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Mikomi
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24 Jul 2008, 8:48 pm

My daughter has Autism (possibly AS) and we're having a bit of a dilemma. She is nearly 5 years old. We don't seem to be able to convey to her when it is necessary to change privately. For example, she stripped to her skin right in her friend's kitchen when she was invited to use their pool. She also did this at a public pool when we announced it was time to go, before my husband or I could catch her (she's QUICK). We want to explain that she must seek privacy to change clothing, but we don't want her ashamed of her body either. Also, things don't carry situation to situation so I find myself repeating the same advice in each different situation. Any advice appreciated. I worry about how her social faux pas may come back to haunt her (everything from how her friends treat her to child predators). I'm becoming very protective as her social difficulties are becoming more apparent, and some of it is just painful to watch because...I've been there. I learned through some painful trial and error. Is there an easier path?


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cip
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24 Jul 2008, 8:54 pm

Two things:
First, it's actually pretty normal for a kid that age to not be body conscious. You'd be amazed to hear the things I've had to tell my students. "Put your shirt down dear." "We don't touch that part of ourselves in the classroom." "You need to pull you pants up before you come back from the bathroom." At that age they can pick their noses and answer a question at the same time and think nothing of it. The good news is, most other kids won't think of it either.
Second, you might want to try fasteners to slow her down a bit. Buttons in the back wastes of her shirts to her pants and that sort of thing might work.



2ukenkerl
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24 Jul 2008, 9:03 pm

cip is right. And WHO KNOWS, maybe she is just a tease. :lol: Just try to explain to her. LIMIT her time if she does it. BUT, keep in mind that she IS still young!



slowmutant
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24 Jul 2008, 9:40 pm

If that behaviour goes on too long, you'll want to bite the bullet and correct her with whatever force is necessary. Body fear, body shame, these are scary things, no doubt. But were this child mine it would behoove me to teach her the difference betwen acceptable and unacceptable before it's too late.

Good luck, btw. :)



Gifted-Monster
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24 Jul 2008, 10:21 pm

It entirely depends upon the child and how they are raised as well.

But at 5 years old...it is unrealistic to expect them to know the difference between appropriate and inappropriate.

And keep in mind at five years old, and this may sound harsh or perverted, there's very little to show so long as they keep their underwear on.

You could counter this by having them put their bathing suit on before they go to the pool so they have no reason to strip all the way down.

But it is a very fine line to tread between shame and...teasing, you could say. It sounds wrong even to me but it could be the other extreme.

Probably the best you can do is just slowly educate your child. And let them have some "hands on" experience. And make small steps. Say...it's okay to strip down just to underwear at first and just build from there.

Just my thoughts.

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GM


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Mikomi
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25 Jul 2008, 1:55 am

She's not stripping because she likes being undressed (she hates that, actually). She just likes to do things NOW. There's no middle ground, she tends toward impatience (not like anyone I know...ahem). When it's time to swim, she can't contain her enthusiasm, and before you can say swimsuit, she's out of her playclothes! Likewise, if it's time to go, she's not the type to whine and delay - she'll be halfway back into her playclothes before you can fetch her a towel, heh.


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ManErg
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25 Jul 2008, 2:23 am

For heaven's sake, she's only 5! This is perfectly normal, natural behaviour in any child at that age. In fact, I'd be more suspicious of a 5 year old who didn't regard nudity with innocence.

If you think about it, the rules of 'body exposure' are amongst the most complex of western societies many idiocies. A women on a beach in a bra, Not OK, yet a women in an even tinier bikini top is fine? Huh? So it's not the amount of flesh shown that matters, nor the context, it's the magical symbolism of the garment.

Even more complicated for women than for men. I dread to think about how you calculate exactly how much cleavage is allowable when dressing for a regular day in the office compared to say, a job interview.

It's not surprising that a child find's it confusing. I eventually opted for 'cover up at all times' as this is the safest option. The positive side is that I have never been arrested for indecent exposure, the downside that I'm regarded as a neo-Victorian prude of the highest order :? :?

Understanding these rules is a lifelong occupation. And like all social rules, they're changing all the time. What was not acceptable when I was a child is considered normal now. You can only begin to pass some basic sense of all this nonsense onto a 5 year old. If she's not taking off all of her clothes on the high street, then you need to credit her with at least some idea.

Curbing enthusiasm is a dangerous route to go down. Why do you think so many adults with AS are described as speaking in monotone and not showing emotion? Because our parents hammered it out of us as children because their precious ego's couldn't cope with the nightmare of 'creating a scene' or 'being looked at by other parents'.

So overall I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill here. As in so, so many of these scenario's, perhaps it would be worth examining your own attitude to the human body rather than projecting issues onto a child?


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2ukenkerl
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25 Jul 2008, 5:21 am

ManErg wrote:
If you think about it, the rules of 'body exposure' are amongst the most complex of western societies many idiocies. A women on a beach in a bra, Not OK, yet a women in an even tinier bikini top is fine? Huh? So it's not the amount of flesh shown that matters, nor the context, it's the magical symbolism of the garment.


You are right in a way, but that is the way it is.

ManErg wrote:
Even more complicated for women than for men. I dread to think about how you calculate exactly how much cleavage is allowable when dressing for a regular day in the office compared to say, a job interview.


AGAIN.

