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evilreligion
Snowy Owl
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02 Nov 2015, 6:15 am

Ok so my son is 5 1/2 and generally a happy little boy

We have not really had any sensory issues to date so what I describe below is somewhat confusing for us.

Recently he has been refusing to wear certain types of cloths. These are items he has worn many time before with no problem but he suddenly decides that he no longer wishes to wear them. It started with his school jumpers and then progressed to pretty much anything long sleeved except pajamas. Then it has moved to jeans, which refuses to wear and now has progressed to most other types of trousers except pajama bottoms and his school trousers for some reason.

So he has been going to school in a white tee shirt his normal school uniform trousers and then a coat and body warmer directly on top which he is fine with. The school is a special school so they do not enforce the school uniform that much which is good.

This morning though we had a massive melt down before school and he refused to wear the white tee shirt.

Now he wears tee shirts all the time, he has worn the exact same tee shirt many many times in the past.

Everything would point to a sensory problem but my instincts tell me its something else. I think it may be a control thing.

The reason for thinking that it might not be just sensory stuff is that I tricked him the other day into wearing jeans. We played a game acting out the Julia Donaldson book the Smartest Giant in Town. He's really into the book at the moment and so we were acting out buying the giants smart new cloths and he put on his "smart new jeans" without any issue and worn them for the rest of the day. The day before that he had refused point blank to wear the very same jeans and the day after, even with me trying to employ skuldugery, he refused again.

So as winter is coming this is becoming more of a problem. We have been on many trips out with him wearing effectivly pajamas and a body warmer but this is not going to be feasible as we get into winter proper.


I have tried asking him but he never offers an explanation as to why. He just says he does not want to. I don't think he can express himself as to why.

Also with the melt down before school this morning I think we can rule out it being about going to school. He absolutely loves school and last year when we did a split placement between main stream and special he was more than capable of telling us in no uncertain terms about how much he hated main stream. This years since going full time special school he practically runs out the house to school taxi in the morning!

So good people of the intereweb any ideas? Any suggestions before winter makes us house bound?



Waterfalls
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02 Nov 2015, 6:56 am

Kids take control when they are anxious. Mine do anyway. Has something changed?

Also, sensory issues get worse when you're stressed.

If there is a way to make this lighter so it isn't a power struggle, maybe that would help? maybe about what you wear as he is planning getting dressed?

And definitely make sure if there are any directions from school about wearing the uniform he might have misinterpreted or gotten stressed by, especially as it's the beginning of the year. My kids meltdowns almost always have involved what they perceive as contradictory instructions with no one being aware of the contradiction but them, so thinking about focus and literal meanings and rewards for what you want has been where I go with this issue.



evilreligion
Snowy Owl
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02 Nov 2015, 8:01 am

Waterfalls wrote:
Kids take control when they are anxious. Mine do anyway. Has something changed?

It has been half term last week. So maybe the disruption to the normal school routine is all there is to it. But this has been going on for longer than last week.


Quote:
Also, sensory issues get worse when you're stressed.

Ok that makes sense.
Maybe we are dealing with a minor sensory issue that flares up to a major sensory issue in time of stress.

Quote:
If there is a way to make this lighter so it isn't a power struggle, maybe that would help? maybe about what you wear as he is planning getting dressed?

This idea is certainly worth exploring. When we played the Smartest Giant in Town game he wore the cloths perfectly happily because it was part of the game to put them on. He was distracted and there was no conflict indeed he was egging me on to get him dressed! Sadly I have been unable to replicate this game with any scucess since!! ! I knew I should not have given myself a smug pat on the back after my initial success, I jinxed it! the gods of autism don't like a smart arse!! !

Quote:
And definitely make sure if there are any directions from school about wearing the uniform he might have misinterpreted or gotten stressed by, especially as it's the beginning of the year. My kids meltdowns almost always have involved what they perceive as contradictory instructions with no one being aware of the contradiction but them, so thinking about focus and literal meanings and rewards for what you want has been where I go with this issue.

hmmm I shall ponder this.
Thank you.



zette
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02 Nov 2015, 8:45 am

Quote:
I have tried asking him but he never offers an explanation as to why. He just says he does not want to. I don't think he can express himself as to why.


On two recent Ross Greene podcasts (he's the author of The Explosive Child and the original person behind the Collaborative Problem Solving approach) he described a technique that might be worth a try. Before talking to your son about it, you come up with a list of possible reasons he might refuse to wear the shirt, for instance
1. The shirt is itchy
2. It's against the school rules
3. I don't like how it feels when it comes out of the laundry
4. Kids make fun of me when I wear it
5. I don't like the color
6. Something else bothers me
etc.

