How do I convince my child with autism to wear a face mask?

Posted by mitzi3 @mitzi3, Apr 20 12:06pm

I have an Autistic child that has an appointment at Mayo/Roch. how can I conviince him to wear a mask? He does not want to wear one. 🙁

@mitzi3, that is not an easy task. I'm going to call in some creative thinkers like @alexisdewilde @shellyt888 @mamacita @jennsprung @ihatediabetes and @auntieoakley to join this conversation and brainstorm some ideas. I'll kick things off. Might some of these ideas work?

– Make him a mask out of a soft t-shirt or material with a pattern he likes @gingerw might be able to share a pattern.
– Show him a picture of all the doctors, firemen, nurses or any other professional that he respects, wearing their mask. Might you ask the nurse or doctor that he will see to send him a picture of themselves wearing a mask? You could ask through the patient portal.
– Does he have a favorite stuffed animal or toy that he could bring that would also wear a mask?
– Could the mask be part of a costume? A superhero with a mask?

How old is your son, Mitzi?

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CJ is 4 and my grandson. it might be bothering his ears…

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@mitzi3

CJ is 4 and my grandson. it might be bothering his ears…

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Those elastics can be bothersome. Could you refit the mask with ties? See the variations that some members are doing to their mask making in this discussion:
– Making Facemasks https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/making-facemasks/?pg=2#comment-383422

@sueinmn @gingerw and @ihatediabetes may have some tips about ties.

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@mitzi3 We have used tshirt fabric for ties, very soft and they seem to hold well on the back of the head.
Are you referring to a homemade mask or one provided by the clinic?
If you must use a clinic-provided mask, I suggest bringing soft fabric -four 1" wide by 10" long strips of an old tshirt or 4 soft, fluffy peices of thick yarn, plus a needle and thread, and sew them in place of the elastic.
If you can furnish the mask, I suggest a soft old tshirt, cut in the shape of a mask about 3-4" high and 5-6" wide for a 4 year old, with 8-10" long ties cut right on the 4 corners. Best if you can double the fabric, and be sure to cut across the shirt so the stretchy part goes around the face for comfort. No pattern needed, if you are moderately handy with a needle, gather it along the two sides to about 2 1/2" wide so it fits his face better.
I second Colleen's suggestion to put one on an animal or doll, or yourself, as well – especially one just like his.
Finally, as with all things with an autistic child, practice wearing masks together until he is comfortable.
Come back and ask if you have more questions.
Sue

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@sueinmn

@mitzi3 We have used tshirt fabric for ties, very soft and they seem to hold well on the back of the head.
Are you referring to a homemade mask or one provided by the clinic?
If you must use a clinic-provided mask, I suggest bringing soft fabric -four 1" wide by 10" long strips of an old tshirt or 4 soft, fluffy peices of thick yarn, plus a needle and thread, and sew them in place of the elastic.
If you can furnish the mask, I suggest a soft old tshirt, cut in the shape of a mask about 3-4" high and 5-6" wide for a 4 year old, with 8-10" long ties cut right on the 4 corners. Best if you can double the fabric, and be sure to cut across the shirt so the stretchy part goes around the face for comfort. No pattern needed, if you are moderately handy with a needle, gather it along the two sides to about 2 1/2" wide so it fits his face better.
I second Colleen's suggestion to put one on an animal or doll, or yourself, as well – especially one just like his.
Finally, as with all things with an autistic child, practice wearing masks together until he is comfortable.
Come back and ask if you have more questions.
Sue

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@sueinmn Your ideas are perfect for doing a mask for a young man! @mitzi3 Even without the additional sensory issues that may accompany an autistic child, keeping clothing in place can be a challenge, I believe. Have several simple masks that can be laundered in a lingerie bag, at hand. As mentioned, demonstrating masks on everyone from dolls to stuffed bears to other humans, may well lead to mimicing [sp?] that behavior.
We look forward to hearing what works out for you.
Ginger

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Hi @mitzi3 There have been several articles published lately that discuss introducing the mask to the child paired with praising him when he holds it, touches it to his face, etc. I have included one here: https://www.checkupnewsroom.com/helping-children-with-autism-adapt-to-wearing-face-masks/
When is his appointment? the sooner you can introduce him to the mask, the longer he has to adjust to it.
I would also consider playing on what he likes most. For instance, if he likes super heroes, provide a hand made cape with the mask and play dress up or if he likes dogs, draw a puppy nose on both his and your mask and pretend to be puppies.

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He had to go in for a covid test today for his apt. on Friday. he refused and they let it go because everyone else had it on. We will continue to work on it. Thank you all.

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Could you maybe use a veil off a fav hat instead? (example below, son and I usually wear coolie hats in our AZ sun.) My son and I both do this because light sensitive days with migraines but it would also work as air particle screen.. It needn't be as dark and light suppressing as the import UV silk we select. He is compliant to putting the mask on but will take it off at random once his tolerance is used up.

webcam-toy-photo9

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