We worked hard to teach my autistic son independence with daily living skills. We thought we had cleared a major hurdle the moments he finally started to take to toilet training. He was happy, we were happy, and lord knows my washer and dryer were happy too! We were singing the song of victory.
We were such fools.
You see, there was one major factor that had to be addressed. We consulted with our kid’s teachers, therapists, support staff, and other parents. The problem wasn’t going away and since that whole “I can never die” plan of mine isn’t going to pan out like I had hoped, it was time we tackled…
The Hand Dryer of Doom (cue the dramatic music)
In an effort to save the planet for our kids, science created hand dryers for the public bathrooms of the world. Unfortunately, in order for it to work, it must contain a motor in it that sounds like Satan’s screams from the bowels of hell.
And it’s not enough to simply tell the lad, “Oh, just wipe your hands on your pants.” All it took was hearing some stranger use it once in the restroom for him to be scared shitless at the mere sight of them. So that doesn’t work. Not to mention he’s getting older and has started going into the men’s room by himself (with me standing in the doorway speaking loudly to all in there that “Mom is right outside. You call if you need help, and fellas, you don’t have anything I haven’t seen before.” So yeah, I will have no qualms about walking in there if need be).
So what did work? A hair dryer. Yep, you read that correctly. Kiddo’s former teacher, Mrs. M., is one smart lady and she started using one on the kids’ hands after they washed up at school. Now, I can’t say he’s in love with the thing, but she got him to learn how to tolerate it. That’s all a girl like me could want. The day she emailed me this picture from a class trip to the mall made me sob. Like full on ugly cry.
Miracles can happen. Even in the bathroom.
The Exlerator brand! I know you know what a big deal that one is. Hella Loud!
But just when you think it was safe to go back into the bathroom, check out this muthatrucker.
“Hey, her autistic kid finally got over the fear of the hand dryer. We better take that idea and level up!”
Stick your hands into the noise, are you serious? I mean, just look at this thing. I don’t even want to put my hands into this device. Doesn’t it look like some sort of bad science fiction movie torture device? I just got him used to dealing with it with his hands under it. Now I have to teach this? Oh no. Nope. Never gonna happen. I am going full-on “teenage girl wearing UGGs and sipping a pumpkin spice latte,” for I literally can’t even. You will just have some wet hands, kiddo. That may make some of your fries soggy, but I’m sure you will soldier on.
I saw this in the restroom at the movies and noticed that no other women were using it. There were also paper towels, and I watched lady after lady walk right past this thing, happy to go use a paper towel and kill a tree. There are limits to social awareness to environmental issues. This thing crosses that line even for the neurotypical people.
There are some things that even a side of fries can’t fix. This new hand dryer is one of them. I’d tell it to “blow me” if I wasn’t so deathly afraid of it.