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ASD girls and horrific mess in bedrooms

(27 Posts)
Glueandmess Tue 27-Oct-20 09:44:34

Does anyone else have this issue? It’s genuinely horrific.
One is 11 the other 18. Seems to start around age 10 and o can’t work out is this connected to asd and some kind of sensory thing ?
Personally id want to have things clean and in order but they are living in absolute pits.
I’ve tried from a young age to have a few jobs that need to be done each day
-make bed
-open curtains
-cups etc taken to dishwasher

Rarely gets done unless I nag.
There is stuff everywhere so I supplied laundry baskets - clothes still just all over the floor.
Lists and promoting aren’t helping

Make up- everywhere - smeared on stuff and a mess. Seems to be lots of mixing stuff up, wiping it where it shouldn’t be as a result carpets and furniture are ruined
Doing nails- I remind to put a towel out and it doesn’t happen and gets all over everything same with older dd and nail glue it’s all over her carpet which is ruined now
On many occasions I’ve had a whole day I’m each room and had got bags full of rubbish yet within a week it’s a mess again even with lots less stuff they seem to produce mess out of nowhere ? Make up, pens, paints etc

Is there anything I can do ? Is this part of asd is it sensory or disorganisation?
I’ve tried to help them deal with this independently with lists and help and prompting but it ends up causing tension
I would appreciate any advice thanks

OP’s posts: |
ThatGhastlyWoman Tue 27-Oct-20 09:49:59

Sounds like difficulty with executive functioning, though I'm sure lots of NT teenaged kids are just as bad?

BeBraveAndBeKind Tue 27-Oct-20 09:50:04

I have an 18 year old DS with ASD and his bedroom is the same (minus the makeup). He's just very disorganised and needs quite a bit of help with tidying.

There's a lot of good knowledge over on the SN Teens board so it might be worth getting this moved there.

Glueandmess Tue 27-Oct-20 09:57:25

I’m just at my wits end with it it’s becoming the only issue every day where I’m trying to prompt for the jobs each morning to get done and trying to give structure and guidance
Plus my time deep
Cleaning and decluttering so often
A lot of the time it’s all the make up /paint/ crafts mess plus mess they ‘create’ bits of tissue cotton wool cotton buds , paper, and things they’ve mixed up it’s just too much.
But I don’t want to treat it as teenage / nearly teenage messiness or laziness because they seem wide eyed and shocked when I’m saying to them it’s not acceptable as if they don’t realise or can’t help it and they do try to help but are so ineffective and easily distracted doing a task (unless it’s something they obsess over) and it’s just very stressful
Especially at this time of year with spiders etc tbh as I have a phobia

OP’s posts: |
GroundAlmonds Tue 27-Oct-20 10:00:00

Yes this is familiar. Though mine is now 20+ and still an issue, so I choose not to make it a battle ground. You have my sympathy. It used to eat up a lot of my time.

Glueandmess Tue 27-Oct-20 10:04:24

Maybe I need more structure for them but overseeing the jobs I have listed for them just really irritates them and especially as one has PDA that approach doesn’t help as cannot tell / ask her to do anything
I think today I just feel exhausted. Looking in each room again today and seeing the same mess is getting to me I think if they even just had a bed In the room they’d manifest mess somehow

OP’s posts: |
steppemum Tue 27-Oct-20 10:15:29

my youngest is not diagnosed, but we think is ASD, with defintie elements of PDA.

Her room is like this. (she's 13)

She likes it this way, and so I have tried to find a middle path.
Everything does have a place, and those places have changed to how she would like them, which helps her to organise, so her teddy pile used to be in hanger on the back of the door, but she wants to see them from her bed, so we made a pile in the corner of the room, which drives me nuts as it is basically on the floor, with the rest of the mess.

She doesn't deal with clothes at all, so I have encouraged her to have a heap on the chair, rather than spread all over the floor.
he big desk, designed for homework is constantly covered in half finished art, but she can't actually use it for art as then she would have to move the half finished stuff...

So my compromise, is, every Saturday she has to 'clear' the floor. Her definition of clear and mine are very different, but in essence, all dirty clothes in laundry, all other clothes moved to a heap, all plates and rubbish downstairs.

If enough floor is exposed, I hoover it!

It doesn't look tidy by any means, (pigsty would be better description) but it is enough for her to then function. If we don't do this, I start to get mad panic - I can't find.... during the week, and then I have to help her search.
I do insist they do their sheets, and I give them a pile of clean on a Saturday morning, and they know they won't get pizza at dinner time if sheets aren't done!

steppemum Tue 27-Oct-20 10:20:22

My older dd, who isn't at all on the spectrum, used to have a real issue with tidying, and when she was abotu 12, I realised that she actually somehow didn't know how to.

