water so they can visually see how to do it and then do it hand over hand so they can physically feel how to turn it off. You can again use either a permanent marker or a sticker to show where to stop to turn off the faucet.

Are you looking for a FREE printable that you can laminate and place in the bathroom with the steps needed for your teenager to follow for completing either the bathing or showering routine? Look no further! Check out our FREEBIE below to download your own step by step list to help your teenager with autism learn the steps needed to be independent with personal hygiene skills.

Steps for Bathing and Showering Preview Image Freebie

Tips for Drying the Body Off

Lastly, working on drying off the body thoroughly can be difficult sometimes. Again, we physically show  my brother how to use the towel to dry off and then we either have him start to dry off by himself or we finish for him because we want to make sure he really gets dried off.  We keep practicing this skill and showing him how to reach all areas of his body. We show him in standing and in sitting to make things a little easier. We do less and less for him each time until he can dry off his body completely. Make sure you are using a towel with a texture that your child likes so they don’t have tactile difficulties. You could try a super soft towel or a quick drying towel. Another sensory tip, would be if your child likes warm textures, you could use a towel warmer or put the towel in the drier to be warm when they get out of the shower.

During the shower, some children may want access to a dry towel or wash cloth because they may get soap in their eyes and this can help them feel safer during the shower knowing they can quickly dry their eyes off.

Organizing the Bathroom for Success

How can we set up the bathroom to help our child or teenager to be more independent with bathing?

Assign a specific place for your child to store their showering or bathing supplies. If several of the bottles look a like or are the same shape or size you can add visual differences by writing numbers on them or adding a rubber band or hair tie around the container to differentiate the bottles.

Store the bath towels in an easy to reach location and during the shower make sure to keep it in a dry location where it is still within reach to the child or teenager.

If they have vision difficulties make sure to use high contract colors for items, for example, a white bar of soap is very hard to see agains a white tile soap dish. Using high contrast colors will be easier to see.

Create a visual schedule with the steps to complete the task, where you can download our FREEBIE above!

Modesty and Privacy

Teaching your teenager modesty and privacy can be huge in keeping them safe. Talk to them about situations where you use public behaviors and private behaviors. Explain why when taking a bath, undressing, touching private parts, or using the toilet are to be done in private. Tell them exactly what types of behaviors are acceptable to do in front of others. You can use our FREE checklist of what needs to be done to make sure they are using privacy while completing self care skills for bathing/showering, dressing, and toileting at home and in public. Modesty and privacy checklist for self-care skills

Modesty and Privacy Checklist for Self Care SkillsModesty and privacy checklist for self-care skillsModesty and privacy checklist for self-care skillsModesty and privacy checklist for self-care skillsModesty and privacy checklist for self-care skills

 

Modesty and privacy checklist for self-care skills

 

We hope these tips can provide you with ideas to best help you teach your teenager/child with autism how to be more independent with bathing and showering. We know that these skills can take time and patience to learn and a lot of practice and repetition. When practicing these skills be practice safety first and always making sure your child is safe when around hot water. Please consult your doctor for medical advice or an occupational therapist in your local area for further questions or concerns. We are not responsible for injuries while practicing these skills.

Please let us know in the comments below if these tips are helpful and if there are others that have helped your family! We love hearing from you!

7 Tips for Taking a Vacation with a Teenager with Autism

7 Tips for Taking a Vacation with a Teenager with Autism

7 Tips for Taking a Vacation with a Teenager with Autism

*This post contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. Please see our disclosure for further information.

7 tips for taking a vacation with a teenager with autism

This past weekend I was able to go on a little vacation to Kansas City with my brother, mom, and husband. We left Thursday evening and were able to come back Sunday afternoon. This was a nice little get away for our family to spend some quality time together. As a family, we have learned over the years some tips and strategies to help my brother have success and fun while on vacation. As many of you know, a new experience can be difficult for a child or teenager with autism to handle.

Here are some tricks that we have learned over the years to help create a fun and safe experience for my brother while on vacation.

