When Sensory affects Hygiene- Part 2

I talked briefly about sensory and some of the issues we have dealt with in relation to personal hygiene. In this post I’m going to share some of the things that have been helpful for us to address these issues.

We have been using a battery-powered electric toothbrush for years. While this is listed as a method to reduce oral sensory, it has not accomplished this in my son but he does prefer this over a regular brush. You want to look for something with a small head because of the gagging issues most of our kids have. In our case we opted for a spin brush which takes some of the hand work out of cleaning the teeth and has a good size handle making it easier to grip. Plus they come in kid-friendly designs.

Most sensory children seem to need help with managing floss because not only               does it feel strange having something forced between the teeth, you need some pretty sophisticated motor skills to operate standard dental tape.  Using hand-held flossers can help reduce the coordination needed to floss. Some sensory children do not like mint so be aware of this when choosing  flavored floss. My son liked the berry better than the mint ones plus the ones that are made for children do not have sharp points on the ends.

The next thing to consider is the fragrance and feel of any soap or  shampoo you want them to use. Is it too strong-smelling, too slimy? Is there something they would like better? What about a shampoo bar instead of liquid? Shampoo bars were used for many years before the invention of liquid shampoo for your hair. They lasted a lot longer and offer much less wasteful packaging than all those plastic shampoo bottles.

You moisten the bar and rub it a few times on a wet hair, then massage to lather and rinse. They are also all natural which is another bonus! I’m all about avoiding chemicals where I can.

Body wash or bar soap? In our case we have tried everything and the only soap solution that has worked is finding an all-in-one liquid product for hair and body. We put this liquid and some water to thin it a bit into a foaming soap dispenser. The foaming soap doesn’t have the same feel for him and he actually likes it. You can find these in most stores for a reasonable price.

Shampooing his own hair is still a huge challenge because it feels so badly to him that he can’t force himself to do it. So we have been washing his hair over the side of the tub. He kneels on a comfortable mat and we place a folded towel on the edge of the tub to rest his head on. I use a shower sprayer to wash/rinse. Some children may prefer a cup of water poured slowly and they will have various preferences on the temperature of water they like. Something that feels great to you might be too hot or cold for them. Have them check with their hand before you put the water on their head. I found it also helps to talk him through what I’m doing and how close to done he is. At one point in time where his sensory was gone he was washing his hair himself in the shower but this didn’t last more than a few days.  So that’s a reminder that sensory can change, some days are better than others.

It’s also important to keep in mind many children do not like to tip their heads back or shut their eyes because they feel like they will fall or they feel dizzy.  Others fear water in the eyes or ears. They feel like they will drown and it causes panic. These are the kids that don’t like swimming or do but won’t get their heads or faces wet. They shout for a towel the moment one splash hits their face. Sometimes it can help to try swim goggles or swim ear plugs for hair or face washing. Some of the sensations of fear that occur from tipping their heads back might be due to retained primitive reflexes. (see Primitive Reflex Integration Therapy) 

Some children will prefer a bath over a shower if the shower water feels uncomfortable to their skin. Some will like a wash cloth, others will not. In our case wash clothes feel like sandpaper and so do shower puffs. I let him use the foaming soap dispenser and his hands to lather up. I have been told that these soft grip soap bars sometimes work for sensory children if you can find them.

It can help to keep their hair short if they are very sensitive about brushing, combing and hair washing. This might not be as feasible for a girl child but it’s worth considering if your child is agreeable to finding a cute hair style she can manage more easily. I do feel the child should have some choice in this decision. I’ve had more than one adult tell me their parents chopped all their hair off when they were young and they were very upset. We did have to look for combs or brushes that are soft and find out which one he preferred. My son prefers combs to brushes. Now that he is older he prefer to have his hair cut short with a shaver at the barber which means very little combing for him. Plus he also complains that when it grows out, it bothers him that it’s touching his forehead or neck.

We have yet to approach the age of shaving so that will be a future post I’m sure but in terms of deodorant when that time comes….we found it helpful to take him to the health food store to look at the selections. Avoid aerosol sprays which can feel cold and wet when first applied and most will not like this. This probably applies to roll-on which is also wet when first applied. Many sensory children do not like the feel of lotion, and thus this won’t be good either.  Look for a fragrance they like or one that is unscented if they are bothered by smells.  We ended up with a clay based deodorant in a woodsy pine that has worked very well. Since he liked the smell he wears it.  We do avoid aluminum containing deodorants because the metals will be absorbed into the body and I don’t want to chelate forever!

In terms of children that dislike toilet paper, mine might be the only one but in case he isn’t, we have been using wet toilet wipes for years. They sell them for adults now and they also have natural product options available. My best tip to you though is instruct your child not to flush more than one at a time, you really would make out better putting them in the bathroom trash unless you don’t mind backed up toilets. Ugh….

These are just some of the things that have helped make hygiene and personal care a bit easier and less traumatic for us. Keep an open mind, think outside the box!

Sensory Affects Hygiene Part 1

Round 169 and Round 109

We started round 169 for my son. I finally raised his dose of ALA to from 25mg to 30mg. I had been meaning to increase it since he’s grown and increased in weight but I had to order 60mg capsules first. I started round 109.

My dose is still at 50mg of ALA this time. I had wanted to raise my dose because I have been at 50mg for a while now and my rounds are pretty smooth. I don’t have any 25mg ALA left at the moment which means I will chelate with what I have. It isn’t imperative I raise my dose right now anyway. Sometimes things happen for a reason and maybe that’s karma telling me to be patient and just hold the 50mg for now. After all the point is to make sure you aren’t miserable or have a lot of symptoms on a round.

