The Morning Battle With The Sweatshirt: Living With Sensory Integration Disorder

| February 16, 2012

Written By: Michelle, The Green-Mother

This morning was rough for Liam and I. He did not want to wear his sweatshirt. “It is too rough. Take it off now. It is bothering me”. He was jumping up and down, and screaming. Not another tantrum, I thought to myself.  I am sure our neighbors were well aware that he did not want to wear his sweatshirt today. This is life with Sensory Integration Disorder.

I always give Liam extra time in the morning while getting ready to go to school. Just in case. This morning, I was seconds away from missing the school bus again.

How did I resolve the crisis this morning? First, I tried to reason with him. I told him it is still too cold outside.  He would get cold without it, and wearing only a tee-shirt would not be enough. That tactic did not work this morning. Liam has little awareness  to the sensation of cold weather. He frequently removes his hat and gloves, and unzips his coat while playing outside. Unless we move to a warmer climate, this issue will remain ongoing.

I moved on to tactic number two. I negotiated. I would  let him wear his favorite batman t-shirt if agreed to keep the sweatshirt on. He folded his arms in anger and said “No”. OK, I thought, this is  not going well. By this time, he was lying down on the floor, refusing to move. Trying to stay calm during this event can be frustrating. I took deep breaths, and tried again.

I finally hit the jack pot with tactic number three. I got down on the floor with him, and massaged his back. Putting pressure on his body is an excellent trick that his Occupational Therapist taught me. When Liam receives pressure on his body, it instantly calms and relaxes him. Now that I finally had him in this state, I started to reason with him once again. I told him how nice, and soft, and warm the sweater would feel on him. I rubbed the cotton on his face to show him how fluffy the material was. In his relaxed state, he was receptive to my advice. He finally put the sweatshirt on.

This is just one example of a typical morning. It does not always have this type of happy ending. There are some mornings when Liam yells and screams all the way to the bus stop. Hats and gloves get thrown to the ground. His coat also has the potential to end up there also.  On those mornings, I find myself chasing him down the street, and begging him to put them back on. Some days, he won’t. On those days, I shove them in his school bag and hope for the best. I look around me, and hope no one is around to witness this.

Everyday is different, and we face new triggers almost daily. Tricks that work one day, may not work the following day. I am thankful that we are followed by a wonderful team of professionals that work very hard with Liam and I. They constantly give me new tricks, and tips to help Liam with his issues with sensations.

Now, it is the waiting game.  Will Liam come home wearing his sweater tonight?



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Category: Sensory Integration Disorder

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