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motherof2
Snowy Owl
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12 Mar 2011, 11:58 am

She is 9 and is struggling with selfcare issues and other milestones. She needs me to help her in the shower with her hair and sequencing. If I leave her alone and just check on her periodically she is in for 45 minutes and still has conditioner in her hair. She cannot comb her hair due to tangles. I cut her hair shorter to help but she has a lot of pain when I comb her hair. She must move around a lot at night because she has a huge tangle on the back of her head. She has trouble with staying on task with getting ready in the morning or at night. I gave her a picture sequence when she was younger and then she made up her own on one piece of paper when she was older. But she does not follow it. If I ask what is next she knows but gets distracted petting the cats or playing. My 6 year old son is defiant and does everything to avoid anything I saw so I have to dress him half the time. I spend my time running back and forth between them. They fight over the one bathroom that does not 'smell bad' or 'makes weird noises'. They both refuse to do anything until the other is out of the bathroom. We are usually late everyday to school with a meltdown from one of them. My daughter cannot wear anything except short sleeve plain shirts and loose elastic waist band pants. She ran out of the socks she could tolerate and refused to go to school. I had already bought socks from every store around here but she said they itched her. So I went online to buy organic no seam socks. She will wear them! She does not notice her surroundings and I cannot trust her out of my sight. She would walk into the street if she were focusing on something else. I have been training here to be in charge when we cross the street but she usually doesn't look without me instructing her. I want to trust her around our townhome complex but I do not know if it is safe. I let her go to a birthday party with her friend's mother to a bowling alley. She did well. Her friend is probably on the spectrum too. I am an Occupational Therapist and have taken a lot of classes on autism, but I would like some advice from those who were in similiar situations when they were younger.
Thanks.



MotherKnowsBest
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12 Mar 2011, 12:06 pm

With my daughter I have to do things one at a time. It can be completely overwhealming when you think about all that needs improving, so don't do it. Pick out the one thing that stands out above the others and work on that one.

Decide what matters and what doesn't. My daughter would scream the house down when I combed her hair. So I didn't do it. Afterall, does it really matter if their hair is tangled? Now she does her hair every day, but it didn't start until she was about 14.



purchase
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12 Mar 2011, 12:20 pm

HiMotherof2!

Wow, your daughter sounds quite a bit like me when I was younger! The sock-seam problem, the "comfortable uniform", and the tangles problem. I've always had pretty long hair and I always hated having the tangles combed out (like most kids I guess, but it was absolute torture for me) but at a certain point (around 8 maybe) I started doing it myself and it was still torture for me and took me an hour every time but I forced myself to do it. I'm not sure if your daughter has curly hair or what but I have fairly wavy/curly hair this makes it even tougher. I guess I don't have any good advice really except that tangles aren't the end of the world, and certain types of conditioner work way better than others for getting tangles out. Hopefully this was.... educational if not exactly helpful!



motherof2
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12 Mar 2011, 12:54 pm

When she was younger she had long curly hair and often I could not comb out the tangles. I would just pull it up in a pony tale. Now that she is 9 all her curls are gone but it just seems to tangle so bad. She now won't wear her hair up and I am sure running around all day makes a lot of tangles. I have tried combing her hair at night on the days she does not bath (bath/shower every other day- son on the other day), but it takes for every and I have a hard time getting her in bed before 9 pm. When she bathes she uses good conditioner but it still takes awhile to comb out. She is scared of the noise of the blow dryer and would only let me use the low setting and I stopped trying to dry it years ago.

MotherKnowsBest wrote:
With my daughter I have to do things one at a time. It can be completely overwhealming when you think about all that needs improving, so don't do it. Pick out the one thing that stands out above the others and work on that one.

Decide what matters and what doesn't. My daughter would scream the house down when I combed her hair. So I didn't do it. Afterall, does it really matter if their hair is tangled? Now she does her hair every day, but it didn't start until she was about 14.



motherof2
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12 Mar 2011, 1:05 pm

Other kids have asked why she wears the same kind of clothes every day. I have tried to talk to her about how others view her by the way she dresses and acts. She loves pretty clothes and one of her interests is drawing the faires from her books. She would like to look pretty but sensory always comes first. She was not always like this though. She never had problems with clothes until a few years ago. She was intolerant to gluten and casein and did not have these items since she was 4. She went to a private kindergarten and had to wear a uniform that must have been really itchy. When she started eating gluten and casein again at 6 or 7 she did not regress in any area except sensory. First was socks, then pants, then only short sleeve shirts. This winter I asked her if she wanted to be cold or itchy. She would only wear a loose wind breaker and said cold. We have many days in the 20s and I could not believe she could handle the cold. I have a lot of sensory issues myself and I am so intolerant to the cold. I get itchy too but have learned it ignore it. She says she cannot ignore it. My mom bought me a lace shirt for my birthday and I tried it on and immediately took it off because it felt awful. So I can relate. I dress plain and cannot wear heels. I work in therapy wear I get to wear comfortable clothes and sneakers. I try to find clothes for her that are comfortable but cute with some pattern. But it cannot be stitched on only part of the cotton.

purchase wrote:
HiMotherof2!

Wow, your daughter sounds quite a bit like me when I was younger! The sock-seam problem, the "comfortable uniform", and the tangles problem. I've always had pretty long hair and I always hated having the tangles combed out (like most kids I guess, but it was absolute torture for me) but at a certain point (around 8 maybe) I started doing it myself and it was still torture for me and took me an hour every time but I forced myself to do it. I'm not sure if your daughter has curly hair or what but I have fairly wavy/curly hair this makes it even tougher. I guess I don't have any good advice really except that tangles aren't the end of the world, and certain types of conditioner work way better than others for getting tangles out. Hopefully this was.... educational if not exactly helpful!



