Aspie Mom desperate for advice from other Aspie parents

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mangamaniac_animeaddict
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30 Apr 2011, 2:23 pm

Again, thanks for all your replies.

psychohist, you said:

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It's important to follow through on your promises as well as your threats.


This is one instance where I can use an absolute word... I NEVER go back on my promises, and other than giving "chances" I do not go back on my threats either.

As for standing over her, that will cause a fight in and of itself. As for turning it off for her, I really don't want to chase her around the house while she has a laptop or DS and end up with a broken laptop or DS because she often bolts as soon as she realizes what I'm doing. If I do it quick enough then I still have to deal with the meltdown that ensues.

As for flossing with braces, Oral-B makes a type of floss that is stiff on one end to help get it to thread under the wire, spongy middle to clean around the brackets, and regular floss at the other end to floss between the teeth.

We do give her answers most of the time, but it really gets old to hear a whiny "Why?" all the time.

YippySkippy, that is a really good description of how my daughter is, your son is very much like her I think. The thing is that I refuse to let her win, she will not win against authority as an adult, why should I foster that expectation now? In my daughter's case, she has no motivation to learn and rewards for good grades have never worked, so I despair of her going to college. As for yelling, that is how it starts out with me... showing that I'm serious. But after a few minutes of arguing I'm really upset and just want her to stop fighting me. That is exactly how I feel... I would rather yell than spend 2 hours trying to convince her since nothing motivates her... Threat of punishment does no good, promise of reward does no good. All she cares about is "I don't wanna do it". I take away things she likes, and I give her the option to make the right choice generally "You have to the count of 3 to do as I ask or you have lost the computer for a week/month" and this is after I have explained WHY she needs to do it, given her time to finish what she's doing, etc... and am just sick of her putting me off. I have tried the reward thing too like "If you remember to put on deodorant for a whole week you will get a reward" She doesn't care.

Caitlin you said:
Quote:
If your daughter loves baths, but needs to shower to wash her hair, there are lots of options to make the situation work. She could take a bath followed by a shower (again, FORGET the water consumption issues and be grateful she is TWICE as clean), or she could take a bath, shampoo her hair, and then rinse it under the fresh tap water while the tub drains, or you could fit your shower with a manual shower head so she could have a bath, then just stand in the shower to wash her hair (where she controls where the water goes).


I only wish she was twice as clean. Sometimes we have to make her get back in and wash the rest of her body, after a long and drawn out battle of course. I know you'll probably suggest that we stay in there and monitor her, but that doesn't work either since she insists she doesn't need us in there and won't do anything until we leave. She refuses to rinse her hair under the faucet, otherwise I'd let her do it that way. We are considering getting a handheld shower head, not just for her though that would be a bonus as long as she didn't ruin our floor since she doesn't always pay attention to what she is doing and manages to drown our bathroom when taking a normal shower.

Also, as for the flossing... she doesn't care about rewards.

DW you said:
Quote:
And ... I'm not convinced your daughter can't be appealed to by logic. The problem may be that are barriers to it.

She may not be persuaded by your logic, for example, or at least not enough to change her perception of what she wants and needs at that moment in time (ever read our PPR board? Logic is not an absolute thing).


This is pretty much right, nothing we can say will change what she wants (not needs) at that moment. Like I said, threats of punishment and promises of rewards do absolutely no good with her. It is only after I have laid down punishment that she wants to do what I ask. Like how I told her if she took a bath when I told her to take a shower she'd be grounded from TV for a week and she did it anyway. I walked into the bathroom and simply said "You are grounded from the TV for a week." She then started throwing a fit, crying and screaming, asking for another chance and starting to let the water out of the tub. Until the punishment is actually laid down and she has nothing to gain or lose by cooperation she refuses to cooperate, but as soon as she is in trouble she wants to mitigate it by doing what I asked her to do to begin with.



DW_a_mom
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30 Apr 2011, 2:54 pm

Can you talk to her about this pattern? Maybe her thoughts honestly got side tracked the minute she saw water. At her age you need to allow for that. I know my daughter can't remember in the middle of the five feet to the bathroom why she started out to go there. It's like flaky dust just drops from the sky sometimes.