  1. Always learn to be patient. I feel this is key in all areas of our lives, but it still stays true on a vacation. When going on a vacation, we get out of our normal every day routine and there are going to be unexpected events. This can be difficult for my brother to handle when he doesn’t know what could happen next. We always try to be patient in every new situation to give my brother time to process each situation.
  2. Pack food we know he likes. My brother is still a picky eater, but he has gotten so much better at the willingness to try more foods. It is very difficult for us to go to a restaurant together and sit down to have a meal even today. My mom does a wonderful job of packing foods and snacks that she knows he will like so that when we get to the hotel we don’t have to go and find a grocery store or a specific fast food restaurant that he will only eat at.
  3. Do your research before you go and find activities you know your child will enjoy. I know this one may seem a little obvious, but do some research before you go to make sure there is a special activity that your child/teenager will really look forward to when you go.     We want to make sure the trip will be exciting and fun for everyone! For our trip this weekend, my brother was super excited to go to Dave and Buster’s! He had never been to one before and was so excited to go! He was the one that actually did the research beforehand and found out we were staying close by. He did his own research and sought out an activity that he knew he really wanted to do. In fact, we went two days 🙂
  4. Let your teenager have some choices and say in what they want to do. My mom has always been great at this, she does her best to make sure we can all try to do something we want to do on the trip. She gives my brother choices every day of the trip to let my brother do what he wants to do. If we are trying to do something as a family where he doesn’t have a choice, then we just tell him we are going to go do this and it will be so much fun! Let’s go! In some instances, during the day he doesn’t always have a choice, but when he can we make sure to give him a choice so he can choose what he wants to do.
  5. Make sure you have some down time to rest. A vacation is usually fast paced and exciting, but our family always makes sure we make time to rest back at the hotel. My brother loves just having downtime to play on his iPad or to get on his computer. We make sure he has this during his day to help regulate his sensory system. Make sure you don’t forget what types of activities help to regulate your child while on vacation.Make sure you find ways to incorporate that throughout your vacation to allow your child to be their best!
  6. Try to keep to a typical sleeping routine. My mom and brother are night owls, and I am not one any longer 🙁 Now, with my work schedule I usually try to go to bed earlier. I know that my mom does her best to try to keep my brother on his regular sleeping schedule to help him have enough energy to enjoy the next day’s activities.
  7. We always try to pack some extra clothes, activities, and a pillow. Our family is one of those families that always brings too much, but we have learned that sometimes it is better to have too much than not the right stuff for your child. My mom does a great job of packing some extra clothes or outfits for my brother incase something were to happen and he wouldn’t like an outfit one day or it got dirty. She also does a great job of packing activities she know he likes. For example she packed some of his favorite things right now to help with the drive and waiting times in the hotel. She packed his fidget spinner, headphones, iPad, and putty. She also does a great job of bringing an extra pillow so that he will have something we know he likes when he goes to sleep. Not every hotel has great pillows and beds, but at least this way we know he has a pillow he likes.

Do you have any tips and strategies that have worked well for your family when you go on a vacation with your child or teenager? We would love to hear your tips in the comments below! We can always learn more to best be able to help my brother!

Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop

Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia! Want to join in on next month’s Voices of Special Needs Hop? Click here!

 

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31 Sensory Strategies with Dressing for Children with Autism

31 Sensory Strategies with Dressing for Children with Autism

31 Sensory Strategies for Dressing for Children with Autism

*This post contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. Please read our disclosure for further information.

Sensory Strategies to Improve Independence with Dressing

Every person has different sensory preferences in our everyday lives. Some of us like a very calm environment, warm baths, listening to music, soft textures, or to eat sweet foods. We even have sensory preferences when it comes to dressing. I know I enjoy wearing yoga pants and a loose fitting shirt over dress pants and a dress shirt. My brother also prefers to wear clothes that are soft and loose fitting. As a family, we know that getting dressed every day can be a big chore and we want to help you find sensory strategies to help make the every day task of getting dressed easier for your child/teenager with Autism easier for every one.

Here are some sensory strategies we have found helpful with my brother when it comes to clothing textures:

There are various clothing textures that can bother children when it comes to dressing.