ManErg wrote:
It's not surprising that a child find's it confusing. I eventually opted for 'cover up at all times' as this is the safest option. The positive side is that I have never been arrested for indecent exposure, the downside that I'm regarded as a neo-Victorian prude of the highest order :? :?
ManErg wrote:

ManErg wrote:
Understanding these rules is a lifelong occupation. And like all social rules, they're changing all the time. What was not acceptable when I was a child is considered normal now. You can only begin to pass some basic sense of all this nonsense onto a 5 year old. If she's not taking off all of her clothes on the high street, then you need to credit her with at least some idea.


YEP!

ManErg wrote:
Curbing enthusiasm is a dangerous route to go down. Why do you think so many adults with AS are described as speaking in monotone and not showing emotion? Because our parents hammered it out of us as children because their precious ego's couldn't cope with the nightmare of 'creating a scene' or 'being looked at by other parents'.


Not really

ManErg wrote:
So overall I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill here. As in so, so many of these scenario's, perhaps it would be worth examining your own attitude to the human body rather than projecting issues onto a child?


Now YOU are building the mountain!

The fact is that females hold a lot of the cards in such matters, and some males can't control themselves, etc.... A female going about naked is like a rich person going around with gold chains all about. It is not necessarily wrong, but it is prudent to avoid such enticement. BELIEVE ME, some things females are allowed to wear today don't do too much to facilitate control as it is.

Bear in mind, I am being HONEST! Take it as an insult or accusation as you want, but I am right and telling you the truth, and everyone knows that well!! !!



slowmutant
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25 Jul 2008, 5:35 am

The whole body-exposure thing is not easy to master. Would it be appropriate for me to walk around my building shirtless? In the summer, maybe. What about going to a coffee shop with no shirt on, just barechested? Nope. I don't know how I know these rules; I just know them. It's instinct, I guess.



n4mwd
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25 Jul 2008, 5:40 am

Make sure you take this POLL.

In any event, like the others have said, its normal at that age. She should not be scolded or you run the risk of causing her to develop a body complex. Just explain calmly that "When you don't see other people getting undressed then its probably not the right place for it." Essentially, you are telling her that there is a right place and a right time for everything. Never tell her that what she did was wrong. Tell her that striping naked in front of other people can sometimes embarrass THE OTHER PEOPLE and that she should not want to upset them like that. This puts the blame on the other people and not her.

A lot of kids are born nudists. That's a good thing. But they do need to be taught the difference between appropriate and inappropriate places to be nude.

I am a nurse and it seems that the vast majority of kids these days in the US are quite the opposite. Their parents have scolded them for being in the buff to the point where when they have to go to the hospital, they are so shy, they have to be sedated in order to do certain procedures that require nudity. Problems, especially with boys, go overlooked as a result.

She most certainly sounds like an awesome little girl. I am certain you will be able to solve this problem without causing her to develop a negative body complex.



ster
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25 Jul 2008, 6:03 am

i'm confused......have you explained to her yet that she needs to change in the bathroom ?.....i'd tell her to change in the bathroom- no confusion as to where to change regardless of where she is.

no need to make a huge deal out of it when it happens again. redirect, redirect, redirect.....my son's always learned by trial and error & repetition



aspiemom1
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25 Jul 2008, 11:47 am

if she is a rules child (my aspie son is very rules oriented), I would make a rule that one can only be undressed in "A" bathroom, or in their own bedroom. Hold her to that, no undressing in the hallway on the way to the tub, no coming out of the bathroom after a bath/shower without at least a tshirt/shorts or underware if that is okay with you. Keep in mind though that the rules you create will last much longer than they would for an nt child.



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25 Jul 2008, 1:03 pm

I don't think my son (now 11) will ever get the "why" of it all. In large part because he doesn't CARE. It's not one of his interests and to him, it's all silly nonsense, and probably always will be.

It comes down to simply saying, "this is the rule." Come up with rules that will apply in as many situations as you can dream up, and tell her, "this is the rule." Reinforced by, "when you get older, breaking this rule could land you in jail."

Sometimes that is the only road that seems to work.


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ManErg
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25 Jul 2008, 1:09 pm

I still don't believe anybody should be dictating terms to a 5 year old on where they can and cannot change. Is this gender independant or just a girl thing? At this age the rules will be meaningless - although full of meaning to you. At age 10, perhaps, very different.

Unless maybe I'm missing a cultural difference. Rules do very from country to country. In the UK we are embarrassed by Swedes and Germans as they seem to have no body shame and even adults will just strip off on a beack without hiding behind a towel. Which is the British way. However, deep down, I suspect we're really envious of them. After all we all have bodies. "Get over it".

On the other hand, I've read of a native Mexican people where at age 6 the girls undergo some growing up ritual and are given special clothes. And from this day on, nobody, not even their husbands, will ever see them naked. The clothing is NEVER removed in public. How they procreate is an interesting question, apparently it's achieved by the wife 'adjusting' her clothing, as she will never remove it, not even for the task of propagating the species.

And then we have the Americans where it appears to me that nudity is largely forbidden, unless you're getting paid for it, in which case it's compulsory :D

So you need to ignore everything anybody here says and just follow what everyone in your immediate peer group is doing. That way, although it may cause problems later , they'll be the exact same problems that everyone else around you is having :wink:


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DW_a_mom
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25 Jul 2008, 1:19 pm

I do agree that at 5 it isn't really an issue, but it IS a good time to start teaching more acceptable practices. Well, where I live, anyway. By age 7 or so people would be appalled by the behavior. Age 7 isn't that far away.


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