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Thread: Clothing a real problem - Sensory Defensive

  1. #1

    Default Clothing a real problem - Sensory Defensive

    Does anyone's child experience great difficulty with their clothing?
    Our dd pulls, tugs and stretches her clothing........often ripping them beyond repair.
    This was very difficult a few years ago and it seemed to stop, ...........but it's started again She is 15 and knows better but cannot seem to control this. An expensive problem!

    All she can tell us is that she want's the clothing to "feel" a certain way, or "feel even" (partly OCD), but she cannot seem to resist ripping. She is down to one pair of pants that she will only wear to school. She has even ripped her two favorite pair of pants. She resists even letting me wash them and won't let me put them in the drying because she fears they will not feel "right".

    Anyone else out there experience this with their TS child? Any suggestions on how to make this better........or help me cope!!!

    Tictalkmom
    Tictalkmom
    Being different is special.

  2. #2
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    Default Clothing

    We've experienced some frustrating moments too. My son is going on 12. He likes his clothes just they way he wants them, yet this is hard to explain.

    No flannel, blends, sweaters are hard, especially if they are textured.
    I buy loose fitting jeans, panter paint style and zip away cargo's. I found if he wears a t-shirt under sweaters he does better, but loose around the neck. I buy a lot of smooth cotton.

    He pulls, tugs on his clothes and his legs, he says sometimes his legs feel weird and wont stop rubbing them, sometimes makes them bleed he is so uncomfortable. He can rip his pants legs with no effort and his shirts.

    Today's fashions don't help and I feel for you having a daughter with this concern. At her age they wear so many things close fitting.
    You may find you spend more, but Old Navy seems to work for some odd reason. Jeans are softer and the cut seems to work.

    One thing that does work, I have found. I take him with me when I shop or keep the tags on to make sure. If they don't feel right in the store, I won't make it any better by washing them.

    The detergent you use may need to be changed too. I changed ours and it helped. Some leave residue on clothes or scents that seem to make a difference. Tide really set him off.

    I hope this helps a little for you and feel a little relief that someone else shares the problem. I think it has something to do with a tic. It appears to a nerve thing with his legs the way he describes it. We just are not sure. Wearing comfortable clothes seems to help but at times does not seem to fix the problem completely....just seems to avoid distruction of the clothes during the moments.

    Best to you and yours,
    PJK

  3. #3

    Default Clothing

    Hello TictalkMom,

    I have a nine year old son with TS and OCD. For about three year now he will wear nothing but sweat pants. He has told me many times that his clothing are too tight or that "they don't feel right". I let him help pick out his clothes and I cut off all tags. Most times this helps but not all times. Good luck and know that you are not alone.
    Sheena

  4. #4

    Default TS - clothing intrusive/Tactile issues

    Thanks for all your replies. It is nice to know that we are not alone in this.

    I think it is more difficult for girls. The clothing made today is very short waisted and designed for petite figures. My daughter prefers loose clothing that "covers" her navel.........very hard to find. She now wears a brushed cotton type pants........wearing the same pants every day to school. She has a pair of track pants that she wears only at home.
    She limits herself to certain clothing beacause only a select few feel comfortable. Even an outfit on Monday may not be worn on Tuesday because her body finds the garments uncomfortable. It's like her brain can never adapt. It's so difficult because she wants so much to "fit in" with the styles the girls all wear at school, but it's just too much for her to handle. Anxiety/OCD/TS definately are the bully here.

    Rarely, can she tollerate something different, and prefers to limit herself to only a few garments that she can tollerate, because she doesn't have the emotional strength to fight anymore.

    We have started Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. I only hope that what she learns, she can try to apply them to the sensory issues she has.

    God bless to all and keep the replies coming.
    Tictalkmom (Diane)
    Tictalkmom
    Being different is special.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Clothing a real problem - Sensory Defensive

    I am 36. I have had SD for about, oh, 36 years. My Mom verifies the first few years on this. I believe her. I have to work very hard to get clothes that are comfortable. I found that some makers of undershirts are now silk screening (or whatever) the label into the shirt, rather than attaching a six foot long nylon sign. I cut my tags out of most everything, and have recently run into some trouble with that, so I am motiviated to stop or at least minimize this. Here's the problem: I have a kind of polo shirt that I ADORE because it has NEVER given me trouble. I have three, and they are getting a little worn out. I have NO IDEA who made them - I cut out the tags years ago. Oh, blast. Ha ha.

