Asperger’s and Hygiene: Solutions for an Overlooked Issue

GoodTherapy | Asperger’s and Hygiene: Solutions for an Overlooked IssueChildren and teens with Asperger’s syndrome (AS) often miss basic social cues, impeding their ability to interact successfully with others. Included in the missed social cues are personal hygiene considerations, which often go unnoticed by kids with Asperger’s. Parents of children with AS frequently complain that it is difficult to get their children to brush their teeth or comb their hair. As the child matures into adolescence, additional hygiene issues, such as the use of deodorant, become problematic. Understanding the causes of these challenges can help improve personal hygiene by enabling parents and loved ones to provide appropriate supports for proper behaviors.

Why Is Hygiene Such a Difficult Issue?

Problems with hygiene for the child or adolescent with AS appear to stem from two things: sensory issues and social awareness. Many children with AS will refuse to shower or to brush their teeth. Although caregivers may initially believe that these responses are due to laziness on the part of the child, in many instances refusal to engage in personal hygiene activities results from sensory issues encountered by the child. In an effort to illustrate this point, consider the AS child who has difficulty trying new foods because of their texture. Inserting a toothbrush with abrasive toothpaste into the mouth can overwhelm the child’s senses, creating an aversion to brushing one’s teeth. As a result, the AS child may not willingly brush his or her teeth each night despite efforts to educate the child about the potential harm that may result.

A lack of social awareness may also impact decision making when it comes to personal hygiene. As children mature into adolescence, their personal hygiene needs become more extensive. Boys and girls will need to use deodorant, shave, comb their hair, and make sure they are properly and appropriately dressed. These hygiene issues are particularly important for adolescents in order for them to project a positive self-image that is acceptable to their peers. Because many adolescents with AS lack a basic understanding of social awareness, hygiene issues may not be an important consideration for this group. Putting on deodorant may not be viewed as important by the adolescent with AS despite the fact it is necessary to prevent body odor: an obstacle which can hinder peer interaction.

What Can Be Done?

With the realization that hygiene is such a difficult and challenging issue for children and adolescents, it is important for caregivers to consider what they can do to promote personal hygiene without overwhelming their child or adolescent with sensory issues or negative criticism. Although the specific hygiene needs of each child will be different, there are some steps that parents and caregivers can take to improve outcomes in these areas:

  • Make personal hygiene a part of the daily routine: Routine and structure are important components for reducing stress in children and adolescents with AS. By making personal hygiene activities such as brushing teeth and showering a part of daily life, individuals with AS will come to view these activities as an integral part of their daily lives. This can reduce the stress of engaging in activities that may cause sensory challenges.
  • Model personal hygiene for your child: Same-sex parents should work with the child or adolescent to model personal hygiene activities. For instance, a male caregiver should help a teenage boy learn to shave. By modeling behavior, the caregiver not only provides an important teaching support but also serves as a role model for the importance of certain hygiene activities.
  • Consider the use of accommodations to make personal hygiene easier: One example that is useful in this area is the use of electric toothbrushes to address sensory issues related to teeth brushing. Electric toothbrushes can provide stimulation to the gums and teeth that is soothing for the child with AS. The use of accommodations may make personal hygiene activities more enjoyable for children with AS.
  • Consider professional help and support: If you continue to struggle to promote personal hygiene issues with your child or adolescent, consider professional help. Therapists may be able to assess your child’s needs to provide instruction and education that is commensurate with your child’s ability to understand hygiene issues. Therapists can work with you to translate skills learned in the therapeutic setting to the home. As your child matures into adolescence and sexual maturation occurs, help in guiding your child through professional expertise may be essential.

© Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Michael Clatch, PsyD, Grief, Loss, and Bereavement Topic Expert Contributor

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • LizaQ

    July 29th, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    I know that this is not something to be scoffed at and apparently a big issue in some families but if I was the mom I would have to d a serious check on my child before I would even let hom walk out the door if this was a recurrent problem for him.