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12 Mar 2011, 1:53 pm

Wow.

My daughter is almost nine and everything you wrote could have been written by me - word for word. We struggle with all of the same exact issues. We do showers at night and make sure conditioner gets used to help avoid the tangles. We are still working on shampoo and conditioner use - there are lots of rerinses still. My daughter has issues with putting her face fully in the spray of the water (even though she swims underwater in a pool!) so getting her to step back and scrub her fingers through her hair is an ongoing process. Showers are at 7pm so her hair is dry by bedtime at 9pm - the hairdryer is a very iffy prospect. We also use tangle spray when needed in the mornings. She insisted on brushing her own hair just this year and she does pretty good - she only needs help with the back of her head. She is also very tenderheaded and has issue with the sound of the hairbrush. Brushing is done in front of cartoons and she gets to hold her favorite stuffed animal if the pulling gets to be too much. My daughter has little interest in clothing or style. I often buy her tshirts with her special interests - right now tigers, pokemon, and the colors orange and green - trying to get her engaged in the process at least. She does like it when someone compliments her outfit or shoes so I think it may be a matter of time. We are lucky in that she isn't fussy about the feel of clothes but she is a big girl for her age in height, build and weight. Finding clothes that fit correctly is a nightmare. Shopping for an 8yo in the juniors section just does offer alot of options. We opt for lots of stretch pants, we have long sleeve tshirts to wear under the shortsleeved ones in winter. Wheneever she shows ANY interest in clothes while shopping we try to make at least a small purchase just to continue the encouragement. I am also concerned with lettig my daughter too far out of sight. While she is pretty good about minding the street - its a rule we drilled into her starting very early - I'm still not sure she could find her way home alone from the busstop. I was hoping to start working on that now that weather is starting to break.

And our poor cat... our daughter will stop midsentence to scoop up the cat and run off with her to her room. We have not declawed the cat and we let them work that out themselves. Needless to say, the cat is getting her point across. Obviously we do not let things go unsupervised but a few scratches after a boatload of warnings are having an impact on the behavior. Occassionally, we hate the cat and want her gone but we can navigate through those okay. My daughter is very into animals so we talk alot about our cats being carvinorous predators - how cats play rough so they can learn how to hunt,etc... that also helps.

In all, I can honestly say, humor has been our best tool. And redirection has been a fact of life since my daughter was a toddler even though she was only diagnosed with AS this past January. Finding a good redirection strategy has been invaluable in avoiding the meltdowns. I'd be glad to commiserate in PM's if your interested. It sounds as if we have lots of challenges in common.



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12 Mar 2011, 3:44 pm

motherof2 wrote:
She is 9 and is struggling with selfcare issues and other milestones. She needs me to help her in the shower with her hair and sequencing. If I leave her alone and just check on her periodically she is in for 45 minutes and still has conditioner in her hair. She cannot comb her hair due to tangles. I cut her hair shorter to help but she has a lot of pain when I comb her hair. She must move around a lot at night because she has a huge tangle on the back of her head. She has trouble with staying on task with getting ready in the morning or at night. I gave her a picture sequence when she was younger and then she made up her own on one piece of paper when she was older. But she does not follow it. If I ask what is next she knows but gets distracted petting the cats or playing. My 6 year old son is defiant and does everything to avoid anything I saw so I have to dress him half the time. I spend my time running back and forth between them. They fight over the one bathroom that does not 'smell bad' or 'makes weird noises'. They both refuse to do anything until the other is out of the bathroom. We are usually late everyday to school with a meltdown from one of them. My daughter cannot wear anything except short sleeve plain shirts and loose elastic waist band pants. She ran out of the socks she could tolerate and refused to go to school. I had already bought socks from every store around here but she said they itched her. So I went online to buy organic no seam socks. She will wear them! She does not notice her surroundings and I cannot trust her out of my sight. She would walk into the street if she were focusing on something else. I have been training here to be in charge when we cross the street but she usually doesn't look without me instructing her. I want to trust her around our townhome complex but I do not know if it is safe. I let her go to a birthday party with her friend's mother to a bowling alley. She did well. Her friend is probably on the spectrum too. I am an Occupational Therapist and have taken a lot of classes on autism, but I would like some advice from those who were in similiar situations when they were younger.
Thanks.


So I was your daughter then?

With the exception of not being aware of my surroundings, I was much the same. I don't think it's a matter of milestones. She most likely knows what to do and how to do it. She is probably taking so long getting ready for school because she is getting distracted, and this probably isn't normal distraction but distraction due to the tendency of the mind of those on the spectrum to dwell on thing and go into zen mode. This is the root of many transition issues.

My mother not only chopped off most of my hair (I was fine with this at the time), but had me bathe before going to bed and sleep in the clothes I was going to wear for the next day, and I think that did hurry me up in the morning as long as the TV was off and I didn't get a chance to get in front of a mirror.



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12 Mar 2011, 4:00 pm

Another thing about the hair. It might just tangle easily because it's very fine, like mine is. I have to use gobs of quality conditioner, and brush my hair multiple times a day to keep it from tangling. I use both an open tooth brush and camel hair brush, and it still manages to become unkempt looking very quickly.


It's just my hair type. It even gets messy in braids because my hair is so fine that the braids don't hold very well.