MISSING PANTS – Does your child with #Autism struggle with this?

Does this happen in your Autism or Special Needs family?

This happened again today as we were getting the boys ready for school.  It’s really sad and at the same time, really frustrating as well.

Lizze and I labeled Gavin’s drawers, so he knows where to find his clothes.  For example, his top drawer is labeled PJ’s/Socks/Underwear. His rest of his drawers are labeled Shirts/Pants/School Clothes etc.


This system has helped Gavin to organize his clothes.

However, a very consistent problem we have noticed with this setup is when an item of clothing makes it into the wrong drawer, that item transforms into whatever the drawer label says it should be. 

For example.  If Gavin accidently were to put his school pants in his PJ’s/Socks/Underwear drawer, they are no longer school pants.

If we send him to his room to get a pair of school pants and there aren’t any school pants in his School Clothes drawer, he will come back empty handed.  We may know that there are school pants up there, so we send him back to look again.

Again he’ll come back empty handed. 

We’ll tell him to check all of his drawers because we know they’re up there. 

He will once again come back without his school pants. 

Finally, out of frustration, one of us will go with him to located the elusive item of clothing.  After looking through his dresser, we will find his school pant in his PJ’s/Socks/Underwear drawer.

It was quite obvious that they were there and yet he overlooked them. 

When we ask him why he didn’t just got the pants that were in his top drawer, he will respond with, but those aren’t school pants because they were in my PJ’s/Socks/Underwear drawer and not my School Clothes drawer.

It’s like the item of clothing, regardless of what it may be, takes on the identity of whatever the drawer says it’s supposed to be. 

This same situation has played out countless times and can occur in a number of ways. However, the idea is always the same.

No matter how many times we explain to him that his school pants are still his school pants, even they are in the wrong drawer, he never seems to get it. 

This is really frustrating because I have no idea how to get him to grasp this concept, if he even can.

I was wondering if any of you see this with your child? If so, how do you try to help them with it? Were you successful at all?

This sorta reminds me of issues with object permanence. You know, if you conceal an object it disappears.  It’s not just behind another object. 

Make sense?

This site is managed almost exclusively from my Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Please forgive any typos as auto-correct HATES me. 😉

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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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AspieWriter Lost_and_Tired yes, I thought it was just us


Great blog! I am a mom of an asperger son, 8 yrs old. We had the same issues with our son and we just got rid of drawers and the labels. We now have one open wardrobe (no drawers, only hangers and open baskets for socks and underwear) so he can visually see where everything is. It worked like magic. Never any problems anymore!


AutismParentMag Lost_and_Tired that’s our 4 year old autistic son. Our 8 year old is more similar to your son. Everything is very literal


AutismParentMag Lost_and_Tired oh man, we can’t keep clothes on our son at home. Fortunately, he stays clothed away from home.