Then when you talk to your son, you ask him to hold up fingers to rate how much it is part of the reason he won't wear the shirt:
1 not at all
2 a little bit
3 medium
4 mostly
5 very much

Here are the podcasts:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dr-ross-gr ... ns-working
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dr-ross-gr ... e-drilling

Here's his website with free videos about the approach:
http://www.livesinthebalance.org/walking-tour-parents



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02 Nov 2015, 1:11 pm

When I was a child, I went through a phase like that with socks. When I put them on, the seam near the toes had to not be itchy. Also, I had to be able to move my big toe freely and rub it against the next toe without the sock coming between them or any sweaty feeling. (Yes, I know that sounds nuts). My mom could not figure out what the heck was going on, and I couldn't really articulate it except to say that the socks were uncomfortable. What confused her even more was that the same pair of socks would feel acceptable one day and unacceptable the next. Also, sometimes a good pair of socks would no longer feel good when I put my shoes on, and I'd have to go back and change them.
Sooo that's my long-winded way of saying that sensory issues can come and go and be very bizarre and seem nonsensical sometimes.



evilreligion
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02 Nov 2015, 2:24 pm

The sock thing you describe is spookily familiar. My son has more or less the exact issue with socks and has done for a long time. We have worked out how he likes his socks an woe betide us if we get his socks on wrong!

Very interesting that the sensory stuff is variable day to day. I kind if thought it would be more consistent. But if it varies that much with stress levels the. I guess the key is not so much releaving the sensory issues but lessening the stress. Now the issue is working out what's bugging him!! ! Easier said than done.



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02 Nov 2015, 2:42 pm

evilreligion wrote:
Waterfalls wrote:
Kids take control when they are anxious. Mine do anyway. Has something changed?

It has been half term last week. So maybe the disruption to the normal school routine is all there is to it. But this has been going on for longer than last week.


Sometimes refusals aren't due to sensory issues, but to rigidity issues - which are just as difficult for the kid in question. I don't like framing rigidity as "control" because that makes it seem like the child is trying to manipulate someone or "get his way" as opposed to trying to manage severe disorientation.

Was there another disruption to routine (maybe within the school - maybe ask the teachers) that preceded the half-term? Maybe a week of testing?

Applying this to clothing is kind of a stretch, but I think there is some detective work to do on your part.

BTW, I'm a big fan of Ross Green, but the major issue I have with that program is that my son usually can't articulate what is happening to him. The principles are sound, but sometimes you have to do trial-and-error or ask other people (teachers, peers) if asking directly doesn't get you anywhere.



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02 Nov 2015, 8:44 pm

YippySkippy wrote:
When I was a child, I went through a phase like that with socks. When I put them on, the seam near the toes had to not be itchy. Also, I had to be able to move my big toe freely and rub it against the next toe without the sock coming between them or any sweaty feeling. (Yes, I know that sounds nuts). My mom could not figure out what the heck was going on, and I couldn't really articulate it except to say that the socks were uncomfortable. What confused her even more was that the same pair of socks would feel acceptable one day and unacceptable the next. Also, sometimes a good pair of socks would no longer feel good when I put my shoes on, and I'd have to go back and change them.
Sooo that's my long-winded way of saying that sensory issues can come and go and be very bizarre and seem nonsensical sometimes.


OMG. That sounds like my daughter...tho I also have the need to move my big toe freely.

My daughter is a restrictive eater. She will go a long time eating the same limited food selection. Then, all of a sudden, the thing that she wanted to eat all the time, she will not touch. Now that she is older, she can tell me what is happening. Often it is that something unusual or unexpected happened, either with the food, or while eating the food, and it makes her unable to eat it anymore. Like a tiny piece of shell in her beloved scrambled eggs and it will be a lllllooooonnnngggg time before she can eat scrambled eggs again. Or if she heard a gross story while eating her favorite food, she can't eat the food anymore.

I don't know if something similar can happen with clothes or not.

My son stopped wearing jeans to school when he was almost unable to get them unfastened in time to urinate when he was very little. He is 14 now, and will wear them at home, but he still won't wear jeans to school.

I guess the common thread to these two examples is the strong desire to avoid something that may or may not happen, but feels very real, nonetheless. is it possible he has come to associate the clothes with something negative?


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Waterfalls
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03 Nov 2015, 6:52 pm

Sometimes a child does not have the ability to solve a problem and they make us aware they need help with it. That's what I meant about kids taking control. I didn't mean manipulate, I meant fall apart to a degree or make a demand for something that they really need.

Maybe control is the wrong word.



momsparky
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04 Nov 2015, 8:07 am

Yes, I agree with that - I usually associate control with manipulation when used in this context; thanks for the clarification.



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25 Nov 2015, 7:01 am

evilreligion wrote:
Very interesting that the sensory stuff is variable day to day. I kind if thought it would be more consistent. But if it varies that much with stress levels the. I guess the key is not so much releaving the sensory issues but lessening the stress. Now the issue is working out what's bugging him!! ! Easier said than done.


I can attest to sensory issues varying by stress. I have auditory hypersensitivity, and whenever I'm stressed out or overloaded, my hearing amplifies until I can hear a cell phone on at one bar in the next room over. (And it'll bug me, because things at the very edge of my hearing ability always bug me.)

I don't have as much variability with clothing, but everyone's unique.