How do I adult: Showering

creative commons image by orkomedix on flickr

Elephants! Showering!


I have noticed in a number of autism spaces that there are people out there who have reached adulthood but are having problems with basic self-care things that we were expected to learn in childhood. This can be an embarrassing thing to talk or ask about, especially with the level of detail sometimes needed. In that vein, I figured I would take a stab at occasionally posting “how do I adult” topics. Today’s topic is taking a shower, which I will try to break down into basic sections, with as much detail as possible.

Things you will need:

A washcloth
A bar of soap
Facial Soap
If your hair is 4 inches long or longer: Conditioner
If you don’t want to wash your hair: A Shower Cap
A towel to dry off with

Getting Started

To get your shower started, turn on the water all the way hot and let it run for a few minutes. Check it with your fingertips every minute or so, to see if the hot water is coming through.

Once it is, turn it cooler to get it to a temperature that is comfortable for you.

Get undressed. Remember to take off everything! Don’t forget underwear or socks or any necklace you might be wearing.

Decide ahead of time if you are going to be washing your hair or not. If not, put on the shower cap to keep your hair dry.

Step into the shower. If you’re worried about balancing, it can help to have a bathmat on the shower floor. Once you are in the shower make sure the shower curtain or door is closed.

Next up, get wet. Get ALL of yourself wet – your front, back, and sides. Lift up your arms to get your armpits wet too. If you are washing your hair, you will need to wet your hair as well. Stand with your back to the water and tilt your head back as far as it will go. Move back until you can feel the water hitting the very top of your forehead. Then slowly tilt your head forward so that water gets onto all of your hair. Also tilt your head to one side and then the other to get the sides of your head wet. If your hair is more than ~4” long, you will need to lift your hair up to help the water get all the way in. You want your hair quite thoroughly wet.

Summary of Getting Started:

1. Get the water started at the temperature you like.
2. Get undressed.
3. Step into the shower.
4. Get completely wet.

Next up, washing your hair!

If you are not going to wash your hair, you can go ahead and skip to page 4.

(ETA: whoa, the page links are way down low! scroll down to find them)


Filed under Uncategorized

7 responses to “How do I adult: Showering

  1. I have a LOT of trouble showering with any kind of regularity. It’s not the steps that confuse me, though. If anything, it’s because I see ALL the steps I need to do, and it wears me out before I even start. Executive function issues don’t exactly help, either.

    • I definitely hear you there. That’s actually pretty much why I put the basic steps on their own pages – it really helps if you can find a way to only focus on the step you are doing, and maybe the one right after.

      • I wish I could! But I’m always afraid I’ll run out of energy halfway and then I’ll be standing there with my hair full of soap and no energy to dry off and get clothes on. Scary!

        • Ohh, that sounds like a spoons thing! Yeah, that makes it a lot trickier.

          I wonder if I could come up with a post talking about managing spoons.

  2. Great post, can’t wait to see more of the series.

    A few notes I’d like to make:
    1: If you have very short hair, e.g. less than 1 inch, the shower cap may not be necessary as your hair will dry very quickly anyway. I also happen to like the sensation of the water hitting my scalp so I don’t use one. And I know this will mostly apply to males

    2: There are other options to a washcloth. Sponges and loofahs (or luffas) can be used if you prefer the texture.

    3: I also keep a small scrubbing brush in the shower for particularly persistent dirt and for getting under my fingernails.

    • These are all very good points!

      On point 2 – I was trying to find a good balance between details and options, and not giving so many options that it looks overwhelming. I’m still figuring out how to do this, and the washcloth portion was definitely one of the toughest. There are just SO many options for what to use to wash one’s body. I also left out liquid soap (which goes well with loofahs) and other types of soap preferences people might have (I am very picky and only use hand made, cold process soaps). Also, sometimes people with long hair can skip conditioning – I rinse my hair with vinegar, and my bf, who has very long hair, oils it with olive oil once a week. Neither of us condition.

      So yeah. I definitely left out a lot of options, but I feared it would be overwhelming to people who are struggling how to figure out showering at all.

    • Oh, also. THANK YOU! I’m so glad you like the post!