Good personal hygiene is important for a number of reasons.
Firstly, to help in preventing the transfer of illnesses and secondly (and more importantly for some!) to maintain our appearance.
Daily showering, teeth brushing and grooming are a must.
- washing your hands
- also washing the rest of your body
- taking care when you are handling food and storing food
- being careful not to cough or sneeze on others,
- cleaning things that you touch,
- throwing away things such as tissues that might have germs on them
- using protection (such as gloves or condoms) when you might be at risk of catching some infections.
From the Child and Health Youth website
Banish bad breath
Do you enjoy smelling someone else's doggy breath?
Of course you don't, so don't let yours get foul either!
Clean teeth are simple to arrange, just brush twice daily and floss once a day. If sensory problems are holding you back, get help.
All the heroic characters you love have pearly white teeth.
And take it from me, oral hygiene can make or break a relationship!
Now maintaining your teeth long term is NOT so easy.
You need to visit the dentist like every other adult, but as we know this can be expensive, and let's face it, no-one enjoys their twice yearly check up.
But sorry, it has to be done.
Beware of body odour
Look, I didn't want to sound like your mother, but seriously, it's important to wear fresh undies every day and to change clothes often.
Nobody likes to smell body odour. I bet you don't either. So get those clothes in the washing machine, then hang them out to dry.
Wash regularly, some people have to shower a couple of times a day. Wear deodorant unless you just can't bear it.
If a fear of changing clothes or dislike of laundry powder smells is holding you back, ask a trusted friend or relative to help you.
You might need some support too from a psychologist or counsellor.
It's different for women and men
Other hygiene requirements are different from men and women.
This webpage from Young Adult Health outlines some basic tips for good hygiene that are specific to young men and to women.
Some young people with autism will still be learning to manage their own hygiene requirements during the transition from school period.
Learning in this area can continue well into adulthood.
Encouraging independence in managing these kinds of everyday skills is still of great importance. It will also help your son or daughter to feel more confident.
For some young people, simply providing them with a few essential tips is enough.
There is a great webpage that we have referred to in the Young people section – you can have a look at it by clicking the Young people tab.
You may feel that your son or daughter will need more support and teaching to develop good hygiene practices.
This PDF from the South Australian government outlines some practical ideas for teaching good hygiene practices to young people with higher support needs.
Another great resource for those with very high support needs is a book titled “Taking Care of Myself” by Mary Wrobel.
This book utilises simple language, illustrations and social scripts and covers areas such as hygiene, health, modesty, menstruation, touching and personal safety and masturbation.
The Raising Children website also has some useful information here: