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 😉
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.
I was smiling, too.