Seams in clothes, some children dislike the feeling of seams

Try finding clothes that are seamless

Clothing tags

Texture of the clothes (cotton, wool, or spandex) 

  • Figure out what types of textures of clothes your child likes and stick with that so that they can feel safe and become less anxious with dressing.
Binding in the clothes (elastic waist bands, overlapping clothes)
  • Try finding clothes that will not bind or wrinkle
Loose Clothes or Tight Clothes
Stiff Clothing (like jeans)
  • Some children have a very hard time being able to wear jeans. Try to find pants that they enjoy wearing. If they need to wear jeans for an occasion then try to find jeans with a soft/stretchy texture.
  • You could try these stretchy elastic waist jeans 

Some children can be bothered by clothing that could touch the child’s head. Be aware of this with your child and notice if hats really bother them.

Shoes can be something that your child might have a hard time with. Some kids prefer closed toes shoes or open toe shoes. Try to find shoes that allow your child to be independent with dressing. If they become frustrated with tying their shoes try elastic shoe laces or velcro shoes. Maybe your child would like light up shoes for fun! Try to find shoes that are comfortable for your child that they can be successful with in dressing.

Weight of the clothing (heavy clothes vs. light clothes). Pay attention to the time of year is your child more bothered by heavy winter clothes or light summer clothes? Is there a way you can take away layers or add layers in textures of clothes that your child still prefers?

When children are bothered by the feeling of their clothes they may constantly tag or pull at their clothes. They may have difficulty needing to change clothes through out the day such as for swimming lessons or after getting dirty. If you child does become bothered by changing clothes, try to limit the number of times they will need to change their clothes. Also shopping for new clothes may cause a lot of stress. See if you can do more shopping online where they have free returns so you don’t have to cause too much stress for your family.

Children can also have visual and auditory preferences with clothing and this is something to consider.

  • Visual preferences in the clothing
    Some children prefer a certain color, numbers or letters, or character on their clothes. Find out if there is a certain thing that your child prefers and figure out if they would be more willing to be more independent with dressing with that preferred item of clothing. For example, a child might love the Ninja Turtles, find some Ninja Turtles clothes that they could wear every day to help them be more independent with dressing.

    Finding clothes in their closet or drawer maybe difficult or cause them stress

    • Set them up for success with either having the clothes laid out for them or in a location in their room where they can easily access the clothes to put them on every day.
  • Auditory
    • Clothing noises (e.g. buckles, sequins or sparkles)
      • Some children can become very bothered by the different sounds clothing can make such as buckles rubbing together or sequins/sparkles on a shirt rubbing together. If that is bothersome for your child, try to avoid those types of clothing.
    • Sounds of items in their pocket of their pants

If your child becomes very irritated by the clothing texture, see if you can find textures of clothes that they are more comfortable in. Don’t force them to wear clothes that they really dislike wearing.

If you find a certain texture of clothing that your child/teenager is more likely to wear such as a loose fitting shirt that is cotton, when they need to find clothes for a different occasion such as a wedding, try to find a dress shirt made out of cotton that is a little looser feeling.

I know it may feel super time consuming trying to find clothes that are similar in feeling for different occasions, but once you are able to find something to help your child be successful and more independent with dressing and have less meltdowns with the dressing process, this can make your family’s life a lot easier.

