Tag Archives: bathroom

Sensory Help in the Bathroom

Sensory Help in the Bathroom

When we redesigned our bathroom we had to really stop and think about our youngest son’s disability. We took him along to make sure he approved of the colour scheme and had some real issues adjusting him to a square toilet. Our son’s needs are sensory as he has sensory processing disorder and rather individual to him. More physical needs can affect not just the disabled but the elderly too so it is useful to find solutions for their bathroom.

Sensory Help in the Bathroom

I felt mindfulness really helped me understand what the Sensory Seeker needed in the bathroom. I found that even the slightest tilt of my head under the shower can make the noises sound very different. This gave me an insight into the fact that even small changes can make a big sensory difference.Sensory Help in the Bathroom Sensory Processing Disorder is different for each individual and it can be every time they enter the bathroom, depending on their sensory diet that day. Knowing if The Sensory Seeker would be effected by colours, smells, touch or temperature etc are very important factors in encouraging him into the bathroom, and then using the products he needs when in there (see also my posts about brushing his teeth and washing his hair).Brushing Teeth & Sensory Processing Disorder

I previously wrote about Sensory Processing and Bathtime problems – but have since discovered additional solutions you can have added into a bath that may help with sensory issues such as Chromotherapy and Echo. Chromotherapy is based on light therapy and uses a visible spectrum of colours which help the body harmonise the emotional, spiritual and physical well-being. The colours can be fixed or run through a cycle of seven. Not only is this useful is you have a visually sensory seeker but it also encourages the mind and body to relax. Whilst Echo is a sound therapy which utilises sounds and music to create a relaxing environment. It works wirelessly from a music player using Bluetooth technology, with simple volume controls at the fingertips of the user. Again great for the auditory sensory seeker but also relaxing for mind and body.

Do you have any other helpful hints when it comes to the bathroom?

 

Brushing Teeth Sensory Processing Disorder

Brushing Teeth & Sensory Processing Disorder

Brushing Teeth Sensory Processing DisorderThose with Sensory Processing Disorder have a difficult with filtering out the senses in the brain to make sense of the World around them. One of the areas this can cause difficulties is with hygiene. I thought that I would share my thoughts on how to best help deal with Sensory Processing Disorder and brushing teeth. The Sensory Seeker used to hate having his teeth brushed, would scream, fight and refuse – even to the point of nearly being sick. Fast forward on a bit and now he is asking to have his teeth cleaned. Here I consider what happened to change that.

Sensory Processing Disorder Brushing Teeth: What is the Problem?

You need to consider what the problem actually is. In this case The Sensory Seeker has little oral awareness. This can also be seen at mealtimes when he stuffs as much food as possible into his mouth all at once. Or oldest son also had this and would drool lots until all his mouth was sore and his clothes were soaked. Before even thinking about going as far as brushing teeth things that can help are by providing different sensory inputs for the mouth – this can be with different textured foods or chewy toys or even try ice. If there is an aversion to things going into the mouth then try to discover exactly where the problem is – is it the lips, inside the mouth, the tip of the tongue, the middle of the tongue, the gums, or all of the above, that is causing the problem?

Sensory Processing Disorder Brushing Teeth: Get them to agree

I am sure it seems like such an obvious thing to say but having The Sensory Seeker on-board to the idea of brushing his teeth is the first step. Now it is much easier as he has a bit of an understanding that he needs to look after them. I am not quite sure how this happened, or to what extent, but since losing his first tooth it has been much easier to get him into the bathroom. Before this, or if he is in a defiant mood then we use bribery rewards. This may be that he can play with Lego when we are finished, it may be to watch his favourite tv show, even to leave some of his breakfast – we give him some control back to get what he wants if he does what we want. You may want to get them to agree in stages – entering the bathroom one day, massaging their gums another, rubbing toothpaste on their gums after that, until you slowly progress to a toothbrush.

Sensory Processing Disorder Brushing Teeth The Bathroom

You have to remember that the problem may be the bathroom itself. If you were to enter my bathroom you may feel that it is too cold for you. If this were your house you’d probably put something on warmer or turn on the heating. Those with Sensory Processing Disorder may not understand what the problem is though, or know how to fix it. What if you haven’t got the tools to fix it either? I think it is important to stand where you will be brushing teeth and put yourself in their position. Think – is the bathroom cluttered? How does the colour make you feel? What is the temperature like? How does it smell? What are textures like? What is the flooring made of? Are there any sounds? An extractor fan or an open window? Is there a tap running? Too many sounds from other people? Is there not enough noise? Could you put some music on?  You need to think about each individual with Sensory Processing Disorder as they may be a Seeker or Avoider or a bit of both. Really think about what they require for their Sensory Diet. Maybe you could brush their teeth in another room (a smaller one) or even start in their favourite room or sensory den (just take a bowl for them to spit in to). I noticed this morning that The Sensory Seeker uses the training step for moving up and down, and around whilst brushing his teeth, but that also he makes tapping sounds with his foot on it.

