Autism and Sensory Processing: Clothes and Socks

My Kiddo did not like to wear his socks. He hated feeling the seems in his socks. This was frustrating for me! So instead of tearing my hair out:

So I turned the socks inside out! When I finally did get online to order the seamless socks that you could buy, which people talked about, Well, I could not order them anywhere and they were pretty much always out of stock. I just turned the socks inside out which did the trick!

By the time I had gotten a pair of seamless socks my son said he did not like them anyway!

I was finding it hard to get my kiddo’s shoes and socks on, I was finding it hard to get clothes on my child until I realized that the weave of the fabric of the clothes was not suitable for him. The material weave was not breathing enough. What I mean is that polyester fibre weaves of clothes nowadays make people hotter. Cotton clothes breathe easier and they absorb perspiration. This means if the clothes the children are being told to put on are not feeling right because they are too hot well then this is why the don’t feel right. The clothes may feel itchy, hot, etc. and the child does not have the words to explain this to you.

My kiddo had a few thermo regulation issues, it could be freezing outside and he would be walking around in a pair of boxer shorts. He hated putting his socks on, I looked at the label which said polyester. Its hard to find cotton anything nowadays. But cotton and wool weaves it must be. I have found a few cotton socks in Target, David Jones has pretty expensive cotton ones too.

Also cutting the tags off kids clothes may help if kid is bothered by tags.

Hopefully this will be a helpful hint for parents/caregivers of your child with similar sensitivities. Cheers Jane

 

 

 

Autism and Sensory Processing: Gloves and Bandaids

Dear Mums! If you think bandaids and gloves are a good idea to cover hands: think again as the glue on the underside of bandaids causing skin irritation.  Leaving gloves on can also make hands sweat depending on material of glove. The kid does not get the sensory input from using bare hands.

My experience  with my kid is this:  The kid would have a minor abrasion on hands or other body parts and a bandaid would have to go on to cover. This happened again and again until we were going through so many packets of bandaids. Kiddo would not like to take the bandaids off either but preferred to leave them on. So: doing regular maintenance health check Mummy notices the bandaids are getting old and dirty and there is quite allot on the kids hands. This was not a good look. I find out that the bandaids are there to cover minor scrape and falling injuries (nothing to worry about but very) hyper painful to the kiddo. I notice that skin is peeling and irritated redness on fingers underneath the sticking part to bandaid.

Being a kid with Autism and sensory challenges is not easy by any means. The bandaids are kiddo’s attempt to armour himself (with bandaids) against an abrasive world. I understand this, but also not wanting the bandaids to get out of hand and turn into a fixation or Obsessive Compulsive thing I limit supply of bandaids. I’m also “caught between a rock and a hard place”  because I don’t want to injure a developing self esteem and self preservation ideas in kiddo.Its a double edged sword. I look for alternatives. I think, well its cold and winter is coming on and the obvious solution is the wooden gloves for winter.

I thought it was a great idea . So kiddo wore them everywhere, at school, at home, to bed. The hand was warm and protected in the glove.

I realised that getting the glove off him for washing was going to be a big deal. We eventually worked out that I was to wash the gloves at night when he was in bed. HE was to take gloves off while in bed to let the skin on his hands breath. If I didn’t wash them at night then there would be problems.

If you are going down the glove road with your child just beware that if the fabric of the glove is made of a polyester or poly fibre then your child’s hands are more likely to sweat underneath. This can be a breading ground for bacteria leadings to infections if not properly maintained.

To avoid this hand sweat thing kiddo would clap hands and demand that Mummy blow dry them at a certain place in the house many times a day. I got sick of this quick as it became time consuming and not functional in the daily routine. I tried to envisage myself doing this routine for a long time and I just did’t like what I saw. So that moment, I just said “No I am not doing this any more!” I got all the pairs of gloves from that had accumulated in the house and I drove to a bin somewhere, I don’t know where, and I just dumped them in the bin and went to my piano class. I did this in full view of my kiddo so he could see there were no more gloves ever to be in this house again. Kiddo did not like it one bit.

 

 

New shoes! It’s groundhog day!

New shoes mean allot to us. It’s not simple. Being a child  child with Autism and with sensory challenges is not easy by any means. The shoes have to look exactly like the previous pair because the visual change (in look of shoes) is too much to visually process. The new shoes have to feel the same and of course they are not worn in. So they don’t!

I need the kid to wear his shoes to protect his feet from weather conditions. The kid needs to wear his shoes. Shoes we have bought have always been Velcro shoes instead of laces for ease. Some time in the fit of these last pair of shoes kiddo has decided that he will not undo  the velcro, (which means putting strain on the design of the shoe and increase to its eventual demise)  but slip them on and off such as in slip on shoes. If anyone even tried to undo the velcro of his shoes the result will be that the kid will get upset. And very loud!