  • Kelly S

    July 26th, 2016 at 3:31 AM

    My Aspie boy is 11. At first is was gett’n him to brush his teeth every night & day. Now it seems to be showers. Finally he got in the habit of brush’n when suppose to. I was hoping the showering would catch on. Still he will not shower unless prompted to. He never thinks of it. My girl friend always want’s me to punish him for have’n to tell him all the time. I’m so upset at her, & I don’t know what to do.

  • Kelly S.

    July 26th, 2016 at 7:35 PM

    This is the girl friend. I do not want him to punish him all the time. However I DO think that our boy is capable of understanding positive and negative consequences when DAD tells him he needs to do this or this is gonna happen. Then when it does not happen dad doesn’t stand his ground! Our boy is VERY intelligent and is on the higher end of this functioning autism and dad tries to excuse away all behavior as “due to Aspergers”? This is a child that IS NOT DEFIANT, very well mannered, ALWAYS eager to please us. It has taken us some time to work through all his “issues” and I’m sure there is more to come. Which I have no doubt we will over-come them either. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to shower or brush teeth. He got the teeth thing down after a few days of it being incorporated into “brush right before bed” routine. But the shower, just like “studies” weren’t being done daily, but supposed to be everyother day, so they weren’t thought about. I am proud to say that we TOGETHER as parents came up with a daily routine that stays thee same now with certain times for Hygiene, studies, showers everyday included and our amazing man after the first night we decided on this, lastnight, then today he has done ALL his important daily tasks, on time, WITHOUT needing to be prompted. So apparently we are doing something right. But I do feel like he is aware of actions and consequences and if dad says this needs to happen or this is going to happen, then thats what needs to happen. How is our boy ever going to learn to take responsibility for his actions if he is not held accountable when rules or guidelines are not followed?

  • Denise

    July 27th, 2016 at 8:30 AM

    Hi girlfriend of Kelly S :), Kudos on doing such a great job and working together. That is so important! I am a parent of an Aspie boy and my son is also very “high functioning” (the longer I experience living with my son, the more I think this term is misleading, but that’s maybe another topic) and tested very gifted. I don’t understand why AT ALL, but Aspie’s, in spite of high intelligence and even understanding on an intellectual level, really don’t “get” something about consequences. This doesn’t mean it is unfair to impose a consequence in the right situation, but something doesn’t connect there the way it does with NT kids. Even if they really do understand why and understand that there will be a consequence, the follow-through behavior just doesn’t always happen. I really wish I knew a way to “fix” this problem, because it causes them real problems in the real world, but it doesn’t seem to be a matter of inadequate discipline or insufficient explanation. Perhaps over time they will get it, at least that is what I hope. Routines do help (where that makes sense, as with hygiene) and it sounds like you guys are doing things very well. But just know that when they don’t do something (regardless of how many times the need has been explained, regardless of promised or past imposed consequences), it isn’t because they don’t want to please you and certainly not because they wish to be defiant (as a rule), it seems to really be something they genuinely struggle with and need our help in overcoming. It’s so much harder to find the right balance than with NT kids. Other parents cannot understand what it is like – not their fault, but they don’t have the actual experience to understand the difference. What we can’t do is let consequences become “punishment” or a sense that we disapprove of them as a person; our kids retreat from us and things get much worse very fast. Aspies are very, very sensitive to not being “good enough” and feeling punished or disapproved of becomes personal immediately and can result in feeling unworthy of being loved, deep depression and suicidal or self-harming inclinations (this is common and very scary; we’ve been there and it was a heart-breaking experience, at a younger age than one would think possible; in young boys it usually looks like anger and defiance more than depression). Please know I am not directing all of this at you or anyone on this thread; really just musing aloud about this topic in general. Maybe it will help someone avoid some of my mistakes.

  • Tricia

    December 4th, 2016 at 8:48 AM

    I just found out my 11 year old has Aspergers and ADHD. I have a hard time trying to get him to brush his teeth. He is getting better about taking showers, we just have to have him take them the same time every night. He also has sensory issues, he doesn’t eat certain foods and he yells when he hears loud noises. My son is my world.

  • Denise

    July 26th, 2016 at 1:02 PM

    LizaQ, if you have an Aspie or autism child and you do NOT have this problem, you are one of the fortunate ones. It is a real problem, it is not a matter of parental indifference or lack of trying by the parent to teach, instruct, train, or encourage their child. It is also not a matter of defiance or willful noncompliance on the part of the child any more than the difficulty many Aspies have with direct eye contact (as one example). I know because I go through this with my son, too.

