Kids will be kids. Mucking about and having fun at the same time. Muddy puddles are more fun than warm showers & baths for sure. Therefore, getting kids to be mindful of hygiene habits can be a challenge. The challenge can be compounded when it comes to kids on the spectrum with regards to their diagnosis & severity. In our blog today, we address the pertinent issue of personal hygiene and your child.
Hygiene skills are impacted by the following factors in persons with ASD:
· Deficits in motor skills
· Sensory issues
· Receptive language issues
· Difficulty in following multi step activities/directions
· Time management issues
· Issue with doing activities that are unpreferred
Personal Hygiene skills need to know include:
· Oral Hygiene
· Hand washing
· Combing hair
· Nail and skin care
· Managing periods
Here are how you can teach kids about personal hygiene skills:
· Create a daily routine – People with ASD thrive in structured daily routines. With a routine that is strictly followed daily, kids know what to expect. Plus, the routine helps them to master these skills over time.
· Visual aids to the rescue – Use these supports to teach new skills. They impact structure & guidance to help kids learn / complete tasks. Less stress, anxiety, or frustration. Visual aids can be pictures, text, or videos. These should be easily accessible and at viewing height.
· Physical & verbal guidance – Also known as prompts, it refers to support in performing a task/skill. With their effective use and carefully fading them away, kids can become independent and learn personal hygiene skills. Verbal guidance can be oral instructions. Physical guidance can be demonstrating the skills on multiple occasions and getting the child to do it along with you.
· ABA therapy – Under the watchful eye of BCBAs, ABA therapy is customized and imparted by Behavior Technicians. Personal hygiene skills come under their ambit. It’s a good way to teach kids personal hygiene.
Hygiene skills are important for good health & independence. Let’s begin the journey of health & wellness with one step at a time.