I wanted to kind of get back on track with the blog today. Since I have to be up cause Lizze had to take Emmett to the doctors I figured now as good a time as any. In the video included in the post you will see Lizze simply trying to get Emmett dressed in order to leave for the doctors. This actually went on for a few minutes before I started recording it. Now normally I would have jumped right in (or Lizze would have jumped in to help me if it were the other way around) to help her. However, we wanted you all to see just one of the “smaller” struggles we face with Emmett John.
This is very typical of trying to get him dressed. As you can see he doesn’t enjoy this process. We have tried many ways to ease this but haven’t found anything that actually works…or even works more then once. It’s heartbreaking to have to go through this every time we try to get him dressed. He literally gets into a panic but what choice do we have. So can see it in his eyes. Despite what some may say, he’s not just giving us a hard time. This is clearly sensory related and not him just being a “brat”. This is one of the reasons you always see him in his diaper. That and we just don’t have the energy anymore to battle over and over again..unless we absolutely have to. We also don’t want to but him through anymore then we have to right now. Our goal is to desensitize him over time.
Many parents out there face this type of challenge every single day as well. I just wanted to shine the spot light on this particular issue. Most people can just get their kids dressed without much problem. However, their are also many, like my family, that don’t have that luxury… Hopefully this will give some further insight into the daily struggles facing families coping with Autism.
Have you tried visuals with him? A 'first,then' sequence might work to help him understand why he has to put clothes on. Maybe 'first clothes, then car' or something along those lines…a sensory distraction might help too, maybe something that vibrates or lights up?
Thank you ladies. Most people look at this and just say he's giving us a hard time. We do the deep pressure and the brushing. Although probably not as much as we should. We tried the slippers and we remove all the tags as well. We have seamless socks for Gavin and he loves them. They are pretty expensive. For now we flip his socks inside out and that seems to help. We are still waiting on OT to kick in. I need to call back on Monday but the speech therapist has been working on some sensory things as well and it's helping. Now that he has his official diagnosis we need to seek out some funding to help in providing some of these sensory relief things at home.
Thank you both very much for your input. Very good advice…
I have to agree with Julie, deep pressure and maybe brushing might help him. Also, with our son we found only shirts and pants that were either jersey cotton or sweats that didn't have a tag and that made things a bit easier. Also, we found a pair of slippers with hard soles and he wore those for about 6 months.
Hi Rob, from what you've described and the footage I've seen, Emmett is a perfect candidate for the Wilbarger Deep Pressure Protocol for sensory defensiveness. I think it would make a huge difference to his quality of life so it's definitely worth asking his OT about. In the meantime giving him a deep firm massage on his back, arms and legs may help him. Do this a few times a day, every couple of hours if you can manage it. Give him bear hugs, roll him up tightly in blankets, squash him under pillows etc. As often as possible but particularly before getting dressed. Email me if you want more info.