Strategies

  • Find the texture of clothes that your child prefers and avoid ones that your child really does not like
  • If they need to wear a certain type of fabric they do not like, try having them wear a clothing texture they do like under the clothes so their body does not have to feel the texture they don’t like.
  • If needed, the child can wear clothing inside out so they do not feel the seams.
  • Try warming up the clothes in the dryer before needing to get dressed if your child prefers warm feelings.
  • You may try washing clothes multiple times to make if more soft.
  • Set up the environment for success by setting out the clothes for them or making sure they are easily accessible in their room for them to get dressed more independently.
    • You can also try labeling the dresser drawers or organizing their closet with specific types of clothing in certain areas to make it easier for them to find the different types of clothes.
    • Use hooks or hangers at eye level for the child to be able to visually see all of the items.
  • Provide a visual checklist of each step of dressing to help the child visually see how to get dressed.
  • Provide a rewards chart with stickers for your child to visually see a reward they can work towards with getting dressed independently every day.
  • If your child likes music, try playing music while getting dressed.
  • Make up a silly song about getting dressed and sing it together while your child is getting dressed.
  • Use a mirror to help your child visually see how they are getting dressed.
  • You can model the behavior you want with them when it comes to getting dressed so they can visually see how to put that item of clothing on.
  • Allow for extra time in the morning and night to allow your child to practice each skill and become more independent. That way you don’t feel so rushed. If it is hard to have extra time in the morning, make it a priority to practice the dressed skills at night when you aren’t feeling rushed to leave in the morning.
  • Before getting dressed in the morning or before bed, talk about the dressing process and tell them the exact steps that need to be accomplished so they know the routine.
  • Try calming activities before getting dressed with a massage
  • Complete deep pressure or heavy work activities before getting dressed such as squeezes, jumping on the trampoline, crab walk, or bear crawl.

If your family is still struggling to with dressing, please contact your local occupational therapist and they will be able to provide you with specific strategies for your child and family.

Please let me know if there are certain types of clothes that work well for your child or teenager and I would love to add them to the list to help provide a comprehensive dressing resource for families! Please leave a comment about them below!

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you looking for Resources to help your family find information about Autism? We have created an amazing FREEBIE with over 180+ Autism and Special Needs Resources just for you!

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How to Teach Teenagers with Autism Personal Hygiene Self-Care Tasks

How to Teach Teenagers with Autism Personal Hygiene Self-Care Tasks

Teenagers Autism Personal Hygiene Self Care Tasks

Teaching Personal Hygiene Self-Care Tasks

As you may know our family is working hard to teach my teenage brother with autism to be independent with every day tasks and some of those skills include personal hygiene self care tasks. My mom, really wanted to know where he stood with how much he could do on his own and how much he was needing help from her at home. So, we created these charts with the steps broken down for each task so we could monitor how much assistance he was needing with each skill. Then my mom could learn which steps he was needing the most help with and we could brainstorm ideas on ways he could do those steps more independently.

Here is a sample of 3 of the task analysis charts for you to preview! If you would like to download all for FREE please provide me with your name and email address below! Tasks you will receive: showering, bathing, brushing teeth, washing face, toileting routine for boys, girls, and bowel movement, and brushing hair!

Task Analysis charts for Personal Hygiene Skills

 

For example, he was learning to wash his face every day with a new acne soap to help him with his skin. In the beginning my mom had to do each step for him because he hated to get his face wet with water and he was afraid to get soap in his eyes. One way we helped him with this fear was by having a dry towel within arms reach that he could get to if he felt like he was going to get water or soap in his eyes. This helped to calm him so that he was more willing to complete the task. Then each day my mom would try one simple step for him to try such as getting his hands wet and just touching this face and then gradually working to having him getting this face wet himself. This was a very slow process and we were very patient with him, but over time and with lots of repetition he was able to do this skill pretty much all by himself. Now my mom just stands by and watches incase he needs something and plus this helps with his fear as well.

As a family, we know that these skills can be difficult to learn and take lots of time and repetition to help our children learn to do these skills independently. We also know that there has to be somewhat of an intrinsic motivation for the child to want to be independent with the skill. For my brother, he was motivated to learn these skills to help his skin feel and look better and he had mentioned that he wanted to get married one day 🙂 So we had a conversation about how if you want to get a girlfriend you will want to smell nice for her. These were ideas were intrinsically motivating for him so he was more willing to practice this skill as well.

Think about your families life and dynamic? What is important to your child? Have they mentioned anything about friends or how their body feels? Maybe that could be an idea to go with to help motivate them to learn this skill. Or do they have someone they look up to that could talk to them about the importance of keeping our bodies clean and healthy?

Let me know in the comments below if there are any strategies you have used to help your teenager with autism be more motivated to learn the personal hygiene skills?

Are you looking for more Autism Resources? Check out our post with over 180+ Autism and Special Needs Resources to help you feel less overwhelmed! It is an amazing FREE download!!