  • Maria

    August 27th, 2018 at 2:41 PM

    Exactly. Thank you.

  • Kathryn

    July 28th, 2017 at 11:45 PM

    Myt grandson is 10 years old and is refusing to bath shower or wash and has done each week for nearly a year now apart from the odd occasion. We get kicked spat at and have the house smashed up regularly. Its very distressing for all concerned. Parents do nto want this to happen and don’t want our children to smell or be uncomfortable which is more the point for me. Please don’t judge parents that are struggling, its painful enough as it is

  • thomas

    July 29th, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    Then I guess that everyone with Asperger’s has their own little quirks and things like that but it sounds like hygeine and going through those motions is not always at the top of their list. I wonder why that seems to be true? If there are many things that someone with this is going to be a real stickler for then why is it this one area that seems to fall by the wayside?

  • CAMY

    March 2nd, 2017 at 5:45 PM

    You have to choose your battles. You can’t fight them all, but you have to fight certain battles every time. My six year old with ASD doesn’t like to bathe. He has a fit, but he knows this is one battle I am not going to let him win. It’s not just ASD folks who have personal hygiene difficulties, though. In fact, personal hygiene is the first thing to go with people who have a serious mental illness. It’s a solid indicator of a serious mental illness.

  • Judith

    July 30th, 2014 at 4:16 AM

    Creating a routine that one can stick with is critical for anyone with Aspergers or any other disease that causes the person to become easily overwhelmed and therefore prone to avoidance. I mean, for me routine is essential and I don’t have issues like this so I know that for someone who does it is even more important to establish a routine that they feel comfortable with and can stick with.

  • pelley t

    July 30th, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    You must devise a way to reach the child and show them the importance of good hygiene. This is important not only for their physical health but also in relation to their peers too.
    If you have to ask them 10 times a day if they have showered or brushed their teeth or whatever it is that they may be lacking, then go ahead and do it bbecaus eif you don’t then others are not going to want to have anything to do with them.

  • Scott

    July 31st, 2014 at 4:14 AM

    My boys don’t have Aspergers and yet they are adolescents who still have no interest in any of this. It can be a fight toa sk them to wear clean clothes ever day! So I guess that my point is do you think that some of this just stems from the age and the lack of care that especially young boys have about keeping clean? Maybe it is something that will eventually become important to them, not that you don’t wnat to continue to encourage them but maybe just that it is something that will eventually resolve on its own?

  • Jill

    July 31st, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    No they won’t. If you don’t understand Aspergers you don’t understand the issue of trying to reason with someone with it, it’s much different than you could imagine.

  • Denise

    July 26th, 2016 at 1:03 PM

    What Jill said!

  • Cheri

    July 31st, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    They do not care about hygiene because it is not important to them and they don’t have Theory of Mind to project others thoughts about them. That all has to be taught, the Why? of personal hygiene and then getting them to care about what others think, because many don’t. I always relate it to the ability to get a job, which should be an area of interest for them.
    Give kids lists or visuals of what needs to be done in the routine & accompany them to go through it after the first reminder. So basically don’t tell them 10 times or more, take them and have them go through the motions and slowly pull back so they will go on their own. Or link to a reinforcer.

  • Tammy G.

    July 31st, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    Cheri- You are right on with your answer. My son needs to be shown how and why in order to get him to comply with something he doesn’t want to do or understand…like shaving. Thanks for your input. It is appreciated by this mom of a son with Aspergers!

  • Dj

    August 17th, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    It is so true that those who have no exposure with AS don’t have a clue what those of us who do go through. My 15 year old daughter has had to shower/bath every day of her life. She started showing herself at age 9. To this day, if I’m not here to watch her, she will not do a sufficient job. Just this summer she started brushing her teeth without toothpaste. And don’t get me started on “that time of the month”. It is so frustrating. Last year in 9th grade she wet herself twice and both times she had to be told by a teacher to go to the nurses office to change. It’s like dealing with a 5 year old sometimes. Has anyone had luck with therapy. I’d be willing to try it, if I thought it would help.

