The body odor and greasy matted hair show your teenager has gone days without showering. Again. Cringing, you brace yourself for the dreaded battle if you dare intervene. But if you don’t speak up? You worry your teen will sit alone in the cafeteria or be ridiculed by cruel peers. You need to figure out a way to help them care for their body.
The teenage years bring about a lot of changes and new experiences and one big change is going through puberty and having an understanding of changes occuring in the body.
Not all teenagers with autism will have difficulty with personal hygiene care skills, but for some it can bring on new stress and anxiety with learning a new self care routine or how to care for their body in a different way. They may have difficulty understanding why these changes are happening or some of the social situations as to why they need to make these changes.
Why Taking a Shower May be Difficult for Them
- Sensory Sensitivities to the feeling of water on their body and feeling wet
- Difficulty understanding why we need to shower
- Being dirty and having oily hair doesn’t bother them
- The change in temperature of getting in the shower may bother them
- They may have difficulty with balance and coordination with standing in the water
- Getting dressed after showering their skin may feel like it hurts
- Taking a shower takes so much energy
- Taking a shower is sensory overload
- The smells of the shampoo, conditioner, body wash
There are a lot of reasons why taking a shower may be hard for them… Just be willing to listen to them and work together to help them figure out how to take a shower.
What can you do to help?
Have an understanding and patience that this skill is hard for them. Be there to support them and help find ways that work for them to learn the skill.
I have put together a list of products that may help you adapt how to take a shower in order to make it a little easier for them.
*This post contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but if you purchase through our link we will receive a comission.
- A shower dispenser for the soap can help make it easier to get the soap out to use. They just have to push a button to get the soap out and this may help them identify better between body wash, shampoo, and conditioner.
- A color changing shower head for the correct water temperature. This may be helpful for someone who has difficulty regulating the temperature of the water on their own.
- Color changing smart light that is color coded with the color lables on the soap dispenser. You can set up the color chaning smart light to be the same colors as the color labels on the soap dispenser and set each color for a certain amount of time. This will give an additional visual cue as to when to go to the next step. This way they aren’t standing under the shower for a long time without washing their body and letting the water get cold.
- Swim Goggles may be helpful for someone who has difficulty getting their eyes wet while in the shower.
- Ear plugs may be helpful for someone with sensitivity to the sounds in the shower.
- A long handled sponge to help reach the back or lower legs and feet while showering.
- A reclinging hair salon chair may be helpful to set up at a sink to wash their hair if they have difficulty washing their hair by themselves in the shower. Especially if they are older and are wanting more privacy in the shower.
These are additional ideas that are helpful for in between showers to help keep their body clean.
- Dry Shampoo
- Face wipes to wash the face
- Adult wash cloths to wash the body
- Washing hair at the sink
- Taking a sponge bath
Are you looking for additional tools and strategies to add to your toolbox to help your autistic teen or young adult learn how to shower?
Wouldn’t it be nice to help your teen or young adult learn how to shower more independently and to care for their body?
In this bundle, I give you tons of practical tools and resources to help you teach your teen or young adult how to shower. I give you specific strategies to teach each step of taking a shower, sensory adaptaitons, how to set up the bathroom for success, and TONS of tools to help you teach the skill. I use real life pictures of teen boys or teen girls to help them have a visual for each step.
What strategies or products have you found to be helpful when teaching your teen or young adult how to take a shower? Share in the comments below!