My son has lots of issues related to clothing. I used to take him to the store to buy clothes but I gave up on that a few years ago. He becomes very stressed at the store and no clothes get picked out. Instead of it getting better over time it got worse as clothes became more important. At some point I will have to start taking him and slowly work him up to buying his own clothes. Maybe after he is out of high school it will be easier. Otherwise when I die he will just wear his clothes till they fall apart or not wear clothes at all.
Since he doesn’t go to the store we attempt to buy the clothes we think he will want to wear. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes it is an epic failure. This weekend was an epic failure. Our first mistake was that we bought the clothes at a store he doesn’t like. This particular store is a little alternative and the store itself is dark and maybe it causes sensory issues when he is there. I am not sure because he has never articulated what his issue is. I really like this store but when he was little and went shopping with me he would start to melt down as soon as we went near the store.
We found clothes at the store that we felt would meet his criteria but as soon as he saw the bag he reacted negatively. Saying no, he wouldn’t wear anything from there and started yelling. I hate being yelled at and I am trying to remember that he is sick and he has lots of issues with clothes. I decide to put the clothes somewhere out of sight and try to talk to him at a later time.
It is difficult to get answers out of him. We have discussed the clothing issue with Dr. L, his previous psychologist. One of the issues that came out in counseling was related to his social anxiety. As a teenager you are judged by what you wear. If he happens to wear something to school that is not cool and I picked it out he can blame me.
Although he doesn’t want to be made fun of he certainly does not want to be like everyone else. There is a particular brand that kids in our area wear and he used to refuse to wear the brand name because it was advertising for the brand. This protest made me laugh because it is exactly the kind of thing my dad used to say. He finaly started to wear some of this brand the end of last year but now he seems to be boycotting it again.
This concept of not wanting to be like everyone else but yet not be made fun of has been a little easier since Big Bang Theory is such a popular show. He can now wear Batman shirts and not be made fun of. However he won’t wear video game shirts. I found a great one that says “I love minecraft” but he got mad at me and said that he doesn’t wear video game shirts. I wonder if I can write Cuck Lorre, the creator of Big Bang Theory, and suggest that Sheldon should become addicted to the game and start wearing that shirt.
My son also does not like change. When certain clothes have worn out I have just replaced them. That really seems to be the easiest way to go with my son. This also amuzes me because I believe Einstien just owned multiples of the same clothes so that he never had to decide what clothes to wear. When I found a pair of shorts that met his approval this summer I went and bought them in various shades of grey and khaki. He has literally worn 5 different pairs of the same pair of tennis shoes for the past 5 years. He found it amuzing last year when he told his friends he was getting new shoes because they were falling apart. He said they were all surprised the next day when he showed up with the same pair of shoes. He said he told all of them that he just wanted the same pair again.
To add extra fun to all of this he also has lots of sensory issues in general. His issues related to clothing is that a lot of materials bother him. He complains that clothes itch and are too tight, when they are not tight at all. He refused to wear jeans for until he was in middle school. He only started wearing them because that is what everyone else wears. Right now he is only wearing cargo shorts so I really can’t wait to see what we have to buy this winter.
Although he talked about the social issues in psychology I know the sensory issues have alot to do with it. I know this because when he is at home he doesn’t wear clothes. I can’t imagine he would care what I think abou his clothes. Before you call children services please remember this is a common issue with people on the spectrum. Also since he is 14 we are able to get him to at least be covered at all times. We try to get him to at least wear underwear and most times he does. The item that he is always guaranteed to be wearing is a blanket. This drives my husband crazy. My husband yells at him frequently about being naked. I explain that lots of kids on the spectrum like to be naked and we should be thankful he doesn’t strip outside our house. I also tell him that our son isn’t naked, it’s a Toga!