Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Autism and the Everyday

There are some things about autism that are hard to live with.
  It's all relative because, let's be honest, autism is hard to live with.
Full stop. 
Teeth cleaning.
A twice-a-day ritual that should be second nature by now.
It's nowhere near first nature.
Not even close.
The Boy Child cannot be left alone to clean his teeth.
{The autism part of his brain cannot compute
 the stages required to produce a complete job.} 
It won't happen.
What will happen is this: 
 He will chew the brush to within an inch of its life.
{The brush in the image above is less than two weeks old.
I have begun to buy toothbrushes in bulk.}
    He will draw patterns on the bathroom mirror
 with the toothpaste that is on his brush.
He will use his toothpaste laden toothbrush 
to "clean" around the plug hole of the sink.
{That's a particular favourite with me.}
What will he not do is clean his teeth.
A few years ago, on the advice of his dentist, we switched to an electric toothbrush.
He bit the head off, more than once, while the toothbrush head was in motion.
As new autism parents, we didn't realise {or even consider}
 that he couldn't bear the noise inside his head.
The dentist didn't know that either.
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a children's dentist
who specialises in working with children with autism?
What should be two minutes twice a day turns into a half an hour struggle.
And that's only if we intervene.
Sometimes we look at each other and say, "I know.  What can you do?"  
We're learning to pick our battles.


Serenata said...

Learning to pick your battles is a lesson we learned a few years ago....and really has made life a lot easier! Our son is now 18....he still won't clean his teeth - at his latest dental check his teeth were perfect! Go figure? But of course for how long is anyone's guess.

Liz said...

Picking your battles can't be easy but don't forget you're both great parents doing a great job. TBC is great just the way he is clean teeth or not. Your DN still doesn't clean his unless reminded and he's 18!! Love xxx

pmk said...

It's definitely about oicking your battles. It didn't really stick fully for our dd until she needed to go to the orthodontist and they did photographs of her teeth which were then assessed at the dental hospital before braces/retainers were agreed. They didn't agree because of her poor oral hygiene. That was enough for her to understand how serious the issue was and it took her just a few weeks to get to grips with proper brushing, get new photos taken and for treatment to be approved. It's hard though.

debs14 said...

Oh Ruth, the things we take for granted. I had no idea that things like this were such an issue for autistic children. Your honest posts are real eye openers as to the challenges you face. You are doing an amazing job with TBC but you must go to bed exhausted by the end of a bad day. I hope the holidays bring better days for you all x

Ladkyis said...

A recent study has recommended that children up to age 14 do not clean their teeth properly UNLESS they are supervised so he isn't as bad as you thought - and he bites the heads off toothbrushes not chickens or bats so that's a good thing.
I'm not making light of it just trying to give you a ray of sunshine on your toothpaste covered mirror.
OH and if he goes through brushes at that rate then the expensive ergonomically shaped expensive named brand and expensive - did I already say that? - brushes are a waste of money and you should be in the pound shop buying five for a pound - then you could clean the plughole of the sink with them too.

Alison said...

I agree with Deb...we just don't giveaway thought to the basic things that must be difficult for children with autism ...and for their parents....hope today is a good day!! Xx

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