So we spent a lot of time with me teaching her.
For example, I would say, let's clean this bookshelf today. We need to x y and z. I would start her off, and then come back in half and hour, and nudge her along. Her room was also a pigsty, with so much stuff piled up everywhere, as she wouldn't throw anything away.

So we worked on - is it rubbish? (no, really, is it rubbish?)
Is it a treasure to keep? Then lets have a box for treasures.
Is it a treasure to disply? Let's have a decent sized shelf with all the little treasure displayed.
Is it something you want to finish? Lets have a box on your desk for stuff that needs finishing

and so on, so she learnt to sort and 'file' things, instead of having heaps.

She is now quite tidy.

InFlagranteDerelicto Tue 27-Oct-20 10:32:38

My DD is like this, she's 8 & currently going through assessment for suspected ASD. Her room is a pigsty & always has been. I've cleaned & tidied it numerous times, she is incapable of maintaining it. I'm disabled so I physically can't keep on top of it any more (it was ok when she just had a few books & toys, but not now). She gets very frustrated when she can't find something, happens quite frequently. I'm naturally a "neat freak" & know where all of my things are, literally everything has a place & I put everything away as soon as I've finished using it, so I find going in her room very stressful.

DH is similar to DD, so I'm not sure if it's laziness/learned behaviour she's picked up from him, or an innate trait they both have. So frustrating. He gets frustrated at constantly losing things too... I don't say anything any more because the answer is so damned obvious & he finds my attempts to help him find stuff unhelpful, so I don't.

Gilead Tue 27-Oct-20 10:37:56

It’s really hard to know where to start when you’re told to tidy your room. It can seem like an overwhelming challenge. I used to give dd a box and suggest she place everything paper in the box, then we’d go through it. Next day, all make up in the box, all clothes , another day. Took a week but no nagging, panic or rows. Then, like another poster we got pretty storage and learnt to use it.

TheySeeHerRowling Tue 27-Oct-20 10:39:37

Yes, dd1 is 17 and her room is routinely horrendous

We had a fruit fly infestation last month after she'd hidden a bowl full of rotting half-eaten nectarines in a cupboard

Since that incident, I'm checking her room every day for food (which she isn't supposed to take up there anyway) I hate having to do it, because she should have her privacy, but I'm not going through that again

I've done slow, gentle, patient 'how to' lessons, lists, bribes, threats, the lot

Nothing has changed

Like a pp, we do a weekly 'clear the floor for the hoover', then put the stuff from the floor away in appropriate places It stops it getting out of control too badly, and I've accepted that that'll have to do, much as it goes against the grain

steppemum Tue 27-Oct-20 10:43:34

just another thought.

My friends dd (aged 18) was finally diagnosed with dyspraxia, and she discovered by chance that for her that meant that she 'organised' herself by having all her stuff physically within sight.

She wouldn't put things inside cupboards or drawers, as then she forgot they were there, so all her things were organised on her floor, in a heap, much ot her mum's dispair.

They got rid of her wardrobe, and got some open shelving with tranparent boxes on. Then also put clear labels on the boxes.

Knickers and sock etc, went in a box
Art supplies went on the open shelves so she cuold see it.

It was transformative for her.

Also, friends dh with ASD, has loads and loads of crap stuff. He will not throw anything away, books, dvds, starwars collectibles etc. he says that he feels safe with it all round him. There is something that grounds him in the physical items. He would happily sit in the middle of a heap of them, it makes him feels secure.
they have compromised with good shelving units, and he has a den full to the brim with his stuff.

But I thought the emotional connection to his things was interesting. My dd won't throw anything away, even toys she has long grown out of.

TheySeeHerRowling Tue 27-Oct-20 10:48:16

Steppemum, that is really interesting - dd1 is definitely a hoarder, when we go through her stuff and lots of it is obvious broken rubbish she is v reluctant to get rid of any of it

We'll have a chat and see what she thinks about transparent boxes and shelving

Glueandmess Tue 27-Oct-20 10:54:30

Yes mine are both definitely hoarders too I am forever de cluttering

OP’s posts: |
JeffVaderneedsatray Tue 27-Oct-20 11:04:45

Yup. DD is 13. DX of ASC with PDA traits and comorbid ADHD
Her room is a disaster zone. She is a hoarder too which really doesn't help. I have tried blitzing, ignoring, lists of jobs etc etc.

I think with DD it is a combination of being overwhlemed by it all, a need of security with all her precious things and a lack of executive functioning skills.

