Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
I actually made this purchase of the Taking A Shower Poster for kids on the autism spectrum over a year ago and decided to start the year 2006 off accomplishing the task of guiding my ten year-old high functioning son on the Autism Spectrum in taking a shower. He turns eleven in three months and enjoys the shower and will never go back to taking baths. It has been a success thanks to the skill modeling poster, Let's Take A Shower.
This is nailed on the wall inside the shower since it comes with a hole for mounting purposes. There are forty visual steps, which Nicholas referred to as chapters the first time we utilized it in the shower. This laminated poster measures 11" x 17". Each diagram measures about 1 1/4" x 1 1/4". There are no visible body parts to beware of in these diagrams.
Basically the diagrams mention the same set of steps in washing and rinsing. For example step #17 is wash arms, step # 26 is rinse arms with step #33 dry arms. The steps start with get towel, hang up towel, take clothes off, turn on water, turn on shower, is water warm, get in shower, get all wet, belly wet, arms wet, hair wet, use shampoo, wash hair, rinse hair, use soap, wash face, wash arms, wash under arms, wash belly, wash legs, wash private, wash bottom, put down soap, rinse off, rinse face, rinse arms, rinse under arms, rinse belly, rinse private, rinse bottom, turn off water, take towel, dry arms, dry legs, dry private, dry back, dry hair, get out of shower, put towel back, get ready
The first time I got Nicholas ready for the shower we went inside with our clothes on and stood inside the shower. I showed him where the towels hung over the curtain for using to wipe eyes while inside shower. I also modeled how the shower curtain stays inside the tub and how the corners need to be shut tight and we practiced where to stand in the shower and how to turn around to face the water. I placed the body wash bottle and shampoo along with the washcloth.
Then he used the toilet and removed clothes before I came back inside to assist with getting inside the shower. I had the water running and was tested by both of us for comfort levels. I explained that we already did six steps, which was a relief for Nicholas. I think at first he was overwhelmed with all the steps, but once I showed him how the same steps were repeated for washing, rinsing and drying off he was more at ease with the process.
He would have rather the shower curtain was not see through so no one could see in, but he liked being able to see out, so the purple linen shower curtain I love stays. Nicholas just loved being in the shower saying how much fun it was and wanted to know if I have fun in the shower too.
The first time he did have to wipe his eyes several times. He is used to having his hair washed in the kitchen sink, so this was another first for him to shampoo his own hair. I do have to let Nicholas know not to fold over the washcloth so many times. He gets really rough with rubbing it on his back, but is learning to open it up and wash with a gentle touch.
The Let's Take A Shower is a handy visual tool for the higher functioning child on the Autism Spectrum. The terminology is one Nicholas has adopted and likes to make a point of washing his belly, private and bottom.
Nicholas feels more comfortable drying off outside of the shower and sits on the toilet seat to get dressed. The poster states on the back for safety reasons to never leave a young child or anyone unattended in the bathtub or shower. There is also a reminder of hot water dangers and the need for traction in the tub, shower and bathroom floor - slippery when wet!
I have done some research and looking into getting bathroom grab bars. Adaptive Access has diagrams and links on ADA compliance.
The Let's Take A Shower laminated 40-step poster is available at www.special-kids.com at the great price of $14.95. I highly suggest every family with a special child or a visual learner get one for their bathroom. Children on the Autism Spectrum like structure and following steps in a visual poster is perfectly suited for them.
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