  • Emma

    August 22nd, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    My grandson is 16 and is high functioning autistic. What I’ve found works for us is to make a chart for the morning and the evening. Each chart shows the functions he needs to do, for example brush teeth, brush hair, shave etc. When he completes the task he checks it off on the chart. I also make a chart for chores he needs to do. Just a suggestion.

  • Denise

    August 22nd, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    I was not sure if this was a Asperges condition or just my daughter with Asperges problem.Im glad to know I am not alone in having to remind her to shower or comb her hair.When told to do so she jumps right on it, but I’m always like don’t you smell yourself:) She says oh yeah I stink and runs off to shower. Funny.

  • JSD

    August 23rd, 2014 at 6:02 AM

    With my daughter, she drags her feet in the morning due to being tired so I would say to skip X so she could get to school on time that day. She starting skipping X every day… Now she’s older and hygiene isn’t part of her routine. She was an only child for 8 years and I was able to prompt her through her routine. When her twin brothers were born, I didn’t have the time or energy for the constant prompting. She’s oppositional defiant in addition to Aspergers and will follow verbal directions (you do need to prompt multiple times). She will not follow a written routine or use a checklist.

  • Anjeannette

    August 29th, 2014 at 12:58 AM

    I wrote down the things my son had to do on a dry erase board and little by little it just became routine and he no longer needs it. He now gets up in the morning on his own, his bus picks him up at 6:45 a.m., and wakes me up when his bus arrives. He takes care of his own hygiene without being told.We make his lunch the night before and he puts the clothes he’s going to wear on his dresser. Routine is the key for individuals on the spectrum.

  • Nicole

    November 9th, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    When I was an employment specialist, hygiene issues were a big deal that seriously impacted people’s ability to hold a job so please everyone keep at it :-). My own AS kids are both in their teens now and it’s on my list of issues. I appreciate the tips here. Thanks!

  • Kelly S

    August 3rd, 2016 at 7:23 PM

    I’ve put up charts to make sure he’s done every thing he’s suppose to. Now we are trying to get him to realize how important it is to take showers on a regular basis. I’ve found that the biggest key to issues is consistency.

  • Alyson

    February 17th, 2015 at 12:39 AM

    Every kid with Asperger’s is different, so the reasons for having trouble with hygiene are varied. The biggest common issue is probably that they do not pick up well on social cues so do not notice that other kids are wearing deodorant, showering, etc. or that these kids are reacting to them because of their poor hygiene. Our kid has an oppositional/defiant streak as well as being awkward. He showers daily but usually does not manage to get his hair clean. If told that it is not clean, he yells that he washed it. If told to wear deodorant he says he doesn’t need it because he can’t smell it. If told to use a Kleenex he yells that it’s a waste of paper. If told that washing his jeans daily to get the boogers off is more wasteful, he yells that they don’t need to be washed. If told that publicly picking his nose/earwax/toenails is keeping people from wanting to he his friend, he says that no one tells him that. At 15 he is larger than I (his mom) am. We use what clout we have as parents for the biggest issues. If we are mad at him all the time he learns not to care what we say at all. His life plans include living on unclaimed land and selling found items on eBay. So before you say, “if I were his mom…,” remember you aren’t, and understand that the trials are more complex than an outsider may guess. Having said that, some things that have worked for us are:
    1. Love–it makes all of us happier
    2. praise–he’s more willing to try to please when he feels like he has something going for him that he doesn’t want to lose.
    3. Humor–either my own or funny videos & allusions–the Old Spice commercials, etc..
    4. De-emphasizing the issues–“hey as soon as you take your shower, we can go. Do you want to wear shorts or jeans do you think? Shorts? Yeah, it’s pretty warm. Ok, shower up then & we’ll go.”
    5. Compelling scientific info. “The reason your nose is still itchy/runny is because your finger brings new bacteria/pollen in each time.”
    6. Positive comparisons–“your hair looks a lot like Luke Skywalker’s. His is a little blonder from being really clean, but if you really scrubbed yours…”
    7. Routine as mentioned above.
    8. Still looking for more tips, hence the Pinterest search!


