My child vs his shirts

Cameron - Breast ManThis story begins back when he was just 3 months old and we were already having to buy him shirts for a 6 month old… ┬áborn at a modest 7 pounds and 2 ounces, we had no idea that he’d grow so quickly.

At 3 years old, he was wearing clothes for a 5 year old… by 6, he was wearing clothes for an 8 year old.

Basically this meant that any clothes we bought him one summer would be donated by the next summer. In some cases, clothes we bought him at the beginning of summer were no longer fitting at the end of summer.

His shirts didn’t last very long but they usually survived to be handed down to his little brother or donated.

That brings us to our current problem…

Satisfying the senses

My son has taken to the habit of stretching his shirts such that the collar comes down across his shoulders, or he pulls his arms up into his shirts and stretches out against it.

Worse than that, he now chews on the collars and the ends of his sleeves as well.

The frustrating part of this is that just a year ago, we had a lycra bag that he could get into and stretch against as much as he wanted. This is an actual therapy tool for those that need that kind of stimulation.

Cameron had no interest in it.

Now we’re a year later and he’s running out of shirts.

We have an appointment to discuss this with his therapist but honestly, I am semi convinced I already know what needs to happen… we need to try what we tried before.

I don’t know if it will work, but if it does, it will certainly prove just how complicated Autism treatments can be. Not only does no one treatment work for every single person, or to varying degrees, but it also shows that what might not work at one time may work at another.

As children develop, as lives change, as situations are constantly in motion… the needs of the individual can change too.

It’s one of those very frustrating situations because not only is he going through shirts quicker than ever before but, as an Autism family, we have less money than ever to be replacing them.

We try to keep on top of him, to remind him to stop but honestly… have you ever tried to get someone to stop tapping their foot, pen, fingers, knee… those things that people do without even realizing it… how do you stop that?

It’s just that much worse when there’s an actual NEED to do it… such as sensory stimulation.

I guess we’ll just have to talk to his therapist and see what our options are.

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of http://www.stuartduncan.name. My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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5 Responses to My child vs his shirts

  1. Buki's Mom December 13, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    We’ve never dealt with chewing sensory issues (yet…), but my son has definitely stretched out his share of shirts by pulling the neck of the shirt up and over his head or the collar down around the shoulders. He grows out of his clothes quickly, too. I pretty much only buy thrift store clothing for those reasons.

    He’s getting a lycra body sock for Christmas; we’ll see if he cares for it. Past experience dictates that no, he won’t like the product we specifically buy for therapeutic purposes!

    Good luck with helping your son find a less expensive/destructive way of getting his sensory needs met.

  2. Kevin December 13, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    My daughter does this among other “stims” as we call them. From wrist and hand rubbing to licking lips, and very lately stretching her shirts. Like all stims we have been told to not acknowledge them as much as possible and try to replace them with a more appropriate stim that is more acceptable in life. Such as those you mentioned i.e. tapping your pen, shaking your knee etc. For my daughter a bracelet worked for a while, she played with her bracelet instead of rubbing her hands and like most of us we play with things in our hands when we sit in a meeting or just sit still i.e. think of your cell phone or your watch or whatever it is you do when you are bored. The tough part is always finging a replacement as the bracelet worked for a few months then she got bored with it and needed something else. Having ABA therapy both at home and at school has helped a lot but you are right it is a constant struggle and you never know what is going to happen next. I wish you luck, I too am a dad who has to deal with this along with my wife, and two other daugthers. Hang in there!

  3. Aileen December 13, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    My son likes keys, so far the solution had been a set of plastic keys that look like real ones, but still I have to hide all my key (sorry for my broken english, not my native language)

    Honestly never thought about replacing it with something else, Im going to try it =)

  4. Angel G December 14, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    With my now 9 year old, we used chewlery. I had to crochet a ‘sleeve’ for the back so it wouldn’t rub his neck, but it worked quite well. We also did a diversion thing where we would give him something more ‘acceptable’ to chew on instead. ALL of his shirts from those years of chewing had to be thrown out.

    We got the chewlery from the treatment center in town here – very cheap, non-toxic.

  5. Maria January 3, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    my son is not autistic but he also pulls on his shirts he pulls from the back of the neck all the way to the front.. I always have to ask him to stop because he has streched his shirts out.. I put a long sleeve fitted shit on him and have notice he does not pull at all.. weird i’m really not sure what to think. so i have just started making him wear long instead of short sleeve. I don’t know if it is a sensory thing..

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