Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Primative man and the mullet

Like many, my son is protective over parts of his body. Mainly his head. He can stand for hands to touch it and even being massaged with finger tips, for a limited amount of time. The problems occur with the presence of tools. Same with his hands or fingers, again touching is fine if not in a restrictive or forceful manner, until the appearance of tools.

I do manage to keep his nails trim and clean for the most part, because I get one maybe two a night before bed when he is calm and attempts of escape are not as effective. His hair however is a different story. With both of these problems I have been told "Do it in his sleep." The problem with this is I always hit the spot on the floor that squeaks and causes him to arouse from a deep sleep. If I miss the spot and reach him it is only momentary. The feel of touch during sleep causing him to slightly open his eyes to check out his surroundings to make sure all is well. I am sure I could not find many people to say they would be fine with dozing back off to dreamland after awakening to find your mother towering over you, scissors in hand.

Assuming I do get in and get a snip in here or there and beside the fact I am wary of having scissors near my sons head at the wee hours of night, if I start at the top/front do I just pray mullets temporarily come back in style? We are in Kentucky it may play off. If I can start in the back does that make things much better? A tellum? Then there is always the Victor/Victoria option, where I am able to only get half of his head. Also what about the hair that does get cut off. How to keep it from him and his bed so the rest of the night isn't followed by tears and meltdown due to itching.

I have seen a few boys with long hair that look just fine, but then again being able to brush or comb the hair does help to keep that grizzly appearance at bay. No it seems the answer may be to slowly desensitize (it that a word? if it is, is it possible?).

The OT suggests that I continue touching his head as often as possible to get him to realise all is well. Letting him hold the clippers while on and covered to protect. Going to a barber shop and explain the we need to visit a few times to watch and then make an attempt. Make sure that he is given a thorough bath after to make sure no hair is on him and make it a pleasant experience.

Those OT folks make things sound so obvious and simple don't they? Wish us luck!


Casdok said...

Good luck!!!
Brought back memories!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I know what Casdok means! Amy was horrendous especially with the hair brushing. I am afraid I have been quite hard and insisted that if she wants long hair she has to either brush it herself and let me do it. She has a de-tangling spray which works wonders and I would definitely recommend it. It even works on dry hair.

As for tools, nail clipper are just the same. Whether they grow out of it, I don't know yet.

God bless, Crystal xx

jackie said...

hi i stumbled upon your blog and felt compelled to comment! i teach preschoolers with autism and generally speaking, when i find a child is aversive to something, i turn to conditioning that object. you're probably familiar with what i'm talking about... starting with a really small step and then reinforcing the hell out of it with something he loves. for example: you may be able to start out by having him touch the tools - if he does that ok, reward him! or for allowing you to touch his head (a few of my kids don't like it either), try the same thing... for letting you touch him for 5 seconds or however long he can stand it without getting upset, reinforce/reward that with something tangible or edible and lots of praise! then you can gradually lengthen the amount of time touching or for bringing the scissors close to him until he's finally ok with the whole process. and eventually you can fade out the reinforcer, too!
just some thoughts! sorry for the novel :) best wishes!

Jeni said...

How true about how easy the OT's tend to seem to feel their recommendations are - "Well, just do this - or that." If only!
Kurtis has sensory issues too -however, I don't see them apparently as the same as the OT does. Confuses me at times. He goes bonkers over certain appliances and the noises they make, yes - but I've never noticed him being ultra sensitive to being touched. Today, she introduced him to a little brush type thing and gently rubbed it up and down his arms and legs - you could see him squirm a little at first but in short order, he was all smiles and you could see he enjoyed it. The hair cutting though - my daughter somehow - she's not exactly sure how though -did manage to get him to sit still and she was able to snip a lot of the curls off the back of his head. (Sniff, sniff as I just loved to see those little curls there even when they were getting pretty longish.) A lot of kids, even those who are not autistic -seem to have issues with getting their hair cut initially and for some time there after. I think probably introduction to the implements, taking him to casually observe now and again, people getting haircuts, etc. - kind of give him an introductory course in hair care that way may help. But then, if things were that easy -wouldn't it make sense then to a four-year-old who is potty trained to use the commode to pee but who INSISTS on putting a pull-up on for other necessities of life could be done simply by letting her observe too? It all just ain't that simple, is it? Keep trying, girl - just keep trying!

mommy~dearest said...

We also have the haircut-phobia. I usually have the stylist cut it shorter than they would usually, so we don't have to go back for a couple of months.

It's hell when he's getting it done, and I have to hold/distract him just so she can do it (and I tip her well when it's over!). The cut looks pretty bad for the first week (Jaysen has a massive "cowlick" at the crown of his head), but it grows out enough after that.

She's like the wind said...

I can't think of anything to say that would help you, sorry, so I'll just say Hi and keep trying.

Jade said...

Hee hee, half way through your email I was saying to myself "ohhh they need to do desensitization lessons with him on that! LOL then I get down to the bottom and thats what your OT said. Honestly, as horrible as it is when you're doing it, its worth it. After a while he'll see that mommy is only touching his head for love. Just like with food, these kids are super sensitive, and most of the time don't understand why. So...if you show them thew tons of repetitive attempts that its ok, most of the time you get some sort of positive result. (From my own experiences anyways) Just don't give up!

My thoughts and prayers are with ya!

Suzy said...

Connor has made so much progress. I am sure you and Connor will figure this one out also.


Maddy said...

Yes, we too have the head/nail thing. Without wishing to be overly pessimistic [perish the thought!] it does appear to be a long term thing.

On the brighter side [possibly] we have flipped over to the dark side and now he has to have something on his head at all times be that a hat or something more exciting as protective wear. I deem this to be progress - I think?