As for never being able to win in the adult world, I disagree with you. I win all the time, to the amazement of my AS husband, who used to think exactly as you do. It's a touchy - feelly type skill and I'm already teaching it to my AS son. A well made case CAN win, but there are not unlimited shots at it, so let her win when you really are impressed. Or just blown over by her tears. And not very often; you want her believe in the possibility, not see you as a push over. She NEEDS to believe in her ability to change the tides in life if she is ever going to achieve to her potential.


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psychohist
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30 Apr 2011, 3:08 pm

mangamaniac_animeaddict wrote:
This is one instance where I can use an absolute word... I NEVER go back on my promises, and other than giving "chances" I do not go back on my threats either.

How often does giving "chances" result in willing cooperation? If it's not often, perhaps they should be avoided.



ouinon
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30 Apr 2011, 3:18 pm

It sounds as if she has great difficulty imagining/conceiving/grasping/correctly judging/weighing up the pleasantness ( reward ) or unpleasantness ( punishment ), the "value", of anything until it is actually happening.

I am somewhere on the spectrum and posting in reply to this thread because although I don't know what my parents could have done to deal with this, ( they finished by pretty much washing their hands of me the very day I turned 18 ) I recognise myself as a child, teenager, and young adult, all the way up to a very strange moment when I was 29 and had a brief but intense and moving out of body experience which enabled me to feel compassion for my body, for myself, my pain/hurt, and for the first time to really understand that other people hurt too. I began to understand consequences.

I am a 47 year old mother of an 11 year old AS/PDD boy, and have had to work out some of these issues with him.

I still do sometimes have to get pretty worked up about something before he will do x, y, or z, but that is very often because until I myself really understand why he absolutely must do something, and FEEL it, grasp it, get a handle on the reason that really matters to me, which can be quite hard, he doesn't seem to "believe" me, the imperative, etc. If something doesn't matter to him already it won't if it doesn't authentically matter to me.

It really is as if he can see or feel when I am telling him to do something out of conviction, from a "real"/visceral understanding of the consequences and implications, however seemingly trivial, and when not.

For instance we have for six weeks now been successsfully managing to spend at least an hour five times a week on revising, "levelling-up", preparing for, the "boss battle" which is the annual Academic Inspection tests, ( he has homeunschooled most of his life, apart from four/five months a year ago ) after many weeks of my feeling increasingly worried about it, and telling him that we should be doing stuff for it, and coming up with one idea for how to approach it after another, and repeatedly reminding him that if we did nothing then he might have to go to school next year ... but we both carried on surfing the net, playing video games, posting on forums, etc, reading books, drawing and painting, and so on, rather than doing the immensely tedious cramming of totally useless stuff about prepositions, subordinate clauses, objects, coordinate words, passe simple, passe compose, futur, imparfait, plusqueparfait, conditional etc verb conjugation, etc which the french are so hot on, among other things.

Nothing happened.

I kept telling him that if he really cared about carrying on home-unschooling he had to get up to speed for the tests, and that I was no longer prepared to stand up to his moaning and grumbling and resistance about it, no longer prepared to put in lots of time and emotional energy in getting him to do the stuff in the face of his grumbling and insults, that I simply could not do that any more, he had to "decide" what was important to him.

Still nothing.

But of course I *didn't* stop trying to work it out ... and then one day I got in touch with my FEELINGS about it, that I was desperately anxious about the horrible experience that he was going to have at the inspection tests if he couldn't do it. ... Not the "distant" issue of whether he has to go to school in September, etc, but simply how grim and ghastly and anhilating it was going to be for him to go to the three hour main test in May/June and struggle and squirm and wriggle and sweat and get tearful with failure and shame, as he was presented clearly and carefully and worst of all, (if the last test is anything to go by ), very kindly and patiently with test questions that he couldn't do ( while knowing that he could have done, because is intelligent etc ).

And as I got into my feelings, went from near yelling, definitely very "tense", ( not exactly "gentle" or "encouraging" or sympathetic :lol ), rather nagging, relentless style haranguing in fact, ... to near tears as I said how worried I was about that "real boss battle" not the distant "next level", he "got it", and has since then been ready and willing whenever I say "right, school work time" to drop whatever he's doing, and get at it, and when he has sometimes forgotten and begun moaning again, he has without any response from me stopped almost immediately.

