If you think that putting on his shoes is easy, think again…

If you think that putting on his shoes is easy, think again…

I wanted to give another example of a seemingly simple task that has been rendered nearly impossible by Autism related issues.  In the picture below, you can see Emmett wearing his shoes and socks.

You may be thinking, why did he take a picture of Emmett’s shoes?

The reason is simple.  He’s actually wearing them.

You see, wearing shoes is not something that comes easy for Emmett.  He can’t stand the way they feel on his feet.  The same goes for socks as well.  Actually, to be honest, on the most basic level, he can’t stand clothes period.

While many parents can get up in the morning and think nothing of getting their child dressed and ready for school, I’m not one of those parents.


Because Emmett struggles with sensory input, the sensation of clothes on his skin is something that is often described as itchy or painful. Those are Emmett’s words, not mine.

The seemingly simple or mundane act of putting his shoes on is anything but.

I may have to put his shoes on him and take them back off, before putting them on once again and then having to remove them again.  This process can repeat countless times until they feel right.

Truthfully, there have been times where we’ve had to keep him home from school because he was so distraught over how his clothes felt that he was literally vomiting.

We have no problem trying to desensitize him to these clothing challenges but we will only push so far and when he’s that upset, we immediately stop.  It’s simply not worth putting him through that.

Perhaps that not the right thing to do but I don’t have the heart to do that to him.

Ironically, there are times that his shoes and socks can go on without a single problem.  There doesn’t appear on the surface, to be any rhyme or reason to these immediately successful attempts.

Over the years,  we have learned that his shoes and socks have to tight and I mean almost cutting off his circulation tight.

What have you experienced with your child? Does any of this sound familiar to you? Please share your story below in the comments and help others to better understand.

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JenniferWhynott I feel a little like your son!  One of my favourite things about wearing sandals or flip-flops is that in class, I can quietly slip my shoes off my feet, and that’s the first thing I do when I get to my desk.  I sometimes also wander around the classroom barefoot, if the teacher isn’t one who will notice or care.


i am glad to see that he has his shoes on. Examples of my NT kids and clothes problems: tags on shirts of course, would rather not ride a bike at all if he had to wear a helmet, the crotch of the pants bothered him so we had to my Express (expensive) pants so the crotch would be right, had to have Dri Fit socks because all the others had problems, then all the under wear changes from breifs, to boxers, to i think they are boxer briefs, refuses to come hair with comb because it is not “natural” insteads comes his hair with his fingers, it was really a major issue not to be able to wear a baseball hat at all times (including church) would rather stay in under wear only. had to wear j crew tee shirts because they were the softest and hanes or whatever bothered him so much that he used his on money, it wasnt the “brand name” he needed it was the feel of the shirt. I cant imagine what you go thru

Lost and Tired

redthread16 thanks.  🙂

Lost and Tired

JenniferWhynott rememberyourdreams96 it’s a small world isn’t it?


I have to wear my socks inside out, can’t stand the seam at the toe. Vans makes some great socks that are tight and very soft. I had to pass on buying some shoes today because the cushioning on Life Stride dress shoes stops a little short of the end of the foot,awful. Emmett, I feel ya, buddy.


My son who may be on the spectrum or just have sensory issues just doesn’t care for clothes. He once walked around his special needs preschool field trip to an unpaved dirt/rock farm. He walked almost a mile in no shoes in the dirt/rocks, no socks either. Even after I asked for evaluation they still say he measures within normal limits. When he climbs in the car the first thing off is his socks and shoes. Then when he walks in the door off come the pants. We have been able to draw the line with keeping a shirt and undies on. He will be 6 in December, the only boy of 4 children and the youngest. There are times when he tells me his shoes and socks hurt and we adjust them as needed. He also hates pants that button and prefers an elastic waist. Oh the joys. He is still easier than my daughter on the spectrum who would throw massive fits when it was time to get ready for preschool. It wasn’t a clothes thing she just hated school but didn’t know how to articulate it. She still doesn’t care for school at 11 yrs old. but at least she will get up and dress herself most days


Is there a school dress code?  I personally hate wearing socks and shoes, but especially socks.  I found sandals and flip-flops easier to handle.  Perhaps finding a different kind of shoe might be helpful?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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