#Autism Parenting: Whatever doesn’t kill you….. 

Whatever doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger. If that’s true, I should be in really good shape after the morning I’ve had. 

My God… You would think that we were trying to cut his feet off, when all we were trying to do was help him get something on them that would allow him to go to school. 

Every time it feels like we’ve made progress, something always comes along and yanks the rug out from underneath our feet. 

The reality is, raising kids on the Autism Spectrum is like living in Ohio and complaining about the weather. If we just wait ten minutes, the weather will change. 

In many ways, that’s true in regards to parenting a child on the spectrum but not always in the sense that the change is a positive thing. 

What I mean by that is this. Even if we manage to get Emmett comfortable in his shoes and socks, it’s only a matter of time before he will no longer be able to wear them. 

Over the years, I bought countless shoes, slippers, crocs, socks and even flip-flops for Emmett. Everything seems to work at least once or twice but after a short amount of time, something changes and we’re back to square one. 

Our go to for school has been flip-flops because oddly enough, he’s almost always okay with those, regardless of the temperature. 

Unfortunately, the winds of change are upon us once again because even flip-flops are becoming an issue. 

We did finally get him out the door wearing his flip-flops but only by the grace of God and I mean we barely pulled this off. I fear we are going to be facing even greater challenge in the near future because if he can no longer tolerate his flip-flops, we have nothing to fall back on.. 


  1. kimmy gebhardt

    Is it just me or does this issue seem to be getting worse? Maybe you’re just writing about it more often? I don’t recall you mentioning it as much last year. I watched the video and it’s awful and my heart goes out to him. I guess I’m just wondering if there is something else that is exacerbation the situation.

      1. kimmy gebhardt

        But has it always been this bad? I’m not doubting anything you say, I just don’t remember this many posts about it before. I’m mostly wondering if it’s getting worse as he gets older, which is why I thought something may be triggering it, for lack of a better word.

        1. I didn’t think you were doubting it. With Emmett it could be anything. It’s always been this bad but when he was younger, the battles were less intense and it wasn’t as big of a problem because he was home all the time.

          You would be right in wondering if it’s getting worse as he gets older. I don’t know if the sensory issues themselves are getting worse or if he’s just under more stress in general, diminishing the resources he has to cope with those sensory issues… Does that make sense?

          The reason I wanted to share the video is because I’ve really only talked about issues before school and it’s easy to see that as he’s trying to get out of going, not that I thought you were saying that.

          This shows him struggling because he can’t gets his shoes and socks on, so that he can go to a movie and eat snacks.

          It’s heartbreaking to see him go through this and my hope is that it provides some further insight into why we struggle so much with this and sometimes just stop and keep him home.

          Thank you for the thoughtful comment… ☺

      2. kimmy gebhardt

        My other reply is awaiting moderation (for some reason, that happens when I post from my phone) so I’m going to ask this here: I could see that Emmett really did want to go to the movies. What would happen if you said “If you want to see the movie, you have to wear your shoes. If you can’t do that, it’s okay, but you will have to stay home with Mom/Dad”. I know it would still be a struggle, but I’m wondering if removing any choice other than A or B would make a difference. I’m not trying to advise you, I’m genuinely curious if that would or could work.

          1. Jimmy Rock

            I’ll start by saying I didn’t watch the video. I understand why you posted it but I don’t need or want to see it. I’m not saying that you’re haven’t been doing this, but I really think you have to think outside — far outside — the box on this one. It’s clear that what you’re doing isn’t working — not through any fault of your own (it’s not a “blame” situation) — just objectively speaking, things are simply not working as they’re going on now. It’s brutal on the boy, and awful for you as parents.

            How about having him go to sleep at night with shoes and socks on? Practicing putting shoes and socks on and off throughout the afternoon/evening when he’s home? Collaborating with your OT and your therapist together to come up with a different approach? Try letting him work it out quietly on his own unsupervised, without the pressure of your well-intentioned hopes that he’ll be able to put them on with your help, and without a sense of time pressure that getting ready to go to school/appointment/movies/ whatever brings. If/when he does get them on, maybe the independent ownership of the issue will help, instead of feeling like that you as parents (despite your intentions) can’t help him.

            I’m not suggesting that you’ve haven’t put in the time and effort — I’m just saying maybe it’s time to blow the whole thing up completely and brainstorm about a entirely different approach. And it’s probably not going to be anything specifically that I’ve mentioned above – just throwing out things to start the brainstorm.

            And I’m talking about the psychological approach – I’m not talking at all anymore about SPD treatment specifically 🙂

  2. I feel your pain – we have massive issues with shoes and socks. Ethan won’t wear socks at all but luckily his school are OK about that. Now he has grown out of the only pair of shoes he feels comfortable in, we have been trying different pairs but there always seems to be a problem. Now we are trying buying second hand shoes that have been worn in and are softer. Luckily he has a 1:1 TA at school, as she often has to carry a pair of plimsoles with her if he needs to change into them!

    1. While I’m sorry for what your son goes through with his sensory issues, there’s some level of comfort in knowing that we aren’t alone. I hope you find a sustainable solution and if you do, please pass it along cause I’m pretty sure we’re gonna need it to. Lol

      Very nice to meet you…

  3. Facebook Profile photo bwiren

    This does seem like an issue that needs more therapy of whatever kind. What I get from the blog posts is a sense of fighting something that is dark and amorphous and constantly changes. (Is it one of the Marvel super villains? But I digress.) But my sense is also that your son is in agony, while you are also in emotional agony. (I did NOT watch the video. I just can’t.)

    Personally, as a mother of a (high-functioning) autistic son, who is also HFA, I’m guessing that stress and/or lack of sleep heightens his sensitivity, poor kid. I know he has therapists but seems like one of them should be able to shed more light on this for you all. 🙁

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