I guess I'm saying that perhaps it's some sort of emotional connectivity about some issues that makes the difference. Apparently AI creators are increasingly finding that intelligence, reasoning, decisions, etc requires emotion, emotion is part of the process, because concepts otherwise have no "value", and can argue/"believe in"/decide absolutely anything at all.

My Dad was ultimate hyper-intellectual and my rather more emotional mother in thrall to his "amazing mind". I almost never saw my parents disagree, very little anger, very little feeling. Without emotion anything can be true.

Does your daughter realise that the reason why you want her to do x, y, z, is because you are desperately worried about how she will feel when her teeth rot or breath smells every day, or when her grades drop, etc?

Good luck. :)
.



Last edited by ouinon on 01 May 2011, 1:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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30 Apr 2011, 4:11 pm

PS. He still doesn't wash his hair as often as I'd like, and doesn't do any chores at all yet. I think I must believe that children, as a class in our society, aren't supposed to earn their keep/their "living", not having the same rights as adults, ;) and so won't believe "viscerally" that he has to do any unless I can't do them myself, or when he reaches 18.

And I'm still only a beginner at understanding consequences; it takes effortful thought, ( and I have become almost over-careful, paranoid, about possible bad consequences since realising the "weight" that they can have, whereas I was blithely reckless in my youth ), so am not saying that I have totally overcome this difficulty, just that I have become aware of it.

Does your daughter recognise that she doesn't correctly judge/weigh consequences when making decisions?
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30 Apr 2011, 5:08 pm

mangamaniac_animeaddict wrote:
She is not aspie, she has PDD-NOS and ADHD and she doesn't fit into that pattern of explain it logically and she'll do it. If she did I wouldn't have to fight her. For example: I tell her to log out of the computer and take a shower and she says "After this song PLEASE????" I say "Ok, after this song log out and get in the shower because you need to wash your hair tonight." (She has to take a shower to wash her hair because it is fairly long and if she rinses it in her bath water it is greasy when it dries and she won't rinse it under the faucet)


I hope this isn't an overly Aspie thought towards a PDD-NOS problem - my own son falls somewhere between classic autism and PDD-NOS and although I feel like I fit right in on the general discussion boards on the parent end of things I feel like I'm a square peg here.... Anyway ....

I take mostly baths too and she should be able to get her hair clean without having to do a separate rinse. If she's coming out greasy she's probably using too much product. If she's using bubble bath or bath oil/salts she should stop using them if she doesn't want to shower or have to rinse off after her bath.



Last edited by Washi on 30 Apr 2011, 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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30 Apr 2011, 6:46 pm

I just wanted to chime in because my son sounds a lot like your daughter too. He is much younger (almost 6) and has a diagnosis of PDD-NOS. Sometimes he has some AS traits, but not all of them. Anyway, he is just like that, and I find myself yelling more than I would like to as well. I really have had to work on the yelling thing because it was causing my son to be aggressive toward me, and I finally connected the yelling to that. I can feel your frustration. I sometimes feel that yelling is the only way to get my son's attention.

The main approach that I have taken is taking things away from him when he does not comply. You say your daughter doesn't care about rewards, but she does-----the computer and songs seem to be highly motivating to her. My son is obsessed with playing with the telephone. It is not what most kids would consider a reward, but it is highly motivating to him. If he gets a good report at school, then he gets 15 minutes of playing with the phone. I set the timer, and I give him about 3 warnings before his time is up. When his time is up, I tell him that if he gives me the phone nicely, then he can have it again. If he fights me on it, then he won't have it the next day. This seems to work pretty well.

You may have to hide the computer if you need to take it away from her. I understand that the computer is probably her way of unwinding, but it is also about the only thing that is motivating her, so you need to use that in your favor.