My son sailed through this round and you couldn’t tell that we raised his dose. He had no negative symptoms at all. His mood seemed to be lighter and happier which is something we do see when he is on a round.

As he’s gotten older we have started having the problem that he wakes up at night when his night doses are given. He will go back to sleep if it’s a 2am or 4am dosing. However, if it’s 6am he is up for the day. This hasn’t stopped us from doing rounds anyway, since he is functioning fine during the day. I’m the one that has a hard time going back to sleep after getting up from rounds. I survive it though and it has to be done.

Our round actually went very well with little to no symptoms at all. So we will continue his rounds at 30mg of ALA with 5mg of DMSA. People have asked me how we got DMSA. Since we began doing this years before DMSA was removed from over the counter sales, we already had some DMSA in our home that we can use up.

We shouldn’t need to use it much longer anyway and I will base that on his next hair test. We do them once a year and I try to make sure it’s a year to the month of the previous test. I will look at the level of his other heavy metals at that time to see if DMSA can be discontinued. In light of the new regulations on DMSA, it’s important to remember that most children don’t have high levels of Lead and don’t need to use DMSA at all.

It doesn’t seem that we will need to use it much longer and I will base that on the next hair test result. That won’t be done until summer probably.

 

Light it up blue…is that enough?

It’s that time of year again when the focus on autism is based on awareness. The goal is to create awareness among the masses including those not usually affected by autism. I often wonder how many people out there not directly affected by autism take part in creating awareness? I can’t help but notice when posting things of this nature on Facebook, people only “like” it or “share it” if they have an affected child. But we are already aware. That isn’t the target here.

I guess I sort of get it because we have a cause for everything today, and it seems like there’s a different cause of the month, every month. So at some point, people just tune it out.

But that is what they are counting on. They want you to tune it out. The problem is we can’t keep tuning out the massive numbers of children showing up with autism. Look back 30 years ago, or even 15 and you will see that autism was rare. Today its common. That’s not a coincidence. How many children with autism did you know when you were a child? How many did your mother or father know with autism when they were a child?

The claim is that the increase is due to better diagnostics, but that’s an empty and silly excuse. If this were true there would be massive numbers of adults finally being diagnosed that weren’t diagnosed as children in the 1970s, 1960s, 1940s an so on. They don’t exists. These large numbers of adults displaying autistic symptoms are not there.

There is a cause and they’d like us to believe it’s genetics, but is it really? I mean look at how a genetic disorder actually occurs in a family. You will have many members with it, generational as well. And this occurrence can be traced through the lineage. It also does not increase in frequency or occurrence over generations in a family. This is not what we are seeing in autism or cancer or a lot of conditions they think are genetic.  If this were true the family tree would look more like this:

I’ve talked to a lot of people whose children have autism, and neither parent has it, and neither do the grandparents, great grandparents, aunts etc. I’m not saying there isn’t a genetic susceptibility to autoimmunity, or sensitivity to mercury, or even the ability to detoxify mercury as well as someone else. I’m saying, it isn’t genes alone. There is an environmental exposure or trigger here that was not as profound in preceding generations.

I’m saying some obvious things are being ignored or over looked when looking for a cause for autism. Ignoring obvious sources of toxins like vaccines, maternal amalgam fillings, etc.,

And what if we were to temporarily suspend the vaccine schedule until someone could prove that the vaccines don’t contribute? Or how about we take lead from Japan and postpone vaccination until after age 2. This is what they did to reduce the risks of autism and it worked!

I also think more problems lie in the separation of advocates for autism. We are all grouped into separate entities, such as parents, organizations, researchers, pro-vaxers, non-vaxers, etc, rather than banding together to share information with each other. It isn’t so much about are vaccines good or bad, it’s about what role do they play here than isn’t being looked at. Why do the package inserts state that autism is a risk of vaccination?

Certainly we do have some children who did not receive vaccines or at least their parents don’t think they did. By this I mean, if you have your baby at the hospital and it goes to the nursery for a hearing test, or some kind of routine exam, likely, your baby received a Hep B vaccine if you did not sign a waiver refusing it. The only way to insure that no such thing was done was to have never left your baby at all with anyone. I would like to hope hospitals honor the parents requests or religious exemptions but I have heard stories that this is not always what happens when they take the baby away for an exam without the parents. And if it can be verified that no such vaccinations were given, these children do have toxic hair tests, so they are getting metals from somewhere else.

I could go on really for days about this subject but what really needs to happen is that we need to have a dialogue where parents who have actually been living with autism are listened to without being written off as crazy shills.

What autism awareness should be about is telling the world that some children got shots and subsequently got sick and developed autism. And their parents want answers, and they want to spare other parents and their children a similar fate.  I think its OK to admit that maybe our vaccine program or our medical modalities are not perfect and need to be re-examined. I think change and discussion leads to better things. Of course, some organizations risk losing a lot of money if that happens.

I think “Light It Up Blue” is only a portion of what we need to do. Sure bringing awareness is huge but I think if we wanted to make a true statement as to how many are actually affected it might be more effective to gather as many families and their affected children in one location as possible. It might make the point hit home a little harder.

How about a “Million Family March” on Washington, DC?

So please when you do participate in “Light it up Blue”, remember this a huge real problem that affects millions of families and we need to be heard!

And most of us never see a dime from any of these organizations and their campaigns that want you to donate to autism. We don’t see a dime to help pay for our children’s therapies, medical expense, supplements or special diet food.