It Has Been a Good Week: Sensory Issues Taking a Vacation?

by J

It seems as if some magic autism fairy came last Thursday night and took the bulk of S’s autistic symptoms on a mini-vacation with her. This has proven to be a mini-vacation for us, and I am certainly hoping for an extended stay.

As you may remember, I had recently reported about S’s compulsion with shoes and his constant need for them on, but taking them off in stressful situations. He was also having issues with needing his hands cleaned several times throughout a meal and seemed to have developed an issue with things that dangled… shoe laces, price tags on clothing, stroller straps, etc. Magically, over the last week, these issues seem to be going away or, at the very least, minimized to a manageable level.

You see, last Friday, S woke up and did not demand shoes or even ask for them… for a full 3 hours.

Now, when he requests shoes, it is not a frantic plea as if his world will end without them. It is just a normal request for shoes.

I don’t know what happened, last Thursday night in his sleep, but I know I like it! In the past week, shoes have only come off a handful of times. S is no longer the frantic child removing his shoes and then demanding them right back on before he can finish taking them off. And, in turn, I am no longer the crazy lady frantically adhering to his demands. We have been to the pool… barefoot. Around the house… barefoot. Even in the car… barefoot. My little man has been able to enjoy so many things this week, since his world was not focused on his shoes! I even feel that I have gotten to know him better, now that our focus is more on each other.

At the advice of S’s teacher, when he does take off his shoes, they then have to stay off for an appropriate amount of time. This seems to have an effect! Once, when S began to take his shoes off, I got down on his level and calmly told him that if he took them off, they were going to stay off until we got home (we were at the store) and I asked if he would like to leave them on or take them off. He said “on” and there they stayed until we got home.

He has also ignored his dangling stroller straps, only asks once or twice per meal to have his hands cleaned and is, overall, seeming to have an easier time adjusting to stress. A consultation with an Occupational Therapist is still being scheduled for next week. Sadly, we both feel that these issues may come back (especially since we are selling our house and will be moving in a few months). The OT plans to give me some tips on how to handle this these issues as they arise, so that I am no longer the crazy lady at the store replacing shoes every 5 minutes.

These sensory issues may return, but I do NOT want that cycle to return. I really hope that I can respond more appropriately in the future as to not allow these issues to cycle out of control again. In the meantime, S and I will hopefully continue to enjoy our days without the stress of shoes. Who needs vacation when you can just run barefoot in the house?