Back-to-school brings P.E. classes and increased proximity to other kids, making good personal hygiene critical. Last week, we polled our readers for their answers to the question, “What strategies have been successful for you in maintaining good personal hygiene habits in adolescents with autism?” Here are your Top Five Tips:
1. Establish a routine for your child and maintain consistency with showering, washing hair, brushing teeth, etc. Many children with autism do very well when the hygiene program is routine and predictable.
2. Use visuals such as a chart depicting each step of the clean-up process that your child can follow along with each day.
3. Incorporate a reward system so your child is motivated to comply with the hygiene program. This could be stars on a chart or even “pocket money” for successfully sticking to the routine.
4. Use hand-over-hand assistance if needed for brushing teeth and washing hair until your child is capable of performing these tasks independently.
5. Make clean-up time fun! Try to make bath time and teeth brushing a game instead of a chore so your child will look forward to the routine.
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Check back with The Autism File on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/autismfile later this week for another opportunity to share your expertise with others. Your strategies and ideas can make a difference for other autism families!