It was a Hellacious morning in this Autism house. Between sensory processing issues and a black and white view of the world, this morning was an absolute nightmare.
Emmett really struggles with clothing because of sensory processing issues. He’s been wearing this one particular pair of shorts all year. They’re the only ones he’s comfortable wearing and we haven’t been able to find another pair that he tolerates.
Unfortunately, it was in the 30’s this morning and shorts are no longer appropriate, at least for today.
We tried about six pairs of pants and nothing was comfortable enough for him to tolerate.
I eventually found a blue pair that I asked him to at least try on to see if they fit. They fit perfectly and aside from the buttons on the inside of the waist band to adjust the size, they met most of his requirements.
Once I saw they fit, I told him he was wearing them to school.
He completely lost it and a massive meltdown ensued. The screamed at me that I had lied to him and how could he ever trust me again.
In his very literal, almost completely black and white world, I specifically as him to try the pants on to see if they fit. He did exactly what I asked him to do and was prepared to remove the pants when I said he was going to wear them to school.
Emmett took me telling him to wear them as me having tricked him into doing something that I know we he was uncomfortable doing.
That’s not what actually happened, nor was it my intention. I simply wanted to get the boys to school and we were already quite late.
I have to play verbal gymnastics with Emmett because he takes what is said very, very literally and sees everything as either the truth or a lie.
We finally worked through it but not before the boys were thirty minutes late for school. I swear to God that I would rather home school him than have to deal with this every single day. While I hold out hope that this will get better with practice and repetition, I also a realist.
So when he objected to wearing the pants to school. was it because of a sensory based reason or because you “lied” to him? Or both? It might be impossible to know, but what do you suspect? What made you decide that once he had these particular pants on, that this would be it – no more trying other things on – and he would be wearing these to school? Because they seemed to meet most of his requirements for pants, regardless of what he might have been feeling about them at that particular moment? Was it because it was getting late?
What do you mean by “practice and repetition”? Is there something different that you’re trying now that you haven’t done before?
So it seems you were able to get him out of the house and off to school, even though he was not happy about it. And I assume he did ultimately deal with wearing the pants enough to make it through the school day. What would have happened if you had “tricked” him earlier by getting him to put those pants on right away, and then telling him that he was going to be wearing them to school right away? Do you think he would have adjusted (as he presumably ultimately did so today)? Wouldn’t that have saved him (and you) at least some agony – and certainly some time?
I hope it goes without saying that I am in no way discounting sensory processing issues or the severity of such issues, and what it must feel like for Emmett. These issues and very real and can be very debilitating. How would Emmett react to this type of discussion: “look, these sensory issues suck, and I know they’re really hard and very frustrating and painful for you. But there are times when, if you get past that feeling of discomfort — and I know that at times it can be really unbearable — you’re able to fight through the discomfort/annoyance/pain and wear the clothes that are bothering you and go about your day.” What leads to the emotional breakdowns for him – the frustration, the pain/discomfort, the fear of being made to wear something that he’s uncomfortable wearing, having no control over the situation? All of the above? Maybe there’s a way at least to make him feel like he does have some control over it…
Not making suggestions, just wondering if you’re simply at the point of feeling like this is just the way it is, is it something you think will improve on its own over time, or is it something that you think Emmett might be able to take at least some control of (over time, with help). Just prompting some further discussion of a issue that many people are completely unfamiliar with, and about which they are likely to make certain presumptions because of that unfamiliarity.
You make some very interesting points. I’m really tired but I’ll try to touch in the major ones. I sorta feel like this is just the way its going to be. That doesn’t mean we stop trying but are the second time, it’s so exhausting to have this happen on such a regular basis.
I’ve tried both explaining to Emmett, as well as trying to reason with him. I’m rarely met with success and there are times when I just need to know I’ve done everything I could for that moment.
Does that make any sense? It does in my exhausted brain but I don’t know it does to anyone else… lol