Self-Care Can Be Difficult for Teens on the Autism Spectrum, But Therapeutic Techniques Can Help

For some people with autism, self-care can be a bit challenging. Sensory issues in particular can get in the way of showering, tooth-brushing, and more. Yet these practices are also necessary and important to complete for the sake of the person’s health. So how can you manage to help an autistic person cope with these sensory issues while encouraging them to practice hygiene skills? That can be a tough question to answer for many parents.

Well, here’s one success story to give you some ideas.

Photo: YouTube/reallookautism

When Kathy noticed that her 17-year-old son, Will, had some new scruff on his chin and refused to shave it off, she realized she had an unforeseen and brand-new obstacle to conquer. Will is on the spectrum and has always been hypersensitive to auditory and tactile input. Using an electric razor was bothersome to him—partially due to the sound and partially due to the tactile feeling of it against his face. So Kathy didn’t quite know where to begin to convince him that he needed to shave. For a while, it seemed like Will was destined to simply grow a full-length beard.

Photo: YouTube/reallookautism

That’s where his occupational therapist, Holly Nelson, came in to help him out. Luckily, she had some tricks up her sleeve to help Will become more comfortable with the feel and sound of his razor so that he could, with practice, properly shave his face.

Nelson works with Will to desensitize Will to the sound and feel of a razor. Holly orients Will to new sounds by using therapeutic listening. By bombarding his central nervous system with calming and organizing sensations, this technique will help Will write, type, and even shave!

Check out the video to learn more. Excellent job, Will!

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