Sensory issues and soap, I need help! - Mothering Forums
Special Needs Parenting > Sensory issues and soap, I need help!
sewaneecook's Avatar sewaneecook 03:18 PM 03-06-2013
My 6 year old DS had his first appt with a developmental pediatrician yesterday. My suspicions were confirmed during the appt that he has sensory issues and is likely on the high functioning end of autism (further testing will be done this spring and summer). Anyone have any tips that work for a child who tantrums through every shower because he doesn't like soap? We use Dr. Bronner's Shikakai soap that's unscented, so one of the most gentle available and he still hates it. He also hates washing his hands and I'm tired of battles over it! Any creative ideas or magical soaps he might tolerate? (Hand sanitizers are even worse than soap, FYI.)

EarthRootsStarSoul's Avatar EarthRootsStarSoul 04:59 AM 03-07-2013

Maybe a fun soap, like the clear glycerin bars that have a little toy inside?


chiefmir's Avatar chiefmir 05:41 AM 03-07-2013

maybe a foaming soap?  if you want to use the type of soap you already have, you can just buy a cheap foaming soap (its the container that does it), dump the soap, then add your own liquid soap with a lot of water (I believe we use about a 5:1 water to soap ratio).  We sometimes also add a few drops of food coloring to make it interesting.


sewaneecook's Avatar sewaneecook 11:22 AM 03-07-2013
I've tried a foaming soap and he resists that too! We haven't had a soap with a "prize" inside in a while, but the last time we did, DS got the toys out by running it under running water! I may get another bar with a toy in it to see if it would help.
RiverTam's Avatar RiverTam 05:59 PM 03-07-2013

You could try skipping the soap. About 90% of the work of getting clean is done mechanically by water.  Try having him wipe down with a wash cloth over every part of his body under the shower head and then squirt him down again. Wash his hair with shampoo one to two times per week. That's probably enough for a kid his age and I bet he will smell fine.

 

If you like, you could add a warm bath with baby oil to his regime. It will improve the condition of his skin and make him smell nice. 

 

If that doesn't work, what about swimming every other day? If he showers without soap before getting in the pool and then swims in a chlorinated pool, he will be really clean. He should rinse off in the shower afterwards. If he has dry skin, though, it might be tough. Chlorine makes dry skin worse. 


sewaneecook's Avatar sewaneecook 11:33 AM 03-08-2013
RiverTam, you describe a lot of our current routine. He won't allow us to comb his hair, so it's short and doesn't need combing and only gets washed about every 7-10 days in the winter, more frequently in the summer when he's in the dirt more. He plays in the tub a couple times a week and I use soap only when I wash his hair. I occasionally add oil to his bath since he won't let me put it on him afterward and his skin is quite dry. I also started putting some heavy duty moisturizer on his hands while he sleeps in hopes that his dry skin won't be the cause of his avoiding washing his hands. When he was in swim lessons I only used soap every couple weeks when he looked grimy!

In my research since the appt, I have heard that some kids with sensory issues tolerate a bar of soap in a washcloth pocket so I may try to make one this weekend. If that doesn't work, I'm out of ideas. The OT can't start soon enough for issues like this!
Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move 04:59 PM 03-08-2013

I wonder if getting him on a good sensory diet will help with this. The OT will be able to figure out what sort of sensory input he needs, and once he starts getting that, you may see changes with soap as well as with other aspects of daily life.
 


RiverTam's Avatar RiverTam 11:06 AM 03-09-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by sewaneecook View Post

RiverTam, you describe a lot of our current routine. He won't allow us to comb his hair, so it's short and doesn't need combing and only gets washed about every 7-10 days in the winter, more frequently in the summer when he's in the dirt more. He plays in the tub a couple times a week and I use soap only when I wash his hair. I occasionally add oil to his bath since he won't let me put it on him afterward and his skin is quite dry. I also started putting some heavy duty moisturizer on his hands while he sleeps in hopes that his dry skin won't be the cause of his avoiding washing his hands. When he was in swim lessons I only used soap every couple weeks when he looked grimy!

In my research since the appt, I have heard that some kids with sensory issues tolerate a bar of soap in a washcloth pocket so I may try to make one this weekend. If that doesn't work, I'm out of ideas. The OT can't start soon enough for issues like this!

 

 

Bath mitts, maybe? You could put baby wash on the mitt, rather than soap.

 

You could try the terrycloth mitts and the foam ones to see if either works. 

 

http://www.target.com/p/circo-wash-mitt/-/A-14163692#?lnk=sc_qi_detailbutton

 

http://www.target.com/p/circo-fox-wash-mitt/-/A-14275371#prodSlot=medium_1_29&term=bath+mitt

 

http://www.amazon.com/Maddak-Foam-Bath-Mitt/dp/B005H7DL8Y

 

 

 

If he has extremely dry skin, I bet the soap hurts his skin. It can sting, like getting soap in little paper cuts.  A nurse suggested applying Eucerin creme to the skin and it has done wonders for us.  

 

http://www.eucerinus.com/products/soothe/eucerin-original-healing-soothing-repair-creme.html


anj_rn's Avatar anj_rn 06:43 PM 03-09-2013

we use aveeno body bar.  I took baby washcloths and sewed them into pockets to hold the bar, and they work great.  I also can use a little aveeno body wash squeezed into the pockets.  Try starting out setting a timer.  Mommy will soap you up for this long, and then we stop.  If you do this every time you bathe, you will eventually soap all of him down.  The more he gets used to it, you can extend the time and soap him down faster.  We do lotion in the morning before school.  The faster he gets out of bed to get dressed, the less lotion he gets (you can only put lotion on people in pjs).  I do not know why it works, but it does for us on school days.  I can usually get legs one day, arms another, and torso a third, so I just rotate.  I use the target brand oatmeal lotion, because it has no scent.


Wolfcat's Avatar Wolfcat 12:09 AM 03-11-2013
Maybe you could go the opposite way and use a soap that is not smooth. Try a soap with oatmeal in it.
sewaneecook's Avatar sewaneecook 07:51 AM 03-12-2013
We use a timer for so many other things, I don't know why I didn't think of it for a bath! I've tried very hard to avoid body care products containing petrochemicals and, while Aveeno and Eucerin advertise that they are natural, they have many of the chemicals I have avoided for years. Which is why we use the Dr. Bronner products and plain coconut oil for a moisturizer. I recently purchased a locally made organic bar soap that I hope will work in a wash cloth pocket. DS resists any type of lotion or moisturizer ... I tried several of the non-natural types before I switched to the natural products and he hated all of them equally! Even when I add coconut oil to his bath he asks that I wash off the "slime" that sticks to his skin, but it creates less of a tantrum than putting it on him after a bath and he often forgets about it once his pajamas are on.

There is a couple month backlog with OT appointments, but he starts therapy in June, hopefully that will also make a difference.
foodymama's Avatar foodymama 03:54 PM 03-19-2013

How does he do with different material textures?  Soap in a wash cloth pocket made me think of felted soap.  If he doesn't have a problem with wool and helps you make it maybe he'll be more excited to use it.  Just a thought!   http://rhythmofthehome.com/2010/07/felted-soap-tutorial/


sewaneecook's Avatar sewaneecook 12:40 PM 03-20-2013
I had never heard of felted soap, thanks for the suggestion!
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