Autism and Body odour.

My girl has a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).
We got this before her Autism diagnosis.
Sensory processing disorder is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses

Most people with Autism have sensory issues.
They have difficulty processing everyday sensory information.
Their senses may be under or over sensitive, or both.
It can be overwhelming. It can create chaos.
The stimulus can cause physical pain, fear, anxiety and stress.
Too much information causes overload.
Meltdowns almost certainly are the outcome.

Sensory problems bring about challenges we never thought we would face.
Simple things, that as neurotypicals, we take for granted and do without any further thought.

Someone told me something yesterday.
I wasn’t offended, but truth hurts.
I was told my girl smells.
The truth is that body odour has well and truly enveloped her!
She refuses to wear deodorant.
Spray, roll on, we have tried every brand, every scent.
It is all just too much.
My girl just cannot bear it.

She smells. It’s plain and simple.
She knows she does but she doesn’t understand how it can be offensive to other people.
People with Autism can lack social awareness.
My girl doesn’t understand that it is socially unacceptable to smell.
Infact hygiene issues are just not important to her, and it is easy to see why when she has no interest in self image.

With both sensory issues and lack of social awareness it is a difficult thing to manage.
Challenging to say the least.
I don’t want to flood her with negativity and critism.
I have tried to be blunt and say as I find as often that is the only way with my girl, but that has met a solid brick wall!

Putting deodarant in your armpits involves the use of many senses.
*Touch: my girl appears to be over sensitive. Touch makes her uncomfortable, it even looks as though it is painful for her.
The feel of the deodorant is often cold and greasy.
Armpits are a very sensitive area.
*Taste: although not involved in everyones morning routine, my girl would lick the deodarant first.
She has PICA and often eats non edible items!
This is a behaviour which indicates she is under sensitive, but she only eats bland foods which would indicate over sensitivity.
*Sound: My girl is over sensitive to noise and cannot bear loud noises, crowded places etc. The noise of a spray can terrifies her.
*Smell: My girl is both under and over sensitive to smell.
Smells can be intense and over powering, but she craves odourous smelling items.
She can often be seen smelling her own armpits, seemingly enjoying the smell!
Most deodorants have scents which can be both over, or under, powering.

Choosing, and putting on, a deodorant is suprisingly very complex, especially when you have sensory issues.

People with Autism often need a reason to do things.
Everything needs to make sense in order for them to gain control and lessen anxiety.
If social awareness skills are lacking, and sensory problems affect judgement, it is possible to understand why they don’t find personal hygiene as neccessary.
Despite the people around them finding the smells offensive, it is difficult to make the person with Autism understand why.
If having friends is not important to that person, why would they make the effort when it doesn’t benefit them.

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2 thoughts on “Autism and Body odour.

  1. My son is much younger than your daughter and has speech and language delay and sensory/auditory processing disorder my struggle is getting him to have a shower it’s a huge battle and can be dangerous. This may be a shot in the dark but how about lemons or deodorant crystals. It’s something very different x

    Liked by 1 person

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