My son refuses at times to do the things that we do every night. Sometimes he is not refusing, he is just caught up in his own mind. First, he won't go up the stairs to start his night time routine sometimes unless we threaten to take things away. Then when we get there, he won't get in the bath until I have asked him 5 or 6 times to get in the bath. Once he is in there, I have to ask him 5 or 6 times to get out, and then often I have to threaten him to take something away to get him out of the bath. I really don't like approaching things this way either, but it is either that or yelling, and I would rather do things this way.

Sometimes rewards work for my son, but most of the time threatening to take things away is more effective for him. I still often try to assume that I can present things logically to him as well, and I give it my best shot. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Also, I thing the fact that your daughter is now 11, she may be just starting that rebellious thing that most pre teens and teens go through.

I don't know if I have helped at all, but I totally understand where you are coming from. Try to back off the yelling and just continue to use the authoritative firm voice and try to keep your emotions from escalating. I know it is not easy, but it may help some.



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01 May 2011, 2:09 pm

I've been thinking about this thread and I think the one thing I want to add is that I hope you will find a way to make your daughter feel she has a voice. Remember that BOTH you and her have communication difficulties, so while you may think you have explained her side and have listened to hers, SHE may not feel that way. The proof is in the action: if she was making the connections and truly understanding, she wouldn't feel the need to constantly argue. That she constantly feels the argue suggests that she isn't truly understanding and/or feeling heard.

In today's world, kids need to learn how to be heard, and learn how to be effective in their communication. Frustrating as it can be for us as parents to deal with the back and forth, it is all important practice for children. Keep that in perspective as you try to find ways to resolve the issues between you and create a more positive dynamic.


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ouinon
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01 May 2011, 4:37 pm

DW_a_mom wrote:
...

Totally agree with that. Very often the process of arguing with my son, trying ( and repeatedly failing ) to get him to do something, has led to my discovering that we didn't actually have to do x, y, or z, or not in the way that I had imagined, and/or in understanding how we could do something that suited both of us far more, etc.

It has happened more than a couple of times that his resistance to something has made me look harder for another approach, because it was so painful trying to get him to do something, and I have discovered some really interesting things about me, him, and life as a whole as a result.

And I have learned to spend time and energy on trying to work out why we are not succeeding at some system, arrangement, activity, etc ( eg. as in the academic test prep ) if the failure seems to be largely "his fault" ( sulks, reluctance, comatose state when doing something, increased difficulty with things, etc ), because I have so often in the past been amazed/horrified/shocked to realise how unthinkingly rigid about something I was being, invisibly attached to trad/conventional outcomes and methods. :)
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01 May 2011, 9:08 pm

I think that as parents, if we ALWAYS follow through on our "threats" - even when we kinda know we were wrong to make them... then it's really US who are being stubborn and obstinate.

I always follow through on my threats... when they were reasonable ones. If my son confronts me with a reasonable argument for why I may have been wrong, I do not shut him out. I will hear him out, and if I genuinely feel he has a good point, I may reconsider my position. I explain this process to him, and I think it's a crucial one for our black and white thinkers to become familiar with.


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02 May 2011, 2:27 pm

Hello

I am not a parent with Asperger's Syndrome, but I believe that I may have some helpful advice for you. I have been working on this post for about 2 days in my head now, and I think I've got it sorted out enough to put into text. So, here we go.

I believe that the problem you are facing here is a combination of issues, and as such advising you on just one would be short sited. So, I am going to address all issues that I can, and hopefully cover all the basis.

For starters, I HIGHLY recommend that you go through and read this thread completely:
http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt154304.html

It is not directly analogous to your situation, but it has many of the same variables, in that a preteen child is being unreasonable, and causing problems by acting out. And much of the advice given there would suit your situation as well. And yes, it is a lengthy post, but I recommend reading all of it because many of the responses are very informative.

As for specific advice, I have the following:

1. I think one major issue that you are having is that you are attempting to run this relationship from an adversarial standpoint. I.E. It is you vs. your daughter. The relationship is based on you making the rules, telling your daughter what the rules are, and then enforcing said rules as you see fit. This sort of set up tends to work decently well when the child is young (up to age 8-9ish) but quickly looses effectiveness thereafter, and actually becomes counter-productive into the teen years. So, the fact that it works for your younger daughter is not surprising. But I can guarantee you that it won't work on her for much longer either. If you want to make any real progress with your older daughter, you are going to need to transfer from an adversarial position, into a cooperative position. In other words, you need to work WITH your daughter, rather than AT her.

