Occupational therapy hacks to help during menstruation
Occupational therapist, Snehal Vaidhya has generously shared some tips to help parents with their child’s menstruation regime. Some of the tips she included are as follows –
- Given sensory issues that a lot of the girls with special need face, parents should be made aware of the type of pads to be used, based on their specific sensory needs. E.g. cottony feel, fragrant ones or the ones with a net lining outside.The parents should understand that the child may not prefer to use the same brand as them. They should try a couple of brands as the child may prefer a pad of a specific texture.Once the brand is fixed, parents may buy in bulk as initial period onset may be unpredictable.
- Pads should be placed in an accessible location that must be fixed so the girl knows where to get it from.
There are three options of fixing a pad to a child’s underpants, and parents need to select what works best for them depending on the child’s ability. The three different ways maybe shown to them, and supplemented with visual guiding sequence of the process -
- Use of diaper
- Pasting the pad to the underwear before wearing
- Child wearing the underwear half-way and then pasting the pad
Additional note : ABA therapist Snigdha Indukuri recommends using your child’s play doll as an excellent medium to teach girls about pad handling techniques. Get your child to fit or change a pad on her favourite play doll to get her used to doing it on herself.
Visual instructions for the child should include following displays:
- Underwear showing red spot (big red spot) to indicate menstruation, with a gradual decrease in size of the dot with the progression of the period. The red dot should be present at the beginning of the sequence and the size should decrease as it approaches the end of sequence for them to understand when to stop applying the pad.
- Description of the process of putting or changing a pad.
- Provide specific time slots (e.g. 8am, 2 pm , 8 pm) as time to change pads
- Provide the number of days to change pads.
- In specific cases when a parent has to physically handle the child during menstrual care, the position of child with respect to the mother while putting/changing the pad needs to be reassessed. Most often the child leans on the parent while putting on undergarments, which may cause shoulder, neck or back pain to the caregiver. Thus, finding a suitable position to prevent undue physical distress to the caregiver must also be taken into account.