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7 Sensory Processing Books to Help you Understand the Child’s Perspective

7 Sensory Processing Books to Help you Understand the Child’s Perspective

*This post contains affiliate links, there is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. Please see our disclosure statement for further details. 

Sensory Processing Books

7 Sensory Processing Books To help you Understand the Child's Perspective

My family and I wanted to combine a list of various sensory processing books that we have gone to for resources to learn how to best help my brother and the kids that we have worked with. The sensory system and world is very complex and can be difficult to understand when we can’t feel what the other person is feeling or going through. We wanted to learn as much as we could to best be able to help our brother with his day to day activities and to help keep him in a calm state where he can best learn. We have found these books to be excellent resources and we hope you will too!

The Out-of-Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz

 

The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up: Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder in the Adolescent and Young Adult Years by Carol Kranowitz and Lucy Jane Miller

 

The Out-of-Sync Child has Fun, Revised Edition: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder by Carol Kranowitz

Raising a Sensory Smart Child: the Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues, Revised Edition by Lindsey Biel, Nancy Peske & Temple Grandin

Understanding Your Child’s Sensory Signals: A Practical Daily Use Handbook for Parents and Teachers by Angie Voss

The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children by Ross W. Greene (this is a behavior book with very good reviews)

Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) by Lucy Jane Miller

 

We hope that you have found this list to be helpful for your own learning purposes to best be able to help your loved ones. We want to be here to help you and provide you with support and encouragement. Please let us know which books you have found helpful or if you have another book you would like to add to the list!

Are you feeling overwhelmed with various information about Autism or having a hard time find good resources? This post is part of our FREE resource that we have created with tons of information and Autism and Special Needs Resources! You will be able to find tons of information such as websites, blogs, podcasts, books, support groups, transition to adulthood resources and MORE! If you would like to download this FREE resource please provide your name and email address in the boxes below!

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Please let us know in the comments below what you think about the resources and if there is anything you are struggling with as a parent with your child with Autism currently? We would love to provide you with resources and encouragement!

Are you looking for more books about Autism and children with disabilities?

Check out our post about 21 Books to Help you Better Understand Autism. and 13 Children’s Books About Disabilities 

Lastly, check out our post on 5 Ways to Better Understand Autism for more information

21 Books to Help you Better Understand Autism

21 Books to Help you Better Understand Autism

*This page contains affiliate links, there is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. Please see our disclosure statement for further details. 

21 Books to Help you Better Understand Autism

21 Books to Help you Better Understand Autism Pin

Our family has read many books over the years to help us better understand Autism and various perspectives to help us better be able to help my brother through his journey through life. We wanted to create a resource with various books that we have found helpful and highly recommended.

The Reason I jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen Year old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida

 

The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism by Kristine Barnett

 

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman

 

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes you Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition by Ellen Notbohm

 

Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism by Barry M. Prizant

 

In a Different Key: the Story of Autism by John Donvan & Caren Zucker

 

Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism by Arthur & Carly Fleishmann

 

A Parent’s Guide to High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder: How to Meet the Challenges and Help your Child Thrive by Sally Ozonoff, Geraldine Dawson, & James C. McPartland

 

The Anti-Romantic Child: A Memoir of Unexpected Joy by Priscilla Gilman

 

Autism Every Day: Over 150 Strategies Lived and Learned by a Professional Autism Consultant with 3 Sons on the Spectrum by Alyson Beytien

 

Somewhere Over the Sea: A Father’s Letter to his Autistic Son by Halfdan W. Freihow

 

The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed by Temple Grandin

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (revised): The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism by Chantal Sicile-Kira

 

The Obsessive Joy of Autism by Julia Bascom

The Obsessive Joy of Autism

Kids Beyond Limits: The Anat Baniel Method for Awakening the Brain and Transforming the Life of your Child with Special Needs by Anat Baniel

The Social Skills Picture Book: Teaching Play, Emotion, and Communication to Children with Autism by Jed Baker

The Social Skills Picture Book for High School and Beyond by Jed Baker

I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autism by Pat Thomas

It’s Raining Cats and Dogs: An Autism Spectrum Guide to the Confusing World of Idioms, Metaphors, and Everyday Expressions by Michael Barton

Motivate to Communicate!: 300 Games and Activities for your Child with Autism by Simone Griffin

All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism by Shaina Rudolph & Danielle Royer

 We wanted to create a comprehensive list that can provide you with a wide variety of options to help you learn more Autism and learn the world through their perspective and eyes. Our family has loved getting to read these books and we hope you will too. Please share with us books that you have enjoyed and if there are any that you feel should be added!

