When Sensory Affects Hygiene- part 1

As many parents of sensory children know, sensory symptoms affect just about every aspect of life including hygiene and personal care. In this post I’m going to talk a little about the challenge this has been for us.

When my son was small hygiene needs were taken care of by his parents. We managed the bathing, shampooing, brushing and combing. He certainly did protest. He used to scream having his hair washed but thankfully his sensory reduced enough by age 5 that this stopped.

This is pretty typical for most sensory children. We did not truly know the reasons for his protesting until he was about 3 years old and was diagnosed with a sensory disorder.  People are often apprehensive to get diagnosis for anything but in this case, you really need to know if your child has this. Life will be truly miserable for all involved if you aren’t aware of how it affects everything about your child.

We got many comments when my son was a toddler about why we didn’t cut his hair shorter. People had no idea how traumatizing a hair cut was not only for our son but the person trying to cut it. No one wants to cut the hair of a screaming child. Back then we did not have hair stylists dedicated to working on sensory children. We were left to trimming it at home in short bursts. He even cried if the hair fell on him when it was cut off so he had to be draped in a large towel. He didn’t like it touching him!

Dentist visits were another nightmare! He has such a strong gag reflex that it was not tolerable to have any sort of lengthy examination or dental work. We still have this problem. Although this year he did get through his cleaning really well with a very patient hygenist that took her time with him and gave him breaks when was feeling overwhelmed or gaggy.

While we have struggled through those early growing years with sensory challenges most parents never face…the teen years are showing further challenges.

Keep in mind young children can play all day outside and don’t develop body odor. This drastically changes in puberty.  They become smaller sized adults complete with morning breath and body odor. Bathing twice a week is not going to take care of that.

For sensory children this new increased need to wash, shampoo and brush can be very difficult. They will refuse, protest, or run the water and pretend they did it. Your nose tells you otherwise!

It’s easy to mistake this resistance for being a teen or just being lazy or defiant, however in every case in our house it’s always turned out to be a sensory symptoms that is driving his resistance. And it’s never something you’d think of either.

For example:.

  • What if closing your eyes and tipping your head back to rinse your hair made you feel dizzy or like you would fall over?
  • What if water in your ears or on your face caused panic or feeling like drowning?
  • What if water hitting your head or skin in the shower hurt?
  • What if shampoo or a bar of soap felt like slime in your hands or on your head?
  • What if toothpaste felt like a mouth full of sand?
  • What if toilet paper or napkins felt like sandpaper on your skin?
  • What if a toothbrush felt like it was scratching and scrapping you teeth?

These are just some examples of what sensory children report  and it can induce anxiety and fear or panic. No wonder they fight so hard not to do it! So we often need to view it from their perspective to find solutions that will make washing and hygiene a less negative experience.

If you’re world was on hyper sensitivity all the time and everything felt 100 times more extreme than it does now….most of us could not imagine this but it is what sensory children experience.

It takes some detective work to find creative solutions that will work for your child since each child’s sensory symptoms are a bit different. What works for one child might not work for yours.  I think the important thing is to keep an open mind, look for cues from your child about what is causing the discomfort or driving their resistance.  Find books and blogs about sensory to familiarize yourself with common sensory symptoms. Seek therapies for as warranted if they are helpful.

But most of all, be patient with your child.

Resources:

Why I didn’t do the DAN protocol

I’ve been doing biomed for 8 years and in that time I’ve talked to thousands of other parents and mercury poisoned adults. That has given me lots of anecdotal evidence for why I chose to use frequent dose chelation and not follow a DAN protocol or other mainstream chelation method.

help buttonI’ve actually had many parents who did do DAN protocol come to me to help them fix the regressions that were caused by DAN chelation. While regressions don’t happen in every child I have seen enough cases of it to question the methods safety. I have seen no regressions using frequent dose chelation and I can explain why.

I’m not a chemist but I certainly understand that medications, supplements, substances have a life span. They only last so long in the body before they are broken down, used up, excreted. This isn’t any different for chelators than it is for aspirin or cough medicine.

The problem with most mainstream chelation methods is they ignore something called pharmacokinetics. Pharma what? That’s what I said when I learned about it years ago but essentially what is means is the half-life of a substance. And no I don’t mean that video game either. Half-life, as in how long before it breaks down, is used up and excreted by the body.

Let me explain why half-life is so important in chelation. Every time you take a chelator, it grabs onto to some metals and they are escorted out of the body with the chelator. This happens over and over as long as there are chelators in the blood. This process stirs up metals, drag them out of storage for excretion which is what you want.

So what if you only take one dose of a chelator and then stop it? In this case you have stirred up metals but the one dose of chelator can only grab a bit of it and the rest is left to float around and then settle somewhere.This process is called “redistribution”.

The tricky part about redistributrion is that mercury really likes the brain and nervous system. This is usually where it gets stored. So that’s where it is most likely to go when you stop chelators. If you keep taking single doses of chelators randomly this will keep happening and likely cause a worsening of symptoms, known as “regression”.

The good news is this redistributing of mercury into the brain can be significantly reduced which would remove this risk of regression.  How this is achieved is to reduce the blood levels of metals so that when you stop chelators, there is very little to mercury to be redistributed.

This is where frequent low dose chelation comes into play. You maintain a steady blood level of chelator for set number of hours, (64-72 hours) which allows a good pull of metals, gets those blood levels low so you don’t push mercury back into your brain when you stop taking chelators. It is also going to pull more out of storage than a short round or a random dose.

Since you don’t never use high doses any side effects or risks to are removed. What a concept right? It’s been around since the late 1990s through the work of Dr. Andrew Hall Cutler PhD who recovered himself from mercury poisoning using this method. (you can read in-depth about Andy’s protocol and mercury poisoning in his book Amalgam Illness: Diagnosis and Treatment)

Frequent dose chelation in summary is low dose chelators given on the half-life for a period of days. The minimum of which is 64 hours but ideally as close to 72 hours as you can. This is followed by a break or time off for the body to rest. The break should be at least as many days on the round. So if you have chelated for 3 days (64 hours) you need to take 4 or more days to rest.

When I began looking into why doctors don’t use this method of chelation it was explained to me that they felt it wasn’t convenient for parents. They thought that parents would not do it if they had to get up at night to give doses.

I give parents more credit than that.

Most would get up at night if they knew why the had to do it and they knew it was safer.

For more information or support on frequent dose chelation:

Autism Organized

Having a child with autism often makes life busier than it might have been otherwise. We have to manage things that most parents don’t. Like supplements, dietary modifications, therapy and also somehow get household chores done too. It isn’t easy but most of us learn to juggle this rather well after some practice.

But what if there were some tools out there to make this process easier? Well certainly that would be fantastic.

My co-author Tressie came up with this excellent idea to start collecting and creating such a resource to make our biomed parents lives easier. And thus was born the Autism Organized website.  We get so many questions from parents about managing all the aspects of biomedical therapy and their every day lives. And finally, there are some tools to help.

From our recovery organizer, household chore list, menu planning, dietary information right on over to fun activities you can do with your kids…its truly an awesome collection of resources.

Just click the image to visit the site: