Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
I like compiling lists and organizing what to do into a list. It helps to see some items crossed off the list so the feeling of accomplishment keeps you moving ahead in the daily tasks of life.
At first I thought of ten daily activities that one or both of my children on the Autism Spectrum find irritating, annoying and downright uncomfortable. My list quickly grew past ten and into fifteen. I lost count after that so decided to skip the list and just focus on the activities.
Wash face - this is done daily with a very thin and soft washcloth mostly around Matthew's face. Nicholas does need assistance sometimes on keeping his face clean around the sides and the neck.
Brushing hair - This is not attempted without several squirts from Suave Kids Detangling Spray in the apple scent sprayed over the hair and into the brush. Nicholas says I go too fast when I brush and sometimes it hurts and he wants more spray. With Matthew I can only do a small section of hair at a time over the course of the morning. He runs away and I catch up with him before he moves the hair all over the place. Sometimes Matthew shakes his head in a fit of rage and it takes on a new look.
Wash hands - Nicholas does this quite often, more so than other children and similar to an OCD habit. He loves the Bath and Body Works Moisturizing Soaps and sometimes mixes two scents together, especially when we have five new scents to choose from. Matthew does not tolerate putting his hands under the sink, so I need to warm a washcloth and scrub his hands the best I can under the circumstances. Matthew spends a good deal of time playing with newspapers and magazines shaking them and gets print all over his hands.
Bathing - Matthew takes baths with Nicholas taking a shower. This transition took place over the Holiday Break using a laminated posterboard that has 40 steps with diagrams on how to Take a Shower. For now both kids do get epson salt in their baths. Hair washing is not done in the tub during bath time. Both need help getting out of the tub and Nicholas is able to get in without me being in the bathroom. They both need me to dry them off. Matthew will hold out his hand for a squirt of hand lotion to rub in and his lips get vaseline afterwards.
Toileting - Nicholas uses the restroom without needing assistance and utilizes wipes for cleaning purposes. Matthew wears the Goodnites that are provided through an Insurance prescription for five cases per month.
Clothing tags - these are removed on all clothing for all three of us. As someone who suffers with eczema the feel of the tags is irritable to my skin.
Tying Shoes - Nicholas achieved this goal less than two years ago. We tried a special book and puzzles, yet practice is what helped in learning the process. He simply removes his shoes and puts them on and fixes the laces when they come undone. This past year there have been some accidents playing basketball on the playground with several classmates when shoe laces are not tied properly. These incidents have helped remind Nicholas to double tie his laces. Matthew can put on and take off sneakers when they have a velcro closure, which we recently found again in his size to make him more independent.
Blowing Nose - Nicholas does not really grasp this yet and has tried to do this, but unsuccessful. Matthew hands me a whole roll of paper towels when he needs his nose wiped.
Brushing teeth - Nicholas can handle doing this a few times a day and likes picking out new toothbrushes. It helped that the summer camp class included brushing teeth as part of their daily activities. I had him on special toothpaste I bought online until the camp provided him with fluoride toothpaste, which he prefers. In the past we used a gum that worked on keeping kids teeth clean and breath fresh and then the brush ups for a quick wipe of the teeth.
The next task for Nicholas is to start teaching him to floss. Matthew had his first visit to the Dentist last month at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles. With the help of the papoosa board and a few other professionals he received a cleaning and flouride treatment with no cavities present.
Clean Ears - Nicholas does not like the way this feels and does not really do it on his own. Matthew tolerates this for a brief moment so I have to follow him around to get it done.
Trim nails - This is an ordeal for both kids with the toenails and fingernails. We do it in steps, taking breaks between hands and feet. We try to do this twice a week. For the feet I have them each sit on a chair in the kitchen and get it done as quickly as possible.
Make Bed - Matthew likes to help with the pillows and does not like to watch tv or videos in the bedroom until the beds are made. Nicholas would like to help make his bed, but it is not done very well so I do it instead to make sure everything is tucked in and against the wall properly.
Eating - We all eat at different spots in the house. Since the house is small and I have no desk I use the kitchen table as a desk with paperwork here and there with reading materials. We use tv trays and the table in the living room to eat. Nicholas usually eats in front of the television, Matthew in the bedroom and I am in either room or the kitchen. Nicholas likes a poptart each morning with his vitamins. I get his gummy vites and fruit and veggie bears at Trader Joes. Matthew takes the drop and drink vitamin that I place inside the carton of soymilk daily.
Nicholas has his favorite items like macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, fettucine alfredo, pancakes, french toast, cereal and milk, peanut butter, gelatin, cheeseburger plain, french fries, chicken fries (BK), mozarella sticks, hot dogs, sausage, shredded carrots, rice, ham, chicken soup, bacon, meatball soup, goldfish crackers, popcorn, blueberries, grapes and corn.
Matthew likes french fries, tater tots, chicken nuggets, tomato soup, hash brons, pudding, potato sticks, bacon, pretzels, frosted cheerios, popcorn, soymilk and yogurt.
Zip up jacket/coat - Matthew needs assistance with this and can unzip a jacket and take it off. Nicholas achieved this a few years ago. Neither child likes the kind of coat that you need to pullover like a sweater. They do not wear turtlenecks or sweaters.
Washing Hair - Nicholas gets his done in the kitchen sink and loves the Suave Smoothers 2 in 1 shampoo in Blueberry Bliss scent. We used to have the watermelon scent but this Blueberry is heavenly and I am not a fan of blueberries. Nicholas does not like to spend much time leaning into the sink since he says it hurts to do that. With Matthew I use the No Rinse Shampoo that is sold at Sally Beauty Supply stores. The site to learn more about their line of products is www.norinse.com.
I have Matthew sit on a kitchen chair with a towel around his neck and squirt this onto his head. Usually I have to run after him a few times to finish the process and then rub it in and towely dry. It is easier to cut his hair and comb it after this process. The smell is really pleasant from the No Rinse Shampoo.
Dry Feet - Lately Nicholas has had itchy feet and only likes certain socks, so now I have been giving him some of the L'Occitane Dry Skin Foot Cream that I started utilizing recently. The smell is wonderful and he likes it too. He has been using this first thing in the morning and last thing before bed to combat dry itching skin on his feet and toes. Matthew rubs anything that I put on his feet immediately off, so why waste the good stuff!
Dry Lips - I use a small tin of vaseline and rub this on Matthew's lips in the morning. We keep at school and in my purse a tube of Blistex lip balm for Matthew. Nicholas used to have one in his backpack but thought only girls used lip balm and would not put it on. He now uses before we leave the house the vaseline lip therapy roll in cherry flavor.
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Social Skills Assessment
An Impression of Autism from a kid on the Spectrum
Playing Jenga the autism way
Having Fun with Idioms