Challenge, Revisited

Last fall, I wrote about Bennett and his sensory issues. If you haven’t read it and you have kids with sensory issues or are just interested in occupational therapy-type things, you might want to read that old post, which could have alternately been titled: “How I Nearly Lost My Mind, The Fall 2008 Edition.”

I like to follow up on things like this 1) for the sake of record-keeping and family history and 2) in case any of you out there are dealing with similar problems. In this case, I’m happy to report that we’ve made major progress over the course of the last year, and we’ve learned a lot about what makes Bennett tick. And, what makes him ticked off.

He’s very decisive about what he likes and what he doesn’t like as far as clothes are concerned. There are things that still make him crazy: tags have been cut out of virtually everything he owns, so in the next year or so if you see Jack Henry and his hand-me-down clothes look ridiculously large or small, it’s because I have no idea what size anything is anymore. Bennett doesn’t really like to be able to feel the adjustable waist things against his skin, so he knows to make sure they’re tucked in and laying as flat as possible. He doesn’t like collars. Socks (and to a slightly lesser extent, shoes) are still our major source of contention; he wants them to be thin, not any higher than his ankle, and for the seam to be as small as possible. We totally lucked out with some Old Navy ones that I bought him late last winter, but he was in the biggest size they have and has worn through most of them, anyway. I know that seamless ones exist, so I may have to look into those.

But, all of that to say: getting dressed in the morning is no longer a big deal for him. He wears nearly every long-sleeved shirt in his drawer without complaint. Jeans or cargo pants are his favorite; he won’t wear athletic pants (the light touch against his skin is what causes the sensory problems for him). He can wear a collared shirt to church on Sundays and while he doesn’t like it at first, in a couple of minutes he’s forgotten all about it, and it’s not like he runs in the door to change when we get home. Overall, this feels much more like what typical kids with strong preferences are like than a true sensory integration problem.

As it started to get cooler this fall, and there were days that jeans, which he hadn’t worn in months, were a better option than shorts, I got really nervous. He totally surprised me by deciding to wear jeans himself on a day that was a little cooler, and though there were plenty of days after that that were warm enough for shorts, he chose to stay in jeans everyday. He’ll grab a sweatshirt in the morning when he goes outside with Luke to wait for the bus, because he knows it’s cold enough for one, even though it means layers, which he isn’t a fan of. I also have to remember that he’s just way more hot-blooded than most people, and doesn’t need the layers that I would if I were going outside…I’ve explained this to his teachers, as well, so that they don’t think I’m a) crazy or b) one of those moms who just lets their kids do whatever they want.

I’m no longer afraid of winter-coat weather (well, I am, but for a myriad of other reasons). Bennett brings his coat or vest or sweatshirt along in the van with us and puts it on when we get where we’re going. No big deal! Honestly, I don’t like to wear a coat in the car, either, and I can vividly remember having issues with seams in my clothing as a kid, so I’m sure he gets some of this from me. I’m willing to take more than 50% of the genetic blame for this one πŸ˜‰

I’ll close with this: photographic evidence of how far we’ve come. Last year, he wanted to be Buzz Lightyear for Halloween, but there was no way he was going to be able to wear the costume, so he was Sheriff Woody instead because it didn’t involve a real costume. This was taken a couple of weeks ago when he and Luke were just playing in some old costumes…Luke had on his Superman one, and Bennett was finally able to put on the Buzz one.

look at that grin!

look at that grin!

I was smiling, too.

14 responses to “Challenge, Revisited

  1. The picture is so cute! Interesting post… it’s going to be one of those things that is “Just Bennett” it’s just the way he is πŸ™‚

  2. That is great progress! I like how you’ve given him the freedom to make some choices so that he has control over the sensory situation to a greater extent. πŸ™‚

  3. Wow….that’s awesome! It helps me to see that these things just take time and patience.

    Thank you for sharing this Nicole!


  4. What wonderful progress from one year ago to today! Aren’t you glad you have a record of it! Thanks for sharing this.

  5. you have done a great job with Bennett. i’m sure it can be overwhelming dealing with these sorts of issues at times, but he seems to be doing so much better than just a year ago!

  6. So great! Way to go big guy.

    Way to go mom!

  7. Yes, this is huge. I can remember about a year ago when you guys were here and you were in the middle of the “brushing” therapy. I hope it only continues to get better!

  8. Jill(thebaglady)

    Congrats on your progress! We have some similar issues here… still haven’t found the perfect socks for 2 out of 3 kids. (Old Navy did satify Lucas this year – Waa Hoo! Thanks for the tip!!)

  9. So wonderful!!! and LOVE Buz! Mitchell was Buz for Halloween back in the day. I think he wore that costume much of that year, actually.

  10. I wanted to tell you that I too have a problem with socks or anything where the seam does not lay just right. I have found that some socks look the same on both the inside and the outside and if you wear them wrong side out the seam is not nearly as bumpy. It will lay more flat on your foot. This works for me. Just thought I would give you another idea. Good Luck and it sounds like he has come along way.

  11. It about made me cry when I saw the picture! I was there last year when you were trying to come up with an alternative to the Buzz costume, which was clearly not in the realm of possibility. V-e-r-y carefully, you eased him into the idea of the Woody get-up and into trying to wear at least enough of it to look costumey! He tried it and was OK with it; then we were both nervous about whether he’d still be OK w/ it for his school party/parade, and he was! I felt so sorry for you, knowing it was a daily struggle at the time.

    What a difference the desensitivity strategies made, and I know you appreciate “normal” clothing finickiness more than other parents! Can’t wait to see all 3 kids!

  12. Yay Bennett! What a cute picture! Okay. . . stupid question. . . but can this continues to get better with time? Or are people with sensory issues always annoyed, to some extent?

    • My guess is that people with mild sensory issues, like Bennett, get over what causes them problems OR just learn how to deal with it better. People with severe sensory issues probably continue to deal with it for their whole lives.

  13. That’s awesome! Way to go, Bennett and mom!

    Chris, my younger one, has sensory issues – all mild but he hit 6 of the 7 categories you mentioned in your earlier post when we first went to the OT. Cheerios in milk made him throw up until he was almost 5 – really any plate of food with more than 2 textures (even separate from one another) made for an ugly mealtime. He also was sensitive to touch, but it wasn’t his clothes so much as everyone else around him who wasn’t in his immediate family. Sounds were also a huge problem. We had a lot of “why is your child hitting other children?” and “why does he cover his ears and crouch on the floor in music class?” conferences at pre-school before we figured out what was wrong. When the school refused to accept the diagnosis from his OT, we just kept him home.

    Now he’s almost 7 and SO MUCH BETTER, even though he hasn’t been to the OT in a long time. When he’s really tired or sick some of his SPD issues will come on strong, but otherwise he does pretty well.

    Keep hanging in there!

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