Now this doesn't mean that your daughter gets to call all the shots and make all the decisions. But this does mean that when things go wrong, you don't just blame her and make her suffer for it. Instead, take time to figure out what went wrong, why it went wrong, and how to prevent it in the future. If you haven't yet had the opportunity, I highly recommend downloading a free copy of 'Congratulations, your child is strange' from ASDstuff.com It covers this topic very thoroughly and explains what is causing the problems, and how you can deal with them effectively. I could copy and paste the book into this forum, but that would take up a lot of space. If you are in a hurry, you can skip the first 2 chapters as those are designed more for the parents who are new to the diagnosis. But there are definitely parts in there which I think would benefit you to read.

2. Your daughter seems to be reactionary rather then rational. Allow me to fill that one out.

Edit:
GAH! I hit the submit button instead of the preview button by accident. I'm still working on this, so give me a few more hours to finish it up.


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03 May 2011, 9:59 pm

I am not a fan of yelling either. It becomes a pattern and the only way that people will communicate after a while. I can't tell you how many problems I have had throughout my life because I thought everyone yelled when they had a point to make (it was what my mom did). I think I figured out this was not the case in general when I was 16 and yelled at my manager at work, and that it was not normal to do to friends or significant others until I was in my mid 20's.

Have you ever offered her choices? This approach may not work, but I have done this with success with my son. If he tells me he wants to do something other that the choices I offer, I will tell him simply that it isn't a choice right now and repeat what the appropriate ones are. Chances can be misinterpreted as inconsistency. I do not offer any in most situations, if I do I will advise my son as to how many he has beforehand so that he knows. This also does not always work and he will still melt down, but he is usually tired or hungry or just having a generally bad day when that happens.

Could you use music to help her in the shower perhaps? You could tell her she needs to scrub different areas at different times in the song. That may be ridiculous of course, but I do weird things to help myself. I have made up songs because I like music and remember better if I sing things or put them to a tune.

Puberty tends to mess everything up. I recall that my issues with my mother became dramatically worse once I got there too.

You had a lot of very good suggestions I think. This is just my 2 cents (and if I am parroting anyone please accept my apologies - I did not read terribly closely)



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05 May 2011, 4:35 am

I'm an AS mum with two NT daughters an AS son and a very supportive NT husband. I've found this discussion has given me cause to stop and think very hard about my own style of parenting, thank you to everyone who has contributed advice.

I understand how frustrating it is to deal with a child who has been asked politely, calmly and reasonably to follow an instruction or stop an activity - only to be met with evasive tactics, refusal, downright rudeness or meltdown.

My eldest daughter is 14, NT, and as a younger girl was always loving, kind and sympathetic. She didn't always do what was asked, but her behaviour certainly wasn't a problem. Now I have days where I feel every interraction with her is a battle: from getting her out of bed in the morning to getting her back into bed at night. It's as if she has to challenge every request with 'Why should I? It's my life and I can do as I please'. This includes refusing to sit at the table to eat meals, avoiding any attempt to complete her school homework, refusing to take off her school uniform so I have time to wash it ready for the next day, turning off her laptop....I won't bore you with an endless list! She's told me that if I don't arrange a hairdresser's appointment for her to get her hair bleached baby blonde, then she'll buy hairdye and do it herself at a friend's house. I've also been told that when she's 16 I can't stop her going and getting as many tattoos as she wants. Sometimes the going gets really tough and I do yell. My younger daughter (11 and NT) who has always been a smiling bundle of delight, is just entering the same phase :cry: So challenging behaviour and tantrums do occur in kids who have no sensory or information processing problems to contend with. Hopefully they are just a phase to be grown out of.

On a positive note, my AS son, (13), whose behaviour when he when he was younger was challenging to the point of exhaustion, is now polite and helpful. The only time he can be difficult to deal with is when he has an obesession for something I can't accomodate (he currently wants a treadmill, we don't have the money to buy one or the space to house one, but he's determined to find a solution) when he will spend hours debating and redebating how I could satisfy the obsession. I can cope with and empathise with him on these occasions, and only reach yelling point when he marches into our bedroom at one in the morning with another potential solution to the problem!

