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Seams, snowpants and Sensory Processing Disorder

Thursday we went on a day trip to a local skihill and took snowboarding lessons. It was kind of our day trip for a March Break treat. Being homeschoolers, we figured we'd do it the week before to avoid major crowds.

For a mom planning a day trip for a family, it takes hours of preplanning with lists, gathering everything needed and then putting forth the necessary energy to get everything and everyone ready and have them out the door on time to head out.

For a mom of a sensory child.......welll...that makes this task take twice, even three times as long. And, that is not even factoring in my own ADHD.


My son is 9. He has SPD (sensory processing disorder). For him....this means he hates the way his clothes feel on him and it will result in him being a puddle on the floor in tears while he tries to explain what is physically overstimulating his skin.
When this occurs though, it is overstimulating him so much he often cannot not even formulate words to tell me what the issue is, and just ends up grunting and crying while he wriggles about trying to fix the issue. This is not a obsessive issue he just needs to "get over" the sensations on his skin cause him physical discomfort and can often feel like cat scratches or sharp pains on his skin.

I can usually make a pretty good guess as to what the issue is and head it off at the pass. It is not like he is 9 months old anymore with a sleeper on that has a string in the toe of the footie scratching him and causing him (and me) to cry after 2 hours of trying to figure out, without words what the issue was.

After 9 years of trial and error we have learned that socks, underwear and wrinkly shirts drive him crazy. They rub on his skin making it impossible for him to concentrate.Certain kinds of pants make him itchy, mittens need to go on just so, before the coat, to feel right on his wrists without a complete meltdown.

Pants need to go over the toe to go in the boot, and if it comes off his toe before it reaches the right spot in the boot letting only his foot go down and keeps his cuff at his ankle, he'll need to redo it to make it not hurt his skin. If that means putting on a boot 10 or 20 times to make it work...well...that's just what it takes.

It took me 10 extra minutes to talk him into a certain pair of pants for the day.  5 extra minutes to fix his socks , only to need to take them off and put them on him inside out to stop the seams from bugging his toes.

I tend to have patience for such things, because tags and sock seams drive me crazy too. So, I can sympathize.

Over the years I have learned to pick and choose my battles with clothes.

Sock season is hard though. And, before I decided to allow him to go commando as he liked, you have no idea how many trips to a store bathroom I made trying to fix the bands for him so they would not drive him insane. Very often we finished our shopping trips with his Disney Cars undies and spiderman socks in my pocket.

It makes it easy to his laundry! Shirts and pants only, for the most part.

Anyway...where was I? Oh yes...the snowboarding trip.

After we finally managed to convince him that he didn't need his snowpants on at home for the 1 hour drive to the snow hill, it took me over 30 minutes to dress him in rented snowboard boots, get his snowpants and coat and hat and mittens on for the lessons. It wasn't too bad actually...all things considered.

But then, after our one hour lesson,we decided to take a break and have a snack inside...which for him required removal of his hat, coat and mittens. It took me 5 minutes of explanation to convince him not to strip it all off. He wanted to take of the boots and snowpants too! I knew getting it back on would be a job and a half.

After we were done our snack I started dressing him...and it took me 40 minutes to get his coat, His snowpants straps, and his tshirt wrinkle free and in a way that was not making him melt on the floor in a frustrated puddle of tears. FORTY MINUTES!

Omg I just about lost my crap right there!
I was starting to get snippy and sounding like those parents other parents judge in a public place when they lost their patience with a child. (Those parents of non sensory children who think you have a whiney spoiled child and you are a pushover of a parent , and if it was their kid they'd make them obey.)

Not that I actually cared what anyone thought of me...my skin is pretty tough at this point. I just wish I had some of that when the kids were smaller. The not giving a crap.


TMO came back in when we were just about done because of how long we were taking...and he was our patience ref. I certainly needed it at that point!

I took a breath...started over and fixed the one little wrinkle in the middle of his back that was scratching him from hus snowpants straps crossing over. I got his mittens back on and his coat done up just right and we finally were able to get outside again and enjoy the 3 of our 4 hours we had left for snowboarding!



I can't wait for sandles and shorts season! As a SPD mom sockless season is like a vacation! And this winter has been toooooooo long!

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