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The dog, the hand-washing and the ASD child.

Leo
Leo the Labradoodle

As you may have read, we've just got a puppy, a labradoodle. He's very cute and has transformed our elder ASD son's life. The dog is the first thing he thinks about in the morning and the last thing on his mind at night. He's even okay at scooping the poop without fuss, although washing his hands afterwards is a bit more of a problem.

Youngest, who loves dogs, has got the hang of the hand washing, just not the dog. They're definitely not the pack leader where the puppy is concerned. The dog jumps and nips all the time which Youngest finds very distressing. The hand-washing though, is going over the top. Youngest has always been known as a very, very clean child, never forgetting clean hands after using the lavatory. The length of showers is such I'm surprised Al Gore isn't on our doorstep offering a lecture on water wastage.

Every time Youngest so much as brushes against the puppy with their hands, they're at the sink, massaging soap into fingers and doing an inadequate rinse job. It's become so bad that in the space of two weeks, they've come down with eczema on the knuckles. Turns out, using washing up liquid instead of handwash isn't a great idea, despite it being an eco-friendly detergent. The doctor has now prescribed a special handwash that can be used as often as needed along with a tube of aqueous cream around in the pocket for use at school. Sadly however, I think getting the dog to see Youngest as anything more than another plaything is going to take longer to sort out.

Tania Tirraoro
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