I used to look forward to the first nip in the air, the first leaves on the ground, the first browning of the cactus (I grew up in the desert), and the change from summer clothes into the heavier, darker fall wardrobe. I still appreciate all those things, except for the way jeans don’t lie about your summer eating habits …

But what about my autistic daughter? Each day brings a host of sensory obstacles: food with its variety of taste, texture, temperature, color, and smell. Hair brushing and teeth brushing are always an olympic wrestling event. And then there are CLOTHES.

For those of you who’ve shared this journey with me, you know clothing has always been a huge issue. I am happy to report we’ve graduated from driving naked and stripping naked constantly to keeping dresses on at school and in public and wearing swimsuits to bed and under all her clothes.

All of that is a huge praise! Big strides in development, but just when things were evening out, in comes fall with its need for pants, jackets, socks, and shoes.

Thankfully, she tolerates long sleeves, which I know is a huge issue for many friends. And instead of a jacket, I found a fabulous fleece top she loves. Socks? She’ll allow them for about one minute, if I can get them on her. And pants? Not so much.

Two weeks ago when I first brought out leggings, she ran the other way … fast. But we’ve been working on it each day.

I sent her to school in a soft pants outfit last week. She stripped naked and the school wound up putting her in a dress. I still thought of it as a victory, though. Each few minute increment she tolerated pants was a step in the right direction. This weekend I took her for several long walks in the stroller. She wore her pants as long as she was outside. The minute she came in the pants came off, but still a positive step.

Then yesterday she wore pants to her special needs gymnastics class! And kept them on the whole time. I felt as though we’d climbed a tall mountain. Except … she kept putting her hands in her pants, something I thought we’d left behind. I know the pant leg seams bothered her and it’s a matter of getting her used to them, but it’s another hill to climb.

God is always patient and loving with me…I sigh and nod.  As a mom…He calls me to the same. And together we grow and advance!

And hey…there’s always a bright side: After all this hill climbing, I might be able to zip up my jeans again!

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One Comment

  1. Jennifer, have you considered epsom salts to see if the sensory issues decrease? Susan Owens is an expert in the area of sulfation, and she has written about her daughter (not autistic, but Susan says her labwork looked like she might be) with huge sensory issues, and her dad, w/ Alzheimer's, and how epsom salts baths calmed their sensory issues in a big way. Obviously, ask your doctor about them — I am NOT a doctor and this is not medical advice.