Why will he get upset? Because (whoever it is will be changing the internal environment of his shoe). In other words: pressure of shoe on foot will be different. The brand spanking new shoes are lovely and leather and all of $80 which is expensive to us one our budget. They are brand new and do not have the give or flexibility of the old worn in ones. Stephen tried to slip the new pair on. It’s too hard.

The growing foot needs new size shoes at different times. I know there will be an element of discomfort for  him in coming to terms with his new shoes. I brace myself for the eventual marriage of foot to new shoes… It will be a time of transition.

I think perhaps trying new shoes on, and wearing them 10 minutes  every day for a period of a few months until we have realised the entropic nature occurring with the old shoes. We will have to “ride the new shoes “in”. Riding around  the coral enough times to “break in” the new shoes making them submissive and lenient to us. Kick them around bit and soften them up.

It will be a struggle to accept the new conditions but will slowly and hopefully mellow into acceptance and comfortability. Is it the right fit. I mean is the sensory  experience of the foot  in the shoe: just the right pressure. And adjusting  the shoe to the right tightness around his foot….. Wait!….. I think I need to meditate on that one a little….. its all so very zen.

Essentially its a marriage. It may not be perfect but hopefully it may be ok, he may grow eventually to love his shoes. We live in hope!

What do “they” say  about shoes? Some say “Just throw the old shoes away!”! He will have to get used to it. I know there will be loud protestations about that from the young person in question if we so that. I think he loves his old shoes that don’t fit anymore and now have holes in them. It is raining and the old shoe’s have holes in them. Result: wet socks.

Where’s my Nanna’s old sayings! She always had a witty retort to counter harsh words. I need those words to stoke me up now. To get my spirit heated up like the coals in a fire, to give me warmth in this freezing winter.

 

 

 

 

 

Cost of Autism Specific Education

It is my understanding that there is at least 3400 students with autism in South Australia and rising. The government of South Australia has let the Aspect Treetops Autism specific school use the old Ashford Special School site at a peppercorn rental. The local school zoned in our area means that there are government subsidies available to help pay school fee’s. Does this apply the same at Ashford? Can I apply for the School-card? What subsidies are available to me in my situation? How much transport assistance can I get for my child? Is there long distance education?

When Treetops first began the facts were that you could not go to this Treetops Aspect Special School if you did nott have atleast $232/wk spare cash and thats for 1 child. If you have two children then it was $500 approximately. Fee’s have dropped to around $120 per week per child as of 2019. This is compared to $40 per week for Services and materials charge at the local mainstream school. It’s prohibitive for a large number of Austistic families because they simply do not have the cash.

The thought of HomeSchooling has always been around but not something I have wanted to get excited about! I don’t know it! Although, when I was a kid I did corrospondence schooling for a while. So how much money can I afford out of my budget to send my children to a school specifically oriented to teaching kids on the Autism Spectrum? I am excited about the Satellite Programs the Aspect treetops Autism School is proposing and the Distance education Proposed Program. The issue is how to pay for it?

It seems that the affordability of education equates to class sizes! Am I wrong? Does a kid with Autism who prefers to be by himself need socialization? I think I as a parent need to make our living arrangements bearable for both parent and child.

What happens to a child if they are bullied at school? Bullying and its effects at school have been well studied. Nobody wants that for their child to go through hard times. What is the criteria for entry point to Department of Education Autism Intervention Programs at Blackwood Autism Intervention Program and the Heights Autism Intervention Program, Modbury, Adelaide? What is the criteria for entry to the Aspect Autism Treetops School at Ashford, Adelaide? Would Montessori be good? Tick it off, for a try. What about Steiner education? Not that fussed about it! It can be overwhelming to consider. Do I want to stick my head in the sand about it? Do I have the energy to get excited about the idea?

The school fees at Treetops  have lowered to approximately $120/wk per child. Annual fee’s  are in the order of $7- 10,000 or so PA which may be prohibitive for 90% of ASD cases as it may be more unaffordable for those on lower incomes.  How much does it cost to educate a child in a Department of Education school?

 

 

 

Swimming week 2013

Another situation: Kiddo at the pool as a part of school swimming week. He wanted me to be there. He fell over and stubbed his toe. It was a horrible mess and flies were attracted to the moisture in the wound. Kiddo  lost it! He was totally freaked out by it! He screamed and shouted. It was almost like those flys suddenly became enormous garagantuan monsters. He was terrified of them.

His eyes huge with fear! He wanted me to do something and I went to help him cover the wound or wash it.

