As the days grow shorter and the temperature drops are you looking forward to the change in seasons or are you dreading having to get out the itchy sweaters, hats and jackets?
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder can have difficulty with the change in seasons. The favorite t-shirt and shorts may no longer be appropriate as the temperature drops and the texture of a nubby sweater or a wool hat may be too much of a sensory overload for these children.
Getting dressed can be a battle for children with autism. Below are some practical ideas to reduce the stress while getting ready for the day.
- Try and decrease the stress in the household by allowing adequate time to dress and change clothes if necessary.
- Look for soft, breathable fabrics, tagless clothes, covered elastic bands, no metal parts, no heavy embroidery or appliqué and clothing that is easy to take on and off. Kozieclothes.com offers apparel with no tags and inverted seams for comfort and easy dressing.
- Provide choices appropriate to the child’s age. Have at least two options for clothing so your child may pick one of the available choices.
- De-sensitize the skin. Sensory brushing which provides deep pressure sensory input and integrates tactile change is useful before and after putting on long sleeves and pants.
- Explain the natural consequences of inappropriate dress such as getting cold or wet. Have back up clothing available when the reality of the outside temperature hits if your child is reluctant to put on cold weather gear.
- Choose vitamin and mineral supplements to reduce sensitivity. Autistic children often have very limited diets and there is evidence demonstrating the vitamin and mineral deficiencies can contribute to sensitivities. Products such as Calm Focus provide key ingredients and anti-oxidants to provide a natural daytime calming effect to help your family through seasonal changes.