Clothing Doesn't Feel Good
My 4 year old (just turned 4) has always had an issue with clothing/socks/shoes not feeling good, but over the last few weeks it has gotten much worse.
Getting her ready for daycare in the morning is a HORRIBLE experience. When it is time to get dressed, the crying and tantrums start. Her underwear, pants, shirts and ESPECIALLY socks and shoes do not feel good when she puts them on. She will change clothing up to 5 times to find something that "feels good" while throwing a fit during this time. Then finally, when we have clothes on, we have to try to get socks and shoes on.
Over the summer, it wasn't as big of an issue, because she tolerated wearing sandals. But now that she has to wear socks and shoes, she is miserable. I have purchased seamless socks over the internet, thinking this would solve my problems, but she doesn't like those either. Of the 15 pair of shoes she owns, there is only ONE pair she will wear. And sometimes it is embarrassing because they don't go with a lot of her outfits.
She also does not like her hair brushed or to put barrettes or pony tails in her hair. When she is at home, she likes being naked from the waste down. Other problems we have with her is that she is a very picky eater, but the clothing problem is much more serious right now. If there is any advice you can give us, it would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!
I know this is a very, very common and difficult problem for our kids. What makes me feel a bit better is knowing quite a few adults that have some mild form of this, so I often wonder if S.P.D. has been around a lot longer than everyone has expected.
Has your daughter received a diagnosis of SPD? Any other defensiveness issues? Does she get OT? (occupational therapy) OT would definitely be the place to address the underlying sensory defensiveness. If she is in OT, make sure they are addressing this. If she isn't, please try to get her there!! The picky eating, the clothing issues, hairbrushing issues... all sensory defensiveness that needs to be addressed through a good sensory integrative approach. Meanwhile...
In our home this is also a big problem. I have managed to get around it by finding stores that sell tagless, seamless undergarments (Target carries them; and other stores linked to in article referred to at the end of this answer). As for them not matching? Hmmm, maybe buying the kind she likes and dying them? Some specialty stores carry socks: have you asked the company who makes the ones she likes if they sell colored socks? Sometimes all it takes is for you to ask.
I have started to try and make garments softer before
I even give them to my son. I will get a 5T & 6T and then wash the 6T everytime I was washing the clothes (6-10 times usually works), then put them away. The hard part? Remembering you have said 6T jeans/shirt! I will also run his clothes through the wash & then through the rinse cycle just so he does not have that fresh smell; A LOT of SPD kids do not like the smells of detergent and this can sometimes be the main problem.
A way to soften clothes quickly so they are not stiff and are w/o detergent is to use the dryer balls (I use the bumpy balls from Target or Walmart)... they are in the toy section, not the laundry section, and cost a fraction of a dryer ball (can also be used as a sensory tool when you run it over a sensory seeking child). Just add 2-4 balls to a wash and then the whole load to the dryer and you will be amazed at how soft and comfy jeans, t-shirts, jammies become.
I'm not sure about the buying a bigger sized shirt, I am pretty lucky to be able to do that, I am not sure if a lot of other people can or not. Maybe an exchange w/ a neighbor who might have an older child that has "gently used" clothing?
Are there any parents out there who have any other ideas? Anything you have that works for your child? Any other store you have found seamless/tagless clothing?
Hope that helps.
Heidi Washington SPD Parent SHARE Host
One particular newsletter may help too... SI Theory To Help Solve Problems At Home newsletter. Here are some of the suggestions you will find there:
Child is bothered by the feel of some clothes.
1. Use a body suit under clothes.
2. Provide socks that are tight around the ankle.
3. Wear silk/lycra underclothes.
4. Seamless socks (or turn socks inside out).
5. Tagless pants, shirts, and underwear.
6. Get used clothes at a second hand store... they are usually well broken in and softer.
7. Use plenty of fabric softener when washing clothes.
Also, this article should help a lot! Touch Sensitivity (Tactile Defensiveness); When Clothes Hurt. Includes explanations and reasons why they have a hard time, clothing resources and stores for seamless/comfortable underwear, socks, etc.
Giving your daughter some good deep pressure input and compression will help decrease the defensiveness too. Use weighted blankets at night, roll a therapy ball over her before she gets dressed, do some deep pressure lotion massage, bear hugs, anything that "squeezes" her, etc.
And, shoes? Have you tried moccasins? Tight socks with the shoes?
But, her defensiveness sounds significant enough that she needs to be treated by an OT... can you get her to one??
Anyone else have some ideas? Input?