Some autistic people find looking after themselves difficult. Sensory differences can mean they are sensitive to temperatures and sensations such as water, soap, gel, toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, cutting nails or hair. The smells and feel of personal grooming products can be too intense for those with sensory differences.
Problems with personal care
It's not uncommon for autistic people to avoid engaging in personal care or to reluctantly do the bare minimum. Some people may also prefer to wear only certain items of clothing, eat the same foods, stick to the same toothpaste brand, soap and so on.
Masking and fitting in
Other autistic people may be very attentive to their personal appearance. Those sensitive to criticism may worry about looking different to others or fear being rejected. As a result, they may invest a lot of time in keeping clean – smelling nice, being immaculately turned out or wearing a lot of make-up.
Executive function skills
Personal care can also be a challenge for those with difficulties around ‘executive function’ skills. This is our ability to keep ourselves organised, to prioritise, manage time, make decisions, multi-task and generally get things done on a daily basis. People with ADHD also often struggle in this area and benefit from a very structured routine.
Read more information on how to support autistic people with personal care by clicking on the links below.