Has your child just received the Autism Diagnosis? Are you feeling overwhelmed with all of the information? We wanted to create a comprehensive FREE resource for you with tons of Autism and Special Needs Resources. This blog post is part of our resource where we provide you with information on tons of areas such as websites, books, podcasts, blogs, support groups, transitions into adulthood and MORE! If you would like this FREE download please provide us with your name and email address below to grab your FREE copy! Autism Free Resources Preview

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13 Children’s Books About Disabilities

13 Children’s Books About Disabilities

*This page contains affiliate links, there is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. Please read our disclosure statement for more information. 

13 Children’s Books About Disabilities 

13 books about disabilities pin

Are you looking for children’s books that provide insight and understanding about various disabilities? I feel that the best way to help our children learn compassion and understanding is by talking to them about various disabilities and sharing stories to help them understand.

We have compiled a round up of various books that we have come across that share insight about children with various disabilities. We have not personally read them all, but they were all highly recommended.

My Brother Sammy is Special by by Becky Edwards

 In this book Sammy has autism and his brother gets frustrated that he can’t always play with him because he doesn’t like the same things he does and wants a brother more like him. But by the end of the book the older brother realizes that he should not demand everything on his own terms and that Sammy’s way of doing things may not be so bad after all. Grades K–3.

Just Because by Rebecca Elliott

 This is a heartwarming picture book about being perfectly loved, no matter what. The younger brother goes on to describe all of the fun he has with his big sister who he loves so much and delights in telling us all about the fun things they do together. As the books goes on he realizes his sister has special needs and he accepts this as he does, all the wonderful things about her. Ages 4-8.

My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete

In this book,Charlie has autism and it goes on to talk about how his brain works in a special way and it’s harder for him to make friends. His big sister tells us, for everything that Charlie can’t do well, there are plenty more things that he’s good at. She goes on to tell us everything he is good at and shows a wonderful relationship between siblings. Grades  K–3.

Molly the Pony: A True Story by Pam Kaster

This book is about Molly the pony and shares the experiences she went through when she was rescued after Hurrican Katrina and her new ling on a farm with new animal friends. A dog at the farm attacks her and her front leg is injured badly and she undergoes amputation of her front leg which is a rare surgery for horses. She then relearns how to walk and embarks on this new mission in life. Grades K-3.

Knockin’ on Wood: Starring Peg Leg Bates by Lynne Barasch

This is an inspirational biography of Clayton -Peg Leg- Bates (1907-1998), an African American man who over came the hardship of losing a leg at age 12 and went on to become a world-renowned tap dancer. Grades K-3.

Rainbow Joe and Me by Maria Diaz Strom

This book talks about how Eloise learns a new way to see the world through her friend Rainbow Joe who is blind. He teaches her how he imagines and mixes colors. Eloise learns a whole new way to see the world. Grades K-3.

Different, Not Less: A Children’s Book About Autism by Dan Gibbons

This is a fantastic book talking about how children with autism can do amazing, incredible things!  This book can be used to teach your child about Autism Spectrum Disorder. The poem in the book was written by a father of a son with ASD. This book will give you an opportunity to explain the diagnosis to your child when you believe they are able to understand. Each page also has a hidden word. Red letters mixed in with the black letters spell uplifting words for those diagnosed with autism. Can your child find them? Grades K-3.

Silent Star: the Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy by Bill Wise


This book shares the story of William Hoy and how he loved baseball. Growing up in the 1860s and ’70s, he dreamed of one day playing in the major leagues. A far-off fantasy for many boys, fulfilling this dream was even more of a long shot for William, who was deaf. Age Range: 6 – 11 years.

