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Hairwashing for children - tips and advice

Hair washing can be a tricky experience for some children, young people and adults alike. If your child has sensory differences, they may find it hard to have their hair washed or to wash it.

A child may experience touch as overwhelming or even painful, or they may not register the touch
information making hair washing a confusing experience. If another person is washing your hair,
then it is not possible to control how much pressure is being used to make it more tolerable, you
also can’t see them as they will be out of the line of sight. This means that another person may be
rubbing your head in an unexpected way or place, or that they are touching your head in an
uncomfortable way.

If someone experiences movement difficulties, then they may find it difficult to maintain a good
sitting posture in the bath or find it hard to stand in the shower. They may find it difficult to step in
and out of the shower or bath, tilt their head for the shampoo to be washed out, or they may find it
hard to sit still for long enough to have a wash or wash their hair.

If a child has proprioceptive difficulties, they may struggle to get their hands to their head or to
move around all of their head to wash their hair. They might find it hard to rinse their hair.

Preparation ideas

Hair washing – the task

Activity ideas