He just screamed.Right in my ear and so much that if I couldn’t do this or that I would just take him home. I swept him up in my arms, dumped him in the pram aside his baby brother as Kiddo so upset he wanted to be carried. I drove them both home in the car, me so very angry because I was totally confused as to why my son was not doing what the other kids did. I did not understand.  I could not control how he was feeling or what to do about it.

I needed to look after him as if I didn’t then who would.

 

 

Autistic Meltdown, 2014

Another mother thinks my dear son needs help while we are on our walk at Morialta Falls and intensive support at school. (“Thanks for sharing your opinion! Grrr!)

I’m annoyed and upset, I was angry and I wanted to the person where to go,  but I can’t be rude!!! Maybe, I should get some guts!! And I should be. I have got to stay positive.  I am already defeated.

But in the end I’m pathetically thankful because she helped me investigate how to afford the financial help I’m going to need for therapists.

The idea of the paperwork associated with Disability/Learning Difficulty services/getting the help was something I did not look forward to. I don’t believe how hard life can be at times! I feel that this is unfair. I want to so much stick up for myself and my son.

The prospect of my son’s Autism diagnosis scared me when I was dealing with health issues where my own mother (Nanna) nearly died of a pulmonary embolism in the aortic valve of her heart. My own father  (Grandpa) arriving  on my front doorstep in July 2014 literally with Renal Cell Carcinoma Stage 4 and no supports in place. I went into complete overdrive to get them supports. I used my social work nous. So the grandparents got attended to with appropriate housing found. So  thankfully the grand parents are fine and kicking on!

I wanted to believe that everything was fine with my son! I wanted to support and love and be proud of my son! My husband says, “In the grand scheme of things …. yadayadayada…!”.

I wanted the happy moments of mummyhood! I chose to believe my son did not have Autism because as previously stated in the post of 2013, where the therapist (referral from  the Dr) said my son did not fit the criteria for Autism.

The teacher at school waving her red flag!

I can’t stick my head in the sand!

By 2014 he had developed enough noticeable quirks to fit the diagnosis of Autism.

Quite a few different opinions about what is up with Stephen from family, extended family, therapists, and members of the public.

I was trying to find answers.

They did not help.

Go with my gut as this is my child.

This morning the schedule is my son is to go school outing, for a walk  at Morialta Falls, and its a very cold morning. He has done it heaps of times before. He is used to it! Why should anything be different! (He is used to doing it with his family and not in a group context!) Did I understand this before he went on the outing! NO!

Another over the top behavior:  screaming/crying because of his cold hands or maybe it is because he thought his hands were turning blue. Is this Alice in wonderland movie? I can’t ignore it! “Rub your hands together my love!”, but he would not. I show him how to do it! I rub his hands for him and cover his hands with his sleeves by pulling them down.

He could not understand that he would create warmth in his hands by doing so. He was lost to his meltdown. He would not even try! I was annoyed! I can’t ignore the magnificent exhibition of behavior and something must be done, some calming strategies. My Yoga upbringing all out of my head.

Should I take him from the group. Should I just let him be miserable on this walk and alone/suffering and is taking him from the group going to set up an expectation that if he gets upset like this he will do it every time he wants to exit a situation.

This is not a good day!

I want to rewind.

Should I just say, “That’s enough!” and take him home?

Everyone in the group, on the walk avoiding him because they did not know how to deal with it.

Another mother offering some help.

I felt so alone.

“What is wrong with my son!? I am feeling like a completely incompetent mother because I, as his mother, can’t contain his meltdown.

I have an Aquired Brain injury and am feeling very incompetent because of my history. What to do? I took him home in the end.

 

 

 

Autism Diagnosis Days, 2014

I can’t write today! I love it and need to blog. I’m tired! It’s very cold outside blowing a gail. Its freezing. It’s been bucketing down overnight. I can’t believe how much actual rain there is and my dear son is going on a school excursion, to the Zoo today, with assistance of his father.

Confusion. “He doesn’t have Autism”!  And the teacher at school is waving a red flag. Get his hearing checked. Go to Speech Pathologist. Go to Peadiatrician. Does he have enough traits to fit the criteria for Autism Spectrum. In the grand scheme of things does it matter? No! This piece of the jigsaw doesn’t fit here. It fits there. No it does not but ….?! You are supposed to do this and you are doing that?! Its ok, I accept my son’s as they are. To be realistic, I don’t understand.  I don’t understand and this is driving me crazy.  It doesn’t fit. My kids struggle at school. I can’t hear. I can’t process.

O rightio! So can you hear me? Yes Mum! But I think you can only hear parts of the words that I say and not the complete word. Is that it?!

The Speechy helps me understand that my dear son only hears parts of words and it is the same for kiddo no. 2. I find out that instructional video’s o “How to..” do things is what is needed. I find jollyphonics. I find many things and some of them are useful.