The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon

This book shares the experiences of a child in kindergarten who has double vision and the strugggles she goes through with double vision. She then starts to wear a patch to help her with her vision and she becomes the pirate of kindergarten. With the help of her patch she is now able to read and cut! Age Range: 4-8 years. 

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

This book does a wonderful job of explaining and showing how a teacher can help a child overcome dyslexia and helps her learn to read. This can be a great book for a child that has difficulty reading or for a teacher who has made a difference in a child’s life. Age Range: 5-8 years.

I Can Understand by Aviva M. Cantor


This book was inspired by the relationship of the authors older brother who had disabilities. Whenever children would see her brother they would ask why he looked different and her mother would respond, “He can’t talk, but he can understand.” This inspired her to write a book to help children have a better understanding of people with special needs. Through this book Joey is the narrator and gets the opportunity to speak for himself and the reader gets to learn his perspective.  This book lets others benefit from all that the author’s brother has taught her about acceptance, humanity, and unconditional love. Grades K-3.

Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have The Wiggle Fidgets by Barbara Esham

This book describes what it is like for kids in class who need to wiggle and move and how they can feel embarrassed by these behaviors. It provides some great techniques to help with these behaviors in the classroom and is very highly recommended. Age Range: 6 and up.

Dana Also Deserves a Playground by Yael Manor

This story aims to shed light, on the discrimination against disabled children in the playgrounds. It provides some of the struggles these children face on the play ground and how we can create a more inclusive play ground. Grades K-3.

We hope this list can provide you with a variety of stores to share with your children to help us provide a world with acceptance and understanding. Do you have a favorite book about disabilities that you would like us to add to this list? Please let us know what stories you like!

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180+ Amazing Autism and Special Needs Resources

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  • Autism Sites
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Tips to Improve Showering and Bathing for Children with Sensory Processing Difficulties

Tips to Improve Showering and Bathing for Children with Sensory Processing Difficulties

*This post contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but if you purchase something through our links this will greatly help our family. Please read more about our disclosure here.

Showering and Bathing Tips for Children with Sensory Processing Difficulties

My brother has always had a difficult time with taking baths and showers because he hated having water get on his face or in his eyes. Don’t get me wrong he loved being in the water, but as soon as he would be splashed in the face in the pool or we would have to go to wash his hair in the bath, a flood of anxiety and fear would come over him. He has had this difficulty ever since he was little and he is still learning to decrease his anxiety with water on his face. It wasn’t until this year that he has now been able to wash his face and hair more independently (14 years later). We wanted to share the tips and tricks that we have used to help my brother decrease his anxiety with water getting on his face to allow him to be more independent with these skills.

Tips to Decrease Anxiety with Water Getting on the Face for a Child with Sensory Processing Difficulties

What we did first was recognize this was a fear for my brother and we were always patient and understanding with him. Something that my mother has been working on this past year with my brother is working on identifying what his fears are and understanding that fear is an emotion. These emotions can come from what you are thinking, and they have been working on changing his thinking to a positive thought to help him create a solution. So for example, before taking a shower or washing his face at the sink they would state positive statements about putting water on his face. They would say, “I will be able to get my face wet or I am calm and I can do this.”

These were ways that we were slowly able to decrease fear for my brother with getting water on his face.

He was very motivated to go swimming, so during the summer we were constantly at the pool, going to water parks, or playing outside in the sprinkler. He was usually having so much fun during these activities that when he would get water on his face we would always make sure we had a beach towel near by or he would wear a swim shirt that he could use to help wipe off the water on his face to help decrease his anxiety. We were constantly exposing him to activities that were motivating to him where he would be exposed to water on his body.

Other fun ways we would expose him to water were through water balloon fights and using a bubble machine outside with bubbles popping around him. Again, we would always have a towel near by him, but during the activities he was happy and excited having fun!

When we were swimming in the pool, we would constantly be trying to teach him how to hold his breath or blow out of his nose when he would go under water. As well as closing his eyes under water. We would play games to help motivate him to make it more fun. We would always demonstrate for him so he could see how to do it. We would try to make it motivating and be super excited over the top if just the littlest bit of his face touch the water such as his chin. We would give tons and tons of praise and encouragement.