    April 27th, 2015 at 4:20 PM

    What do you do when you have a teenage boy with Aspergers who will take his shower and brush his hair and teeth but isnt thorough with it? I’m not very picky either lol. The subject is so sensitive with him that if you ask him to do a better job he starts screaming. I think the worst issue I’m having now is wiping after going to the bathroom. My husband has had countless talks with him and has given him all kinds of advice but he STILL gets complaints at school that he smells like poop. I just dontknow what to do about it. He’s too old for me to do it lol

  • Mel

    June 23rd, 2015 at 6:07 AM

    As a 50 year old lady with Aspergers, I can tell you, that while daily hygiene has never been a problem, I shower daily, and love anti-perspirant (I HATE wet pits with a passion!); when I got to be in my 40’s, for some reason, I got extremely lazy about brushing my teeth every day. I don’t know where that came from, because I used to brush twice daily right up until then, with no qualms. Now, it just feels like a tedious chore that I have to literally force myself to do, or I will let it go for days, undone. I’m a little appalled at myself for this, but there’s a another part of me, that enjoys neglecting this necessary practice (chore). Not brushing my teeth is not a sensory issue at all. It’s just extreme laziness. I wonder if this inertia, is behind other Aspie’s hygiene issues, or not ..

  • Kate

    January 15th, 2016 at 3:02 PM

    I am an older female with aspergers and sensory integration problems. Having my hair brushed as a child and being washed were the most painful things imaginable. I still have problems taking a shower as that is very painful too. The water on the skin feels like pins being stuck in my skin and the cold air/warm water on different parts of my body at the same time is very very uncomfortable. I am much happier in the bath and will lie in it for a long time. I hate getting dressed or undressed because it feels painful. When I undress for bed at night I will sometimes cry because the cold air on my skin hurts. Cleaning my teeth is a nightmare as it has always made me feel like choking and it makes me gag, plus the smell and taste of the toothpaste is very overpowering no matter what type I use and makes me feel sick. I don’t go for more than two days without bathing, but I do find it very difficult to make myself wash my hair because it feels so unpleasant. I like it feeling clean once it’s done though. The reason that I bath is that because I have a very strongly developed sense of smell, when I was young I learned for myself that if other people haven’t washed and have bad hygiene I could pick that up easily and it made me retch. I didn’t want to smell like that myself, so that made me bath. I was left to my own devices a lot when I was a kid and worked out it was better to get my clothes ready the night before ready for the morning as that avoided me panicking. I hope this helps someone if only a little bit.

  • Denise

    February 3rd, 2016 at 5:58 AM

    My 14yo son has problems with thorough showering, hair washing, oral hygiene, changing to clean clothes daily. He says it’s not a sensory issue, he just feels it takes too long (and therefore isn’t worth it, I suppose). I get so frustrated. Having 3 older kids who are not ASD, I have to say that this is not an issue of poor parenting skills; if you do not have an AS child, there is no way for you to really understand how complicated and difficult this is. It is not like teaching a NT child these habits at all.

  • Rebecca N.

    April 17th, 2016 at 5:15 AM

    Thanks for the advice. I am dealing with these kinds of issues with my own son. I am a single parent and am not sure how to go about the shaving issue. We were turned down by Big Brothers/Big Sisters, because of the Aspergers.

  • Xandria

    August 1st, 2016 at 10:38 AM

    My Aspberger teenage daughter seems to have a hard time understanding the importance of hygiene too. I have struggled with her to get her to brush her since she was 8 years old. She would refuse to brush her teeth when she was five whenever I had to replace her toothbrush. She is better at brushing her teeth now, but still refuses to floss. She doesn’t care if she sticks, I had to make a chart for her to take a shower everyday and so far that is working, but she doesn’t care about brushing her hair still and still forgets to put on deordorant. I didn’t want to attritibute it to her Aspbergers, but it seems like a lot of parents with Aspbergers children go through the same ordeal as I do with my teenage daughter. Glad to know I am not struggling with her on it alone in the world. Also, parents that do not have autistic children would not understand, it is a constant challenge, especially with an Asbergers child, they have to have a reason and a really good reason, it can’t just be about social acceptance, because they really don’t care about being socially accepted by peers at all.

