Teacher Professor

February 18, 2010

Hair Troubles

Filed under: Autism — Teacher Professor @ 2:01 pm

This morning I sent my daughter off to school looking like a ragamuffin.  Her poor hair is all in snarls and tangles and it will take serious brushing to work it out.  And poor baby cannot STAND to have a brush go through her hair.  The Scots call it “tender-haided” and since she was born, she has hated having her hair messed with.  I see cute little girls with the most darling pony tails or ribbons and I think- oh well, not us.  Of course, she has this silky, fine baby hair with a little wave to it that tangles just by blowing on it.  It’s absolutely beautiful- when it’s brushed.  I have this thick, curly hair that falls right back into place, and a scalp made of iron that doesn’t feel pain- so I can sympathize, but I can’t REALLY understand.  And of course, because she’s hitting third grade vanity, she wants to grow her hair long- a goal that I keep explaining is going to cause more tangles and more need for brushing.

So many children with autism have hair issues.  Brushing, cutting, washing… the need to groom oneself is apparently, a sensory overload.  There is no good solution- but there are some fantastic ideas that can help.  There are some hair washing trays at Walmart and other medical supply stores that can help you with washing in the sink, rather than the bath tub.  We found that singing while washing and cutting helped us.  Others have found that pairing the grooming with something positive, such as TV works.  I set up counting times- “How many brushes do you think that this will take?”  I always predict some crazy high number and then am over-the-top happy when it’s less. 

Last night I caught a moment of the show, Toddlers and Tiaras on TLC and was amused that for many, many reasons, my children would not be participating on that show- not the least of the reasons was that the toddlers’ hair was tremendously teased and bouffant and “done”.  My child’s “ragamuffin” look doesn’t look so bad after all.

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