Doesn't help that I am very similar - I, despite being in my 50s and coming from a home where tidiness was a MUST, am frequently overwhelmed by the process of keeping a house under control. It also doesn't help that I was really ill at Christmas and have been left with post viral fatigue so after a day at work I am not pysically capable of the routines I had in place to keep evrything functioning. My bathrooms and litchen are clean but I struggle with the rest. If we are all fed and have clean clothes I count that as a win!

We are just gearing up for a mammoth tidying session tomorrow - DH is off work and he is ace at lists and processes and the whole first this job then that job etc.

vdbfamily Tue 27-Oct-20 11:08:01

I have this with an undiagnosed but soon to see CAHMS DD aged 17. Her room is disgusting. We are actually going to Ikea today for a dark coloured rug to cover all the make up stains on and hair dye what was a lovely new carpet. The only thing that spurs her to tody is if a friend comes to stay so even that has been lost in Covid times. The weird thing is she is a bit OTT re cleanliness in rest of house and shouts if she sees me with shoes on indoors, or putting dog bowl on table to put food in, or if the dishcloth is not washed daily etc. Every time I just have to remind her of the state of her bedroom.

BlankTimes Tue 27-Oct-20 13:47:06

Every time I just have to remind her of the state of her bedroom

As has been said upthread by Steppenmum it could well be she needs to see everything so she knows where it is.

You're judging her from an NT perspective, try and see it from hers. It's the only way to make progress IME.

Pleasehelphavetwins Wed 28-Oct-20 17:19:08

Hi I feel for you, I have 19yr old twins one ASD and one ADD but think also ASD. Rooms absolutely shocking dirty plates on clothes on dirty plates, rubbish mould on drinks etc. Ive tried everything and then left them to it as so stressful to even get in their rooms. Now we have flies. Really stuck with what to do, talking incentives, bribing leaving them threatening them with moving out...nothing works. Just want to cry. Any ideas- PA won't come as they don't engage. Now I just get sworn at

RedPomPom Mon 02-Nov-20 18:18:02

@Glueandmess only just seen this thread.

My DD has glass display cupboards. It was a game changer! She can see everything and there is no dusting. They are from IKEA and they lock so anything that she does not want going up the hoover or lost goes in them.

Her cuddlies were taking over the bed so 3/4 of them are now in a hammock high up in the corner opposite her bed so that she can see them. Keeps the floor clear.

Also labels on clear storage boxes for art supplies etc.

DD likes a routine so I gave her one thing at a time to manage then added to it once it became automatic. So far she puts dirty cloths in laundry and brings plates downstairs. As far as actual cleaning goes she stills needs help with that.

ryanshetlandd Mon 09-Nov-20 20:16:58

I have autism and generally, things get messy slowly things get clean quickly my bedroom is a place I feel safe when it changes suddenly such as being cleaned it stresses me out a lot id recommend doing what my mum did make their room their space for them to get messy just say you won't pay for expensive rugs or new carpet etc once every 3-month range a day for cleaning the only nag and ask them to do above the bare minimum on that day and offer to help and say you have to keep any communal space clean and if they want to have friends round they have to clean their room too this helped my mental health a lot

RedPomPom Mon 09-Nov-20 21:00:22

@ryanshetlandd your perspective was useful to me, thank you. Your mum sounds fab.

Iolana Mon 09-Nov-20 23:20:55

I'm so glad to find this thread. My daughter, 15, has ASD & ADHD and her room is an absolute tip. She has a collection of Monster drink cans which she refuses to throw away because she loves the way they look. DH goes spare as DD routinely has about a third of our bowls and glasses and cutlery in her room. Her bed is broken but she won't let us fix it, so she sleeps at a slant.

ryanshetlandd Tue 10-Nov-20 08:42:47

@RedPomPom im glad and she is, but you sound similar to her she is just a very hardworking women fighting for her children rights

ryanshetlandd Tue 10-Nov-20 09:00:40

@lolana my sister is similar so my mum marked a set of plate and cutlery and glasses that only she can use so the other stuff doesn't go missing and she has to clean them to get more food on her plate, she may not like change as I mentioned previously things get messy slower the things get clean and I don't like sudden change maybe ask her why she doesn't want her bed fixed maybe she just doesn't want the stress she feels when she gets told off for her room. the thing is parenting adive and parent book are all aimed at neurotypical children which your child is not you have to search between the lines and dig deeper then the surface as we are often scared of coming off weird if we have an emoitinal connection to something are peers or siblings do not. and as for the monster cans my mum bought a shelf for them and my sister could keep as many as she liked as long as they were on the shelf, caffeine can also be self-medication for ADHD maybe just a way of coping.

Iolana Tue 10-Nov-20 23:24:00

@ryanshetlandd thank you, you have some great advice there. I'm definitely going to try out the monster can shelf idea.

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