It took us many many years for him to be more comfortable with getting his face wet in the pool, but we never gave up. Even today he still does not prefer to go underwater and we are still working on learning how to swim, but every year we are making progress. We learn to celebrate every little victory along the way.

Now this year, we have been working really hard with being independent with showering and washing our face. Now that we are going through puberty we also get to work on these skills to help us prevent breakouts. We started a new acne medicine for our face this year, so that has also helped increase the motivation for my brother to want to learn the skill so he can decrease the acne. My mother has learned to be so patient with him in helping him learn these skills.

These are ways that we have helped him learn to wash his face on his own:

  • He used a face mist blower (something he liked) to help him get used to the feeling of water on his face.
  • He would wash his face at the sink with just a wet wash cloth (my mother would have to do it first, then she would have him slowly increase his ability to use the wash cloth himself)
  • They slowly increased splashing water on his face by getting his hands wet and having him touch his face then slowly add more water over time.
  • Finally, they had him get in the shower and use a wash cloth in the shower to wash his face.
  • NOTE: He would always have a dry wash cloth or towel right next to him so that he could dry his face off if it was too much for him.
  • This was a very long process and took a lot of patience and practice. We think it went better for him this year because he was motivated to get rid of the acne on his face.

These are ways that we helped him learn to shower more independently:

  • In the beginning my mom would be in the bathroom and available for him if he needed anything, this helped to decrease the anxiety.
  • We first talked about the importance of why we need to take a shower and how we need to smell good when we are around other people. This was the first year that he has ever mentioned that he wants to get married (over the past two years my sister and I both got married and he realized that he would need to get married if he wants to carry our families last name). So my mom would make sure to talk about how if he wants to get a girl friend he needs to smell nice and this has been motivating to him.
  • When they were at the dermatologist, my mother had the doctor explain the importance of showering and washing our face to him, which had a bigger impact on him then my mom telling him that. He seems to do well with taking advice from doctors.
  • While my brother was taking the shower there was always a towel available hanging over the edge of the shower.
  • To wash his hair, my mom would use a large cup and place a was cloth over his face and he would tilt his head back and let my mom wash his hair for him. They would slowly transition away from this by having him participate more with washing his hair and having him do more of it on his own, such as having him put the shampoo in or slowly pour some water on his head.
  • Washing his hair is something he has always had a really hard time with and he still needs help at times from my mom to help him, but he is doing so much more of it on his own! He will be doing it on his own in no time!
  • Also they learned that he does better with taking a shower night before going to bed as the warm water helps him go to sleep. Try to figure out the best time of day that works for your child.

Here are some other strategies that we have used over the years to help decrease anxiety as well:

  • Installing a “rain” shower head
  • Installing a handheld shower nozzle to give him a sense of control
  • Sometimes we would just take a bath
  • Warm up the bathroom ahead of time to make the temperature change less dramatic
  • Play music while in the shower or bath for fun and a distraction
  • Have fun bath toys in the shower or bath tub
  • Mr. Bubbles foam soap for fun in the bath
  • Using a schedule and sticking to it. When we figured out a night time routine worked well we have been sticking with it.
  • We would sometimes use baby wipes to help clean off at times
  • We have heard dry shampoo can be helpful
  • When we used a wash cloth or shampooing his hair we tried to use slow deep pressure. Slow deep pressure is more organizing than light touch.
  • Finding soap products that they like (some kids prefer scents and some prefer no scents) Allow them to participate in picking out the soaps to give them more independence.
  • Use motivators whenever possible. We were constantly trying to figure out what motivated my brother to help make it more fun and turn it into a goal that he wanted to meet!

We hope that these tips and suggestions can be helpful for you and your family to help make bathing a better routine for everyone. As a family we are always working on this skill and taking it day by day and celebrating every little victory. We would love to learn if you have more suggestions that have worked for your family!

Please let these suggestions remind you that you are not alone and together we can grow and learn from each other.

 

Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop

Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia!

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