  • Laura

    August 17th, 2016 at 5:58 PM

    My aspie daughter is 20. She is in the routine of showering every day (I remember how much easier it got when we switched from every other day to every day; it just became routine). The problem is she still doesn’t do a very good job, especially with her hair. Out of desperation, I washed her hair in the kitchen sink recently. She said it hurt when I touched her scalp, so this must be a case of sensory difficulties getting in the way of life. I don’t know how to desensitize her to this. She also seems not to understand how to wash her hair. Every time I’ve watched her, she just puts a gob of shampoo on the top of her head somewhere and then rinses it off. This is an intelligent young woman who is starting college next week. What can’t she understand that you have to put the shampoo where the oil is? I guess I am going to have to help her shower every day and hope she finally gets it. At least she understands that hygiene is important but she does such a bad job that doesn’t get her very far. I sympathize with all you other parents, and if anyone has any ideas about hair washing, I’d appreciate it.

  • Sonja

    April 1st, 2020 at 6:11 AM

    Hi… I know I’m replying a few years after the post, but I found this website after realizing I needed more support with my almost 20-yr-old Aspie daughter. Last year was an extremely rough year for her 2nd year in college. Who we knew as the motivated, high achiever has become a regressed, bare minimum kinda girl. I’m sure, in our efforts to encourage more independent abilities in life, her Dad and I have made many mistakes. That being said, though, I know our efforts have helped her in many ways. Nonetheless, with regard to hair washing, before this past year of extreme depression, thankfully, our daughter had developed a great routine with her hygiene. One thing that helped her (she has extremely long hair) was to have several hair clips in the shower, section her hair in small sections, lather up the roots of each section, and then ultimately combine all of the hair. I taught her the bulk of what she was washing away was more at the roots, and that when she rinsed, the suds would wash off the rest of her hair as it washed away. When she was younger, I tried making hair washing fun, in that our goal was to “look like a picture of George Washington with a big white wig” (lots of lather and bubbles). That does require more rinsing, but sectioning the hair with clips did the trick. Hope that helps!!

  • Angelt

    November 13th, 2016 at 6:02 PM

    I find it odd that when a lot of us acted like this when we were kids it was called being a brat and being lazy, but now they gotta name it?! No the kids don’t have this they’re just lazy and spoiled brats!

  • Good

    August 4th, 2018 at 1:54 AM

    I live with a flatmate/ boyfriend with Asperger’s and it is a nightmare. He is 38 and has almost no life skills – we live in a very nice flat, but I think he would rather live in a pigsty, judging by the way he treats it. He has no respect for our beautiful rented place and seemingly no understanding that when one is the property, one is the guardian of it. We were able to live at the property partly because the managing agents I had dealt with before know I am clean, and keep the place respectable. He, on the other hand, acts just like a student and does not seem to use common sense or think about anything, changing his refillable printer inks in close proximity to our beige carpet and leaving ink mess all over his table, oblivious to the fact it needs to be wiped up. I am starting to get very fed up with the Asperger’s excuse, and do not think it is a valid excuse for being lazy. I was untidy as a teenager, but it is assumed that one grows up at some stage, right?
    He also stammers a lot (takes about 5 mins to get one sentence out, and will not go for therapy because he “likes being disabled”). I find it hard to listen to for longer than a certain time limit, and there are times when I just want to run away. He smells like death, I imagine partly because of his medication and partly because he never eats anything healthy (he likes junk food – if I make a nice salad, he just never eats it – although this improves his smell). I have to constantly be on at him to shower/ use Febreze/ light incense/ tidy up, etc., and I am just done. He is the kindest person in other ways, but the mess and hygiene issues do not mesh with me at all. If I have a go at him for something one day and it gets corrected, 2-3 days later there is another mess/ hygiene issue. I am seriously considering living on my own as I did before, because I cannot put up with this. I have been in tears this week and given him several earfuls over the last few days because of his lack of respect for our home and just general revolting-ness.
    I hadn’t had a long-term relationship for a while (I am 44), and am thinking perhaps that’s the way it ought to stay.
    He likes comedies like The Young Ones and Bottom, which are basically about adult guys in various stages of arrested development, living in dumps, with gross habits. He seems to hold that up as some gold standard. I can’t understand why anyone would do that, rather than wanting things to be nice and fresh and clean. Yeuch.
    I suppose, through venting here, I have told myself everything I needed to know…

