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Sensory Processing Disorder Bathtime Problems

Sensory Processing Disorder Bathtime Problems

Sensory Processing Disorder can be a problem when it affects day-to-day life, such as personal hygiene. Bathtime and keeping clean can be a problem but it is identifying exactly why, for each individual, in order to try to help it become more bearable. I have previously discussed teeth brushing and now to consider the whole bathtime experience.

Identifying the Sensory Needs at Bathtime

Sensory Processing Disorder Bathtime ProblemsFirst discover what it is that is bothering them. Keep a diary to determine whether your child is a seeker or avoider in the 7 sensory types. Note when things calm them down and when they arouse them. Try to note all the different things occurring. For example, if they do not like having their hair washed and are screaming, “get off me, get off me,” as if you are trying to kill them – don’t assume it is because they do not want the shampoo in their hair. There could be all manner of factors at work here. Bathtime may help calm them down, or rev them up. This may also depend on what their sensory diet (things they have done to satisfy their sensory needs and make sense of their environment) has been like that day, or whether it is morning or night. Even as a seeker bathtime may help calm them down (as they have got what they want) or it may overload them(as they are taking in too much). Make bathtime an hour before bed, as it  may help them calm down and establish a bedtime routine.

Think about the Environment at Bathtime in relation to Sensory Processing Disorder

Be aware of the environment at bathtime. Is there carpet on the floor? Or mats? The noise in the bathroom may echo, they may not like the sound of the running water. If the bath running is a problem then run it before hand, when they are out of ears reach. Invest in earplugs.Give them warning about what you are going to do and how it may upset them. Encourage singing and/or clapping to help regulate and be a distracting dose of sensory input; or put on some relaxing music. On the other hand, they may like the noise of the water, and a shower may provide more sounds.

Things to do for the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder in the build up to Bathtime

Before it is bathtime do activities that provide deep touch input, e.g. rest your hands on their shoulders and apply moderate pressure. The upset before getting in the bath could be to do with getting undressed – this could be to do with temperature or pressure. Make sure the room is the right temperature. Let them test the water with their fingers, to ascertain that it is the right temperature for their needs.  Again do deep pressure touch before washing, and wash with firm pressure (if they are seeking this), especially when shampooing and drying. Make the transition from getting undressed and into the bath as quick and smooth as possible. Make sure the towel and pjs are the right texture for them.

How to help the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder during Bathtime

During bathtime give them control. Let them chose the flannel, sponge or loofah – for size and texture.  If they don’t like being washed then encourage them to wash independently. Try letting them see what is happening in a mirror. Or tell them how long you will wash for – like until you have finished counting to ten. Offer a bubble mountain right before washing their face. If they do not like the water in their eyes have goggles – or a towel at hand so they can dry their eyes. After the bath rubbing lotion in may be effective. It may also be about the level of the water – do they want a deep bath – to cover them up, or do they only want a little bit – reassure them that it will not touch them too much.

Sensory Processing Disorder Bathtime ProblemsEncourage positive water experiences – make it fun and not rushed. For those who need the stimulation then why not let them have messy play. Take toys in that are their current interest, or ones that light up, and have different tactile stimuli. Take a doll that they can wash, whilst you wash them. Maybe consider making the bath glow in the dark,blow bubbles, or a product such as squishy baff. Consider the smell, how it appears visually, and the texture of the shampoo or soap. Or possibly dry shampoos. Those who need calming try epsom salts, benzonite clay baths, lavender oils & lavender soap, or natural (non-perfumed) soaps and shampoos. As you can see from the state of the soap are boy is a sensory seeker. Bars of soap are just no good for him, instead liquid is much better as he can get the sensory seeking tactile by rubbing it all over his body.

The ability to keep clean is a basic need. If someone you care for is finding it difficult then they may be entitled to financial help in the form of Disability Living Allowance (for the under 16s) or Personal Independence Payment (over 16s) to help manage this.

Sensory Soap: Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap

Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap RangeDo you have trouble when it comes to keeping your child with Sensory Processing Disorder clean? This may be because they are sensory avoiders and do not like touch, or they may be sensory seekers and always touching things (for more information see my previous post on Sensory Processing Disorder: The Tactile Sense). Either way Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap might just be the answer you have been looking for.

Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap Range

Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap RangeThey have a range of bath paints, bubble baths (colour changing/glitter), goo, bath crayons, soaps (that you can mould to make shapes out of!), body paints (let that Sensory seeker go wild whilst actually getting clean!).

With smells to tingle the senses and fun characters to really appeal to their visual nature – what’s not to love?

And of course it is all soap in one form or another so it is getting them clean at the same time. But the real beauty of it is that it is cleaning itself up!

Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap Range

I think they’d make an ideal present for their stockings, or to help fulfill the additional sensory needs triggered by the festive season. They also have little characters on the tops of the bottles for an additional tactile feel – and they are designed to be played with in the water.

I also liked how this developed my Sensory Seeker’s hands as he played with the products – from undoing bottles, to developing his pouring technique (hand-eye co-ordination, estimation of how fast the liquid would pour out, tilting his hand back0; then squeezing on the flannels and sponges, to helping his fine motor development with the crayons.

Sensory Soap: Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap

Sensory Soap

Of course soap products are not just suitable for those with Sensory Processing disorder, and are just as much fun for all children, covering such a huge variety of ages.

 

This can really help other children (friends and family perhaps) get a better understanding of say a sensory seeker – as they join in the fun of covering themselves in soap.

I was invited to Hamley’s in London with my youngest 3 children (including my Sensory Seeker) to have a messy play date with Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap and see their new designs.

Sensory Soap

Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap RangeI thought that it was great to see the products being demonstrated without the bath – as this is just perfect for me  as he often wants to touch things (or again if you have a sensory avoider who does not like the bath, this could be a small step in).

Sensory Soap: Kids Stuff ® Crazy SoapThis was achieved by giving the children aprons and goggles for protection. Then there were a number of stations set up – with bowls, flannels, water, the products, and others had white boards to draw on, special bath colouring in books and crayons, flannels, sponges – and all manner of sensory experiences.

I could see this as a great idea for a Sensory soap party.

Our travel expenses were paid to attend the event at Hamley’s but I was under no obligation to write this post. I think they are an absolutely marvelous product and they really helped my Sensory Seeker as he was struggling with all the changes (it was Half Term Holidays). I thoroughly recommend them to other parents – both those who are and aren’t having difficulties with Sensory Processing Disorder.