Bath Time: Mom of Autistic Teen Says It Takes Love & Patience
It’s bath time. Elijah loves his baths, but for us bath time can be a challenge. Although you might find an autistic teen who loves bath time, that is not our story. Mind you, he’s not a cute little boy anymore. He is 15 years old, nearly an adult, so there are extra “things” we have to consider. This is our routine:
We tell him it’s bath time, and he happily walks to the bathroom.
The first thing that he has to do is use the toilet. Depending on his bowels, this process can last anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour (yes I said half an hour). Since he has not mastered the ability to wipe (and I’m sure he is not interested in that), we have the honor of cleaning his bum and he is gracious enough to bend over while we do it.
Once this is complete, he is ready to take his bath. Elijah is not partial to showers, and very particular about the temperature of his water. If it is too cold or too hot, he will not get in, so we have to be certain that it is just the right temperature to avoid conflict. He leans over to have his back washed, then his neck and chest, his arms, his legs and so on. Once the bath is complete, we dry him off, put on his deodorant, lotion him down, brush his teeth, and send him to bed.
This is the routine now, but it has taken years for us to get there.
I can remember a time when he was not so cooperative with us, and even now he can be a little antsy before bath time. Through the years, I have found that giving him a bath is actually a way to calm him. If he is having a really rough day and is over stimulated, I will run him a nice bath in my soaker tub. And, let him play in the bubbles until he is calm.
All in all, bath time is not so bad (especially when toilet time is short!). Every day I am amazed at how much love and patience it takes to raise my son. I am even more amazed at the GOD who created us all. The love and patience it must take for HIM to clean us up when we can’t do it ourselves! For all the parents of an autistic teen, know you are not alone! We do everything we can for our children, but sometimes the plan isn’t feasible. Managing and advocating for your children’s IEP takes love and patience, too! You might also want to check out these tips on making sure your IEP is Policy Proof!
By: Radiah Mallard
PHOTO CREDIT: Radiah Mallard
Also published on Medium.