#Autism and #SPD: Our struggle with clothes

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Emmett is going to be 5 years old in the next few months and we are still struggling to keep him clothed. It’s one of those things that sorta make him who he is.
He came home from my parents house yesterday and before I even saw him, I saw signs that he had been through here.

It’s like the moment he arrived home he ran right up to the bathroom and took is clothes off.

For the most part, he will keep his clothes on when he’s at his grandparents house but there are still times when we go to pick him up and he’s running around in his underpants.  🙂

While Emmett is a child with Autism, he’s also dealing with Sensory Processing Dysfunction as well.

Basically, clothes hurt.

One of the biggest challenges for Emmett is wearing shoes and socks.  We can almost never accomplish that feat without a spending a great deal of time and energy.  We have to put on and take off, both his shoes and his socks, countless times tonight them just right.
Even still, he simply tolerates them being on. That’s still a good thing though.

We’ve made some definite strides forward but we’ve also had some setbacks as well. Thankfully, he almost always keeps his underpants on.

That may sound like a funny thing to be thankful for considering……but I have heard from other parents that their child prefers to streak around in his or her naked nethers.

We will run across that on occasion but not too often.

When Emmett was still in occupational therapy, he was doing better.

I would say that 95% of his time is spent in his underpants. If we had to go somewhere, he would get dressed, and he loves to wear character clothing from popgear. Shoes and socks are once again a problem..

For now, I’m really proud of how far he’s come over the past few years.

I know it’s a process and will have its ups and downs along the way.  We have the summer to help him tolerate clothes son that he can survive the school day.


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Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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I’ve noticed that in your photos it seems like Emmett is never wearing a shirt.


I feel your pain Rob! My son who we are not sure is on the spectrum and not getting a lot of help from the special ed preschool with, prefers underwear as well. He is at school 4 days a week for 2 1/2 hours. Whatever he has he is high functioning. The school thinks I am a nut job or overreacting. I know he is not “normal”. He goes to special ed for an articulation disorder. He will start kinder in the fall as well. Luckily kinder here is only 3 hours. He doesn’t like shoes and socks however he has just been programmed to wear them in public. When we go to close friends and families houses we don’t push shoes. He does have to stay dressed when out in public and friends and families houses. It can sometimes be a challenge. The clothes do not seem to bother him like he is on fire or uncomfortable, it is almost like he just prefers to be in his undies. I know that walmart has pants for boys with an elastic waist up to size 16 sometimes so we buy those when we find them. Lately he has been getting off the bus with shoes in hand and it is getting HOT here in AZ so I worry about him burning his feet. The kid will also walk through walks without it bothering his feet as well. It baffles me how shoes can bother him but he can walk on rocks. OH the life we live!


JenniferWhynott wow.  That’s a story I can relate to.  You bring up a good point and something that I have wondered about myself.  Why is it that shoes hurt or are bothersome but stopping in rocks barefoot isn’t?


lostandtired JenniferWhynott They’re different kinds of touch processing. Shoes and socks stimulate light touch receptors, stepping on rocks is more likely to be deep pressure receptors – thus, the child reacts in different ways. If he’s also got decreased pain sensation, I’d worry about him burning his feet too. I’ve had to do things like getting kids to wear a coat if it’s under a certain temperature, or if it’s snowing. They don’t feel the cold but they can still get frost bite!