  • John P

    December 16th, 2016 at 8:38 PM

    My girlfriend has a preteen boy who was diagnosed with Aspergers, he is very high functioning. He just comes across as very quirky, and I hate to use this word, but nerdy. He doesn’t really complain about showering and brushing his teeth but for the most part he has to be reminded to do so. When it comes to brushing his teeth, he does it, but not that great. He uses globs of toothpaste, and brushes so little that the tooth brush still has globes in it as if he didn’t even brush. Or you will tell him to brush his teeth and he’s in the bathroom for a minute tops. When it comes to showers, sometimes I wonder if he even actually washes. For the longest time it seemed like my girlfriend was oblivious to all of it. I don’t understand how you don’t realize your child smells, and his hair is greasy and unclean. Boggles my mind. What I don’t understand is how this can be an issue with aspies. I can understand for the ones with the sensory issues pertaining to washing, but for the others, I don’t get it. Its not like its remembering to mow the lawn, take out the trash, do other chores, etc. Its washing. The thing is, in this world, no one has to be your friend, no one has to want to be around you, or has to give you the job, or date you, etc. And that doesn’t make them bad people. No matter if you have aspergers or not, you need to be presentable, and take care of yourself and if you don’t, you suffer the consequences, point blank. Im not saying people should call you names, make fun of you, etc. But as long as people treat you with kindness, that’s all you really deserve, any of us. The rest is extra. If you can remember to sit and play video games for 10 hours, or remember to watch that video on youtube, or eat your favorite food, etc, you can remember to clean your self. There is a difference in being supportive, and just coddling. The world will not coddle you, aspie or not

  • Jane

    March 16th, 2018 at 11:17 AM

    I am an adult aspie myself and have a 14 year old son who is also an aspie. I can tell everyone this… for some it maybe a sensory issue. It’s hard for us to go from the feeling of dry all over and then be wet all over. Imagine being told you have to wear a bodysuit made of sandpaper (sand facing toward skin) for 20 minutes every day so you can be socially acceptable to everyone around you. Can you imagine facing that pain/overload every day?? Every day facing knowing you have to face this? Once wet it’s hard to get dry again as well… it’s another huge, all over body sensory change. My son often has a hard time getting out as well as getting in and will stay in for 4-6 hours once in the shower. It can go WAY beyond being educated in what is socially acceptable and purely be much too overwhelming to face your whole body being shocked. I dread it myself and I’m 43. Try helping them ease into the sensation, perhaps it might work. Doesn’t work for us, but everyone is different.

  • Marilyn Olinger

    January 10th, 2020 at 2:07 PM

    Thanks for your site; as I need info as my grandson has aspergers, I do have a question. I jut moved in with my daughter and we have our 20yr aspergers young man. He does not shower often and when he does soap is not used correctly (he stinks). The house smells bad. My daughter is very well eductated and so is my son in law (no lack of IQ for sure). They think he will do better if he gets a girlfriend; however I do not think she could not get enough. Question how can this be adressed as I think they have given up and living here with the smell is most difficult to live with. My daughter and son in law have really put there whole heart into helping him but they are tired and just wore down.

  • Debra

    August 8th, 2021 at 2:51 PM

    These comments are really helpful. My grand daughter that i adopted has aspergers ( diagnosed) at 8 she is 10 now. She doesn’t argue about taking a bath but will only bathe in coconut wash. She says all other soap stinks she hates having her hair washed and has never brushed it or has any desire to learn how. She doesn’t care what others think about her. She is in therapy and they are teaching her to pour shampoo in her hand her therapist tells me to be firm in making her follow through with learning to wash it herself. They have taught her to tie her shoes and button clothes. She actually uses her hands different than we do. She’s a challenge for sure but she owns my heart and I’ll do what ever it takes to help her.

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