Self Care and Hygiene Tips and Considerations for Young Adults With Autism

Card image cap

One of the most rewarding experiences for any parent is watching their kid reach milestones in life. Parents of children with special needs feel exactly the same, and depending on what that milestone is, it can potentially be an even bigger accomplishment. As your special young person starts to get older, teaching basic self-care and hygiene tips is vital, but it can be something that is initially overwhelming for someone on the Autism spectrum. Our brief guide will leave you in a better position to develop basic self care skills for your autistic young person. 

How Do You Encourage Good Hygiene in Young People with Autism?

Hygiene is an essential self care skill for a young person to learn. But for someone on the Autism spectrum, teaching this can be difficult to navigate due to a range of reasons. Here are some helpful tips to guide you through the process:

  • Teach your kid one self-care skill at a time. Starting with the ones they are most comfortable doing, then introducing other hacks one at a time. Additionally, if it’s a procedural skill, for instance, having a shower, break the process into small, achievable steps.
  • Ensure that your kid is as comfortable as possible. More so when it comes to their preferred tastes, smells, sounds, texture, and even touch.  Only shop for their favorite soap, toothbrush, paste, and hairbrushes. It comes in handy to have your autistic kid’s favorite items for independent use.
  • Be sure to celebrate your young one for every hygiene skill they get right. It encourages them to eagerly learn the next skill.
  • Visual support diagrams illustrating independent self-care steps go a long way to remind your little loved one how to start and end the entire clean-up process independently. 
  • Letting your kid observe you as you go through your hygiene processes like applying deodorant or clipping your nails gets them curious and encourages them to follow suit. 

What Problems Might Impact Self-care for Children with Autism?

Several problems may impact self-care for autistic kids, depending on where a child is in relation to their ability to perform life skills and basic tasks. How easily a kid understands basic language has a major impact on how fast or slow an individual can grasp self-care training. Miscommunication or misinterpretation of information can negatively impact self-care abilities for young people on the spectrum. There are also wider (and more nuanced) contributors to resistance, like aversion to smells and textures which are harder to navigate.

If you are a caregiver, ensure that your decisions are consistent with your kid’s reaction to stimuli.  Expecting your kid to adapt to what the rest of the family members use for hygienic needs is unrealistic. But you can provide optimal settings for success like, a well lit washroom, quiet or background sound/music depending on their preferences.

How Self-care Impacts During Puberty on Young People With Autism

Numerous changes occur in both males’ and females’ during puberty. These changes may be overwhelming and confusing, especially to autistic teenagers. To cope with these physical and emotional changes in your child, plan to prepare them at the onset of puberty.

Normalize talking about the body changes they might expect, like breasts for girls and facial hair for boys. Additionally, be observant to note when these changes start occurring so that you may talk through them with the kids. 

For autistic teenagers, it is better to use formal language while describing changes in puberty like penis, hips, breasts, and vagina. It is also important to give examples and answer as many questions as they may ask. Explain periods to girls, and tell them precisely what to expect to help guide them through expected physical changes. 

You want to equip your kid with the necessary knowledge before the body changes occur. 

Hygiene Through the Seasons

Your child’s hygiene needs will also change depending on the season and this needs to be taught as well. Teach them to take regular baths during cold winters. And basic care like washing their hands regularly, appropriately blowing the nose, and trimming their nails. 

In summer, remind them to shave their underarms when necessary, use deodorant daily or twice if necessary. Help your teenage kid observe dental hygiene through all seasons to avoid cavities and infections.

How We Can Help 

The program is sure to equip you with the necessary toolkit while teaching you the best practices required to interact with and support children or adults with autism. For more information on Autism, feel free to Contact Us, and we are more than willing to wear your shoes and walk the extra mile with you.

Get updates