Sensory Processing Disorder Brushing Teeth The Toothbrush and Paste

Brushing Teeth & Sensory Processing DisorderIt took us a long time of trying many different toothbrushes and pastes before we found ones he was happy with. There are many different sizes, textures, colours, smells of paste and brushes you can ones that spin, musical, electric and main colours and shapes. We even tried electric ones. In the end I think it was the control The Sensory Seeker had over the situation and now he has a choice of brushes and paste in the morning. Again think about the individuals need. Let them familiarise themselves with the toothbrush and paste – even if that means letting them play with the paste – without even getting any in their mouth. We did as above and had a slow build up. One of the best products we found for The Sensory Seeker was a brush that slid over the finger. We always wet the brush before adding paste – do you do this? If so have you considered the temperature of the water? Have you tried it without? If you do not put water on then – have you considered the temperature and feel of the brush – could water help?

Sensory Processing Disorder Brushing Teeth

Brushing Teeth & Sensory Processing DisorderControl is an important aspect of successfully brushing teeth for the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder. I think that our success with getting The Sensory Seeker brushing teeth was when he could see himself in the mirror. He knew what was going to happen and could see exactly where the brush was being moved to. It also gives him the control of how much pressure the brush puts on him. Now he likes to brush his teeth at the same time as me, using me as a model and mirroring where I move the brush. Prior to that I also held him firmly under the chin – and think this helped with the tactile sense. I have to admit myself that sometimes brushing my teeth makes my nose itch. Again communication has played a big part in this development. Letting The Sensory Seeker know how long it would happen – starting small and then building up. You could do this by letting them count or sing. Sand timers are great though, as they are visual display of the time that would be required to be brushing teeth. Another good visual is disclosing tablets that colour the teeth and gums so that they can see where they need to brush to get rid of the plaque.

Sensory Processing Disorder Still Difficulties with Brushing Teeth

There are some with Sensory Processing Disorder that none of the above works. The only way to get their teeth done is to restrain them and get the job done. I think that if this is the case you just have to remember how much more difficult it would be if they had to have work done at the dentist – an unfamiliar place with new noises, smells, textures.

If you have a problem with Brushing Teeth I would love to know in the comments below all about it. Or alternatively can you help give any further advice on this issue?

 

Hair Washing & JOHNSON’S Baby Easy-Rinse Foaming Shampoo Review

Many people whose children have Sensory Processing Disorder may find that they struggle when it comes to hair washing . The anticipation of water coming can be a threat to the nervous system, with the feel of water being uncomfortable or even painful when it hits the skin. It may be the temperature of the water. Children who over-register tactile input may also over-register temperature, they may feel things in extremes – so something cool could be experienced as bitterly cold; and something warm as scorching hot.

child in mirror

It important to consider that there are a lot of factors as to why a child does not like hair washing , and important to think about them individually. One of the ways to help a child is to slowly break it down into small steps. Explain what is happening and slowly build up to what you wish to achieve. It may be that they refuse even to go into the bathroom, for instance, so just start by letting them go in and then leave again straight away. Then build up to getting them to stay in there a little while: Until slowly you can eliminate a fear of the room. If they still are screaming just going in the room then it may well be worth considering changing the colour, feel, or flooring of the room. It may be you just need a new air freshener or a new rug. Try adding things that appeal to them – maybe with the use of bathroom tile stickers of say dinosaurs. Make it fun – provide plenty of bathroom toys.

The most important thing is to let them guide you. Try to establish what is upsetting them, rather than just trying to force them to do something that you feel they ought to do. Believe me I have a teenager with Aspergers – no-one died from not washing for a little while. Let them decide on the temperature of the water for example.

johnsons challenge independent hair washing

We were thrilled to try the JOHNSON’S CHALLENGE, with New JOHNSON’S Baby Easy-Rinse Foaming Shampoo, because it really did fit with where we are with our little Sensory Seeker. He is about to start school and needs a hand with his independence and more of an understanding about personal hygiene.

Challenge 1 DIY Fun Factor: this gave us the option of letting him wash his hair – so he had full control. I was really pleased to say that he managed the pump action soap (with a little difficulty at first), largely unaided. This is good for a few reasons – them being that he is hypermobile in his hands and all manner of other terms the occupational therapist said to me and forgot – but basically he needs to do certain things to strengthen them. That he didn’t get too much shampoo, as a seeker I expected him to just keep pumping it out, but he never, he was happy with the right amount and happily lathered it into his hair. I was also supplied with a frog mirror and jug for him to be able to see what he was doing whilst controlling where the water was going. We have also found that a mirror has been a great help in brushing his teeth. If he can see what is happening he is a lot less distressed. I believe it is because it makes things more predictable.

Challenge 2 Funky Foam Fun: This was about seeing what funky foam hairstyles you could make – this happened rather quickly as he is a sensory seeker and so was very keen to start tipping the water over his head again.

child smile in mirror

Challenge 3 Rinse Ease:

100% of the mums  who had already tested the shampoo agreed that it was easy to rinse off.

tip water over head in order to independently wash their hair

Yes I can agree there too – his hair is curly (although quiet short at the moment) and can be really difficult to get the bubbles out (one of the things I feel adds to his distress), but these bubbles came out with ease when he washed it himself. There was no need for me to help with extra rinsing.

94% also agreed that it made shampooing delightful.

It was indeed a delight to see him so happy to wash his own hair. It was such a proud milestone for me and made me feel very proud.

And 70% agreed that the shampoo kept the fun going all through bath time.

To be honest we have quiet fun bath times, so although it was nice to see him so happy to wash his hair it wasn’t the reason that the whole bath time was fun.

I received a free bottle of JOHNSON’S Baby Easy-Rinse Foaming Shampoo, a frog mirror, and jug. I have not been compensated in any other way. All opinions are completely honest and my own.