No Long-Sleeved Shirts Please!

No Long-Sleeved ShirtsThis is Stevie, here. I am 10 years old and I do not like to wear clothes. Now that summer is turning fast to a chilly autumn, everyone is worried I will be cold.  They want me to wear sweatshirts or coats, or long sleeve shirts.  I do not want to wear long sleeves. I’d rather be cold than put up with having sleeves on my arms.  Sleeves get in my way, and they are a constant irritant. When I do wear them, I push them up  high above my elbows anyway!  A lot of good that does, and then my elbows are not comfortable either.

When I was little, my skin was covered with an itchy painful rash. It was on my forehead, my eyes, my chin and cheeks. My arms, legs and tummy were covered too. And what was the worst was the tops of my feet!  I couldn’t even wear shoes because they would tie or velcro right on top of the itchy spots! It was horrible

I even remember my eyes itching. I would scratch them in my sleep and then they would hurt so I cried. My mom would come and try to stop me from scratching my eyes.  I think that is when they had me tested for food allergies.  I have a lot of those, it turns out.

One of my allergies is latex.  Do you know how many clothes have latex in them? My mom even found out some of the socks I had? Were made with latex! No wonder I didn’t like socks!  The bands of my underwear had latex, and my carpet was backed with latex.  It was no wonder I was so itchy before we removed all those things!

Even with avoiding latex and the food that makes me sick, my skin is still itchy. Sometimes when I scratch it, the skin will rise up and then it itches even more!  I pinch and twist it to “scratch” the itch so I don’t hurt myself with my nails.  Sometimes I can’t stand to be in my own skin at all, let alone wear clothes on top of it.  That is like wearing 2 skins and it makes no way to get to the itchy spots when they bother me.

When I need to scratch a spot, I will do anything to get to it. I don’t care where I am, I will take off my clothes so I can scratch.

Sometimes loose clothes, like t-shirt sleeves, will lightly brush up against my arm and that makes me cringe. It is like the worst kind of tickle—that light one. I like the deep kind but not the lighter, bugs-crawling-on-me kind.

My mom got me a new kind of shirt that’s stretchy and tight fitting.  I liked that because it doesn’t get in my way.  It doesn’t bad-tickle me either. The only problem is that because it’s tight, it is also hard to get off!  And when I need it off, I need it off right away, so I can scratch all the itches.  I am getting better at asking for help at school now, instead of getting mad and ripping my clothes off. I always ask my mom or dad for help, but since they aren’t at school, I never thought to ask there. But now I do. It’s much better to ask for help than to get really upset.

I just don’t see why I can’t wear the same things all year long.  Short-sleeved shirts and shorts in the winter would be fine with me.  Sure, it’s cold, but that’s ok. I will just be super-fast when I’m getting to and from the bus!  It’s warm inside. So if I layer up and dress for the outside, then I get overheated in the inside. There is just no winning.  I would rather be cold than hot though.  Plus, it is kinda fun to hop off the bus after school wearing shorts when it’s snowing out. My mom always says something about that when I do it. It makes me smile because I’m proud of myself for being me and getting away with it.

This post is written by Stevie's mom, giving voice to Stevie as best she could. This may not represents reality, just his mom's perspective of what her son with autism's reality may be. 

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Sketch’s First Day of School!

Today is the day of Kindergarten for Sketch.

Besides being worried concerned about all the things that could happen on his first day, we are very excited.

I was planning to homeschool him this year.  Sketch had such a hard time leaving home to go to preschool every day, especially when he would see his Princess Buttercup and Dash staying home.  He always loved being at school, but the leaving home part was what was so heart breaking.

With tears streaming down his face while he sobbed, he'd wave his hand at me from the car, "Bye-bye Mommy. I love you Mommy!  See you after school, Mommy!"  (Sniff, sniff!)

Heart wrenching!

He really didn't "play fair" at all.   As soon as Mr. Incredible would pull out of the driveway, Sketch would perk up and start singing his heart out, happy as can be.

But day after day...it just wore on me!  I started to wonder how much he understood.  Like, did he know that the twins were staying home with me all day for homeschool?  Did he wonder why we sent him away to school?  Does he wonder if we don't want him home?

Sketch has always liked being home.  He would often need some coercing to get him to go out of the house unless it was a highly motiving place, like the Bounce Zone or Childrens Museum (and now we can add gas stations and drive-thru's as highly motivating too!)

But, somewhere along the way, his "want to" (as Beth Moore would say) changed.

I think seeing his twins get on and off that big yellow bus had something to do with it.  He just loves busses!

Over the first month of the twins school, Sketch made it clear that his "want to" changed.  He didn't want to be at home for school.  He didn't want me to be his "teacher", but to be his Mommy.

He DID want to go to school. He wanted to ride the bus to school, to participate in circle time and play in the big gym (and probably to show off his spanish vocabulary and accent, and his reading, writing and spelling ability...or, maybe that's me!)

And, as I'd watch him play at the Bounce Zone, I'd see him watch the other kids, and he'd get so excited to be around them.  A wonderful thing for a parent of kids on the spectrum to see :)

However, I am sure that his real "want to" is to sit on my lap on the bus ride to school and to sit on my lap in those tiny kindergarten-sized chairs all day at school!

There may be some surprises this first day!

However, we are so proud of him for being able to express to me and Mr. Incredible, his desire for school.  We were so proud that we didn't even really take it as a blow to our home-schooling abilities! How awesome for God to change his 'want to' from being just home with Mommy, to wanting to socialize with others!  Especially considering that not being "social" is one of the core deficits of autism!

Sometimes we need to re-evaluate our want to's as well.  Sometimes we don't want to change something that we know we should.  But God can change our want-to, just like he changed Sketches.

Psalms 40:8: I desire to do your will, my God;  your law is within my heart.”

Psalm 119: 1-5

1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!

So if there is any hesitancy to in seeking God with all our hearts, in jumping over to solely following and obeying God as the Psalmist did...if there is any hesitancy to delight in His ways...if His laws are not engraved in our hearts... then maybe we should ask God to change our "want to" too?

John 14:14  "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."

Now that is an awesome promise!