The only advice I can offer is that which my husband gives me.

Set very clear boundaries for behaviour, and don't be persuaded by tears and pleading to move these boundaries.

If you make a reasonable request also make it clear what the consequences will be if the request isn't met, and make sure the consequence happens. It is helpful if the consequence is relevant: eg 'In five minutes I want to you switch off your laptop and make a start on your homework. If you don't, then your laptop will be taken away from you for the rest of the evening'. This may involve a HUGE reaction on the part of your child, but my husband assures me that eventually a consistent approach will pay off (and as he's the Head of a school for pupils with severe learning difficulties and/or challenging behaviour, I trust his judgement)

If there is something you can do to avoid unnecessary confrontation, then do it! (I have just ordered an extra two sets of school uniform for my daughter so I can always have a clean set ready, and avoid at least one weekday hassle!).

Going into meltdown yourself doesn't have a positive effect either on you or your child. If possible, walk away from the confrontation, wait until you are calmer, and then try again to resolve the situation reasonably.

I'm working on all of the above, and it can be a real struggle at times.



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05 May 2011, 10:55 am

I find that one method is pretty effective in dealing with defiance and uncooperative behavior:

I draw up a list of things that need to be done during the day: things like bruishing teeth, putting clothes on, clearing dishes, etc.

Also, behavioral things: not arguing, being polite.

This list is like a series of checkmarks that is posted on the fridge: all check boxes need to be filled by bedtime that night. What happens if they are not?

Priviledges get taken away, starting with the computer, then the Wii, then art supplies, going on playdates, etc.

An aspie child will understand this perfectly--they like routine and predictable things. They will see that the checkmarks are missing and know that they will not have computer time the next day.

Timeouts can be effective as an immediate punishment, but over time, they tend not to do a whole lot.

The most important thing to realize with Aspie kids, is that unpredictable situations lead to a feeling of being overwhlemed: they can stress out easily. They need to be eased into things: I cannot emphasize this more. Out kids are homeschooled largely because of this: the public school was chaotic crowd control--what we do at home is structured to the child's needs, predictable, and highly adaptable. If a family can homeschool, I highly recommend it: that is when things really turned around for us, and we found our children's talents and motivations.



draelynn
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05 May 2011, 11:20 am

Your computer and showertime battles sound all to familiar. In fact, I was laughing as I read it. Not funny ha-ha but more like... look at that... I'm not alone.

My daughter is going on 9 and dx'd with AS. one of my key strategies for securing those transitions between tasks is lots of forewarning. When she sits down at the computer, i reminder her that she needs to take a shower tonight at 7pm - no arguements when the time comes. We give her 1/2 hour and then 10 minute warnings. We still occassionaly get the 'after this video...' but for the most part, it has been much smoother since we implemented the before hand prompts.

Our daughter hates the feeling of shower spray on her face. That makes hair washing a battle. But she does it - and she knows she is subject to inspection after her shower to make sure she got all the shampoo out - or if she used shampoo at all. It's a weird one since she loves swimming underwater in a swimming pool. I'm thinking its a sound and sensation issue - it's also tied to the need to close her eyes and tilt her head back. Her balance and motor skills are an issue- so close eyes, tilt head, rinse hair, spray in face, sound bouncing around an enclosed tiled surface... overload is a possibility. She's getting better - slowly but surely. Slow and steady wins the race.

I had braces at 10 too. I'll tell you what - they are a sensory nightmare. Flossing with them is nearly impossible. You need to brush much higher up on your gums than normally because of the metal anchors. It hurts. I'd suggest a Spin Brush with the smallest head on it possible. It will make it easier for her to get in and around her braces without involving her gums too much. The little preflossed picks might help with the flossing - trying to string loose floss through all that metal is like trying to weave macrame in your mouth. The picks might give her much better control. She is more than old enough - discuss these options with her and ask if she wants to go shoppig to pick them out. Getting her involved is not only empowering but makes her feel listened to and encourages independence.

Hope that helps.