Help - my 4 year old boy is becoming increasingly stressed with clothes/seatbelts

by Lucy Peaper
(UK)

Hello, I hope someone can help. I have a 4 year old boy who is becoming increasingly stressed with clothes, especially the neck of clothes, sleeves if they ride up underneath a hoody, waistbands and the worst..socks and shoes! He is only happy with flip flops or crocs.He will literally scream and kick out if something doesn't feel right and will remove it which is so stressful to live with. What I don't understand is that once he is dressed the clothes don't usually bother him for the rest of the day. Even as a toddler though he would prefer to be naked!


For the last 4-5 months he is the same with seatbelts and will spend the whole car journey holding the seatbelt away from his body. Other strange behaviours include being sensitive to noise, often asking me to turn things down. He doesn't like things too bright either. He has recently become afraid of the dark. He can also get stressed if his fork gets 'sticky' and will use his hands to eat even messy things. He has a rather Jekyll and hyde personality too, either being very shy or very loud and sociable. He has a strange aversion to crisps and will run away if someone opens crisps new him because of the smell, he has always seemed very sensitive to smells.

One of my other biggest concerns is strangers. He will touch people he doesn't know inappropriately i.e. touches lady's boobs or feet or hugs their leg. He will often say things to strangers like 'hello old lady!' He is a very affectionate child, he would sit on the sofa and cuddle me all day if he could!Other that this he is a bright boy, suffers asthma, has met all his milestones no problem. Nursery haven't flagged up any issues with me. Should I take him the doctor or will they think I'm over reacting? Please help! Thank you.

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May 27, 2014
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SPD
by: Anonymous

Totally sounds like my SPD child. Have you tried deep tissue massage or massage before getting dressed? My child need massages before clothes go in, before hair or teeth brushing, washing or cuttin hair too! Good luck! Get a diagnosis it helps !

May 27, 2014
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Similar symptoms
by: Vicky (UK )

Hi Lucy , reading your story reminds me of similarities with my daughter. She is now 10 but looking back she was probably showing symptoms of Tactile Defensiveness ( ie hating socks/ shoes and various fabrics) when she was about 3 or 4 yrs old.

I put it down to a phase and then she got worse in her reaction to clothing , especially when starting school and having to wear a set uniform . Like you , our daughter would have quite a Jekyll & Hyde personality which can be very upsetting and challenging .

I discovered this site by accident after researching seam less socks and wish I knew about SPD sooner as I have only managed to get help for our daughter with an OT last year . It took me a year of pestering our GP to get a referral with an OT . None of the doctors at our GP had heard of SPD yet OT's know all about it !!
Definitely push your doctor for a referral and don't leave it as long as I did .Some tips that may work for your son is : with socks , turn them inside out or wear crocs . As for seat belts , you can get soft cushions that Velcro around the belt which will be more comfortable .Good Luck.

May 27, 2014
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4 yr old
by: Anonymous

he sounds like he has classic symptoms of SPD. But also, read up on gifted children - there are many cross-over behaviors. The best advice i can offer is pick your battles. With sensory kids sometimes it is best to allow them to be as comfortable in their skin as possible, if that means wearing crocs or so be it, safety being the real criterion for decision making.

I'd take him to an MD so that you can get a referral to an occupational therapist and a formal evaluation.
good luck

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