Teaching a toddler how to blow their nose isn’t an easy feat. For neurodivergent children with autism or down syndrome, teaching how to blow a nose can become much more complicated. Children with autism, for instance, can struggle with the ability to imitate others. When these same children are nonverbal, the task becomes even more challenging.
Every parent will want to teach their children how to blow their nose to keep them breathing easier and helping them sleep at night. But this task isn’t as simple as it sounds.
In this blog, we explore some of the respiratory issues that children with down syndrome and autism are more disposed to, and solutions that parents and specialists have devised to help them cope with a stuffy nose.
Are Children with Chromosomal Conditions and Autism Prone to Respiratory Issues?
While it has been shown that children with autism are around twice as likely to suffer from food allergies, there is still debate as to respiratory allergies are also more common. A 2018 study suggests that this may be the case, although further research is still needed.
Children and adults with down syndrome generally find it more difficult to breathe. A narrowed nasopharynx (the part of the throat behind the nose) and a smaller trachea can lead to recurrent pneumonia. Respiratory illness accounts for the majority of hospitalizations for children under the age of three with down syndrome.
Regardless of the prevalence of respiratory illnesses and conditions like autism and down syndrome, all children experience symptoms like stuffy noses and congestion. Like any child, you need to ensure that these issues are resolved to keep them happy and healthy. The feeling of a stuffy nose is uncomfortable no matter what age you are – when this can’t be communicated, children become frustrated and unable to breathe.
Teaching Children with Down Syndrome and Autism How to Blow their Nose
While it may not seem so for us adults, blowing a nose is a fairly difficult skill to teach. When a nose is covered, children are unable to see the mechanism behind which mucus is cleared from our sinuses. Compounded with learning difficulties, this lesson becomes even more challenging.
One method that specialists have begun employing to teach how to do this is by not using a tissue at all. This is best done when children’s noses are not congested.
Parents or specialists will grab a lightweight substance, like a cotton ball or a feather, and demonstrate blowing air out of their noses. As they exhale, they can move these objects across a surface – gradually, these lighter objects can be replaced with heavier ones like pencils to demonstrate the force needed to clear one’s sinuses. Finally, they can be taught to blow into a tissue, and throw that tissue away.
Parents don’t often think to teach their child how to blow their nose when they aren’t sick. The best time to do this is once their initial symptoms have subsided. This can help create an association that can help resolve these issues moving forward.
Dr. Rose’s Baby: A No-Fuss Solution for Clearing Sinuses
Most parents begin teaching children how to blow their noses around the age of 3, and the skill is typically mastered by the age of 5. For neurodivergent children, this timeline may be extended.
Thankfully, nasal aspirators can be used to clear sinuses regardless of age.
Like any teenager his age, Thomas loves baseball. He also has Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome – a chromosomal condition that makes him chronically congested and immunocompromised. It isn’t fun when Thomas’ nose isn’t clear – from a young age, he had problems breathing through his nose, keeping him from doing the things teenage boys love.
Thomas’ family decided to try out a new kind of nasal aspirator to help clear his sinuses: Dr. Rose’s Baby. With a simple, ergonomic design two-way smart valve at the end, it doesn’t have to be reinserted every time mucus is removed from the nose. It is translucent to let you know that it is working, and is dishwasher safe, allowing for multiple uses without having to replace it after an illness.
For Thomas, Dr. Rose’s Baby was just what he needed to get outside and have fun. “The aspirator worked really well. Thomas did not mind at all having his nose cleaned. He said that he could definitely breath better afterwards. Our family will absolutely recommend this product to all his friends and family.”
Dr. Reyna Trevino, a mom, physician, and inventor of Dr. Rose’s Baby, works with children across the spectrum, and understands that every child is happier when they can breathe easy. Teaching a child with autism, down syndrome, or other chromosomal conditions how to blow their nose is one option in relieving their symptoms. Find out more about how Dr. Rose’s Baby is keeping babies healthy, or order the nasal aspirator today.
Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussions about health and medical issues and is provided as an entertainment and informational resource only. It is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. This blog is opinion based and these opinions do not reflect the ideas, ideologies, or points of view of any potentially affiliated organization. The information on this blog may be revised and/or otherwise managed.