I know I cannot speak for all autism parents and this discussion is mainly going to center around high functioning or higher functioning autism along the lines of Aspergers usually combined with ADHD as is my personal experience strictly because I have not had personal experience with raising a lower functioning child and those whom I have come to know or have spent time with are mainly bathed by a guardian/parent or nurse.
In my personal experience and from chatting with other moms who have higher functioning spectrum children there seems to be two camps when it comes to hygiene,and if you research this you will find it comes up as well- OCD/super clean and neat or the complete opposite of no apparent sense of hygiene at all.
Now my eldest unfortunately falls into the latter category and as he is getting older and has officially hit puberty (universe take the wheel) his lack of sense and hygiene is becoming a huge bone of contention I just cannot explain how frustrating this is for me as a parent and as a parent with OCD.
I promise you I can drill into this child’s head 50 times a day that he needs to clean properly he needs to smell good he needs to take care of himself, I have brought every soap and body wash and tried every roll on, I have allowed him to pick and I have tried to make it fun even offering incentives but this child aint having nothing of it.
He seems at face value to simply lack the self-awareness and social awareness to comprehend hey I am around other people who may not want to sit next to another person who smells bad or appears dirty and I love my boys but dam that boy smell when they hit pre-puberty and then puberty its bad ok… really bad, like stinky wet gym socks bad and I am not even going to get into the farts and burps that they think are so stinking hilarious!
I have cried and begged and pleaded I have marched him up to shower again several times over I have even threatened to wash him myself because he has this trick; he thinks he is being smart, newsflash- he isn’t but he will run the water in the shower dab some wash on his forearms and then come down thinking he can fly under the momma llama radar… not going to happen llama child not going to happen, and unfortunately its always something; the shower pressure is too hard, the sponge is to scratchy, the soap doesn’t smell nice or it’s too cold its always something and I just want to pull my hair out because not only does it make me cringe on too many levels to count but I know as do we all (the majority of us) that cleanliness is so incredibly important for social interaction but he just doesn’t see why I have such an issue or he cant see why I cannot understand why he has an issue with whatever it is that is bothering him that day and we have tried allowing to bath but he has poured several of my products down the drain in an attempt to form bubbles during this process so that doesn't work to well either.
I took this to his psychiatrist and her response was to pick my battles… I mean seriously pick your battles is fine it’s definitely become a fundamental survival tactic within our home but there are certain things I just won’t stand for and bad hygiene is one of them.
With Loghan it stems beyond his hygiene as well he is just chaotic and messy; he showers and leaves the wet towels on the floor and clothes along the path between his room and the bathroom, he shoves things under his bed and crams books into his bag so that they come out dog eared and pitiful and all I want to do is scream and then I look at Gabriel who in many aspects is sooooo much better when it comes to hygiene than his brother but at the same time does not think twice about wiping snot across his sleeve and then Jesse will sneeze and he cannot get a tissue fast enough- he isn’t special needs but my ocd is strong within him, if he gets any sort of anything on his hands he has a meltdown if his clothes get splashed he will change and when he comes out of the shower (he washes himself, he is 5) he smells as fresh as a spring morning after a light rain, seriously no jokes.
I am just at my wits end of what more I can do and I know from fellow aspie moms I am not the only one but jeez I don’t want to be policing this child before every shower when he is 16, I am looking into changing the shower head for the pressure but I am skeptical as to whether this will actually solve the entire issue since it always tends to be something, eish I tell you this parenting thing is no joke!