By Kodey Toney
This past weekend was family reunion time for us, so we all packed up and made the trek to Kansas City to visit our folks from up north. On our way I noticed something in the backseat that gave me my inspiration for this week’s article.
We started on our drive and everything was going well when about two hours in I looked in the backseat to check on the boys. All I can see is Konner’s torso sticking out from under a blanket. I ask, “Konner, what are you wearing?”
He replied, “Nothing, I don’t really like clothes.”
I had to laugh a little as I realize that he is under the covers naked. I found out later that he had underwear on, but it’s still funny.
You see, he really does, like a lot of kids on the spectrum, hate clothes. One of the first things he does at some place he’s comfortable is strip down to his undies. This is probably because of sensory issues. Children with autism tend to have sensory processing problems. This is where the filters on their senses are either lessened or heightened depending on the child.
I feel this is also depending on the thing that is touching them. Seams and tags on clothing can feel like teeth biting into you, according to John Elder Robison, the author of “Look Me In The Eye”. This is why they come off as soon as we walk in the door.
As I mentioned before, Konner was under a blanket in the backseat. He always carries a heavy blanket around the house with him. He stays buried under it most of the time. Konner loves pressure, and the pressure from a weighty comforter seems to calm him most of the time. He also leaves heavy coats or jackets with hoods on if he can.
The other day I was dropping him off at my mom’s house for her to watch him. It was early in the morning and she was still in bed. She asked if he wanted to get into bed with her and he said, “I can’t get into bed with my pants, and shirt, and shoes, and socks on.” He really just wanted to strip down and used that as an excuse.
On the road trip I figured, he wasn’t hurting anybody, and he wasn’t exposed to the world, so I had no problem with it. After all comfort is important.