    Clothes are never comfortable, just more or less uncomfortable. I'm sorry, moms, but I have to tell the truth. The real trick is to teach the child to help themselves - to be honest and communicate with you in a "Ross Greene would be proud" way about what is annoying, and what is going to cause a Storm. They have to learn to live with annoying. Unlike tics, which sometimes actually stay the same for a period of time, clothes are different every day. Actually, now that I think about it, I just realized that even the same clothes are different every time you wear them - they get washed in between, you hope.

    Yes, the fashion industry is an accessory. No pun intended. They make clothes that begin to wear out after one washing. What kinda garbage is that?

    Okay, ready for some good news: will the school let them wear sweat pants? Oh, yes. Shorts and skirts are the problem as far as they are concerned. My recommendation (although I know it is not my child) would be to get one pair in every color. Get the child to not wear the same ones twice in a row ("normal" kids can detect that from a mile away, especially in 10-12th grade) and try to get them to color coordinate. I emptied my wallet when I realized I had found a shirt that was perfect for wearing to work - I bought three, but in three diff. colors. If I had been really smart, I would have bought 30 of them (no, that is not a typo.) and kept them wrapped up in airtight plastic bags, and taken out a couple each 6 months or so. Einstein wore the same thing every day for a reason, but he had 14 sets of everything.

    More good news: I wish my Mom and I had figured this out: give me a dollar amount, and a list of things I MUST get, tell me if I don't get all the MUST items you will, and tell me what my reward is (like a PC game, movie, anything) and let me loose in the store. I do not mean leave me alone, but let me drive. Let me try on what I think might work, and don't challenge me when I touch a shirt and shudder and run away. Do you really want to MAKE me try on a wool pullover? Why would you volunteer for that?

    Think about how much less stressed out YOU would be. Answer questions, talk about how other children or teenagers are going to react to certain clothes, and keep some strategies in your back pocket, like buying 7 of something, in 7 diff. colors (see above). Spend that extra brain power taking notes about what works and what don't. I wish I had started a clothing journal when I was 8. Here's a sample of what you would learn following me around a SteinMart, Marshall's, or JCPennys:

    Turtleneck sweaters = Nazi torture device. V-neck undershirts = not so bad. A-shirts (the undershirts with no sleeves) = works. Corduroy = sandpaper. Sweat pants = found some with pockets on sale, in fashion colors - yea! Acrylic socks = more comfortable, but do not breathe, get a couple for emergencies. Cotton socks = scratchy but less stinky at the end of the day - buy them and get over it. Oxfords with those short 'tab' collars = sweet nectar from heaven - I can wear these to work! Long sleeve cotton shirts = can I roll up the sleeves? Long sleeve silk shirts = forget it, see long sleeve cotton shirts. A sale rack with my favorite brand of chinos on them, in my weird size, in the non-wrinkle style, at 85% off, in black, beige, a couple of greens, and navy = back up the truck and bring me a loan officer!

    Whew! Sorry about the book - but you have to work it every day. When you don't, your parents can tell. Ugh. Nothing like hitting your mid-30s and still getting grief from your Mom about black t-shirts from the Army surplus store. I like them! They're $2 a pop. Thhhpppt!

    ==========================================

    One last thing: I have been doing a home version of the brushing program. It has worked! I recommend talking to a professional, say a neuropsychologist or an occupational therapist before you do anything, but I just take an old boar-hair brush (ouch!) and gently brush my forearms, neck, and shoulders, until 30 seconds before I throw it through the wall. No, seriously, it is like jogging so that when you have to go up a flight of stairs, it is easy compared to the jogging. I 'exercise' my skin so that clothes are comparitvely soft and gentle and pleasant. Relatively. Let me emphasize: this works for me, an adult, who does not mind being a lab rat. No one makes me do it, and I did not do it until I was invested. Results may vary, please consult a professional, no refunds, rebates, coupons, the management denies all responsibility, closed on Saturdays and Tourette's birthday, member FTIC, Copyright 2005 Darin M. Bush
    Darin M. Bush, The Tourette Tiger, author of "Tiger Trails"
    http://www.facebook.com/tourettetiger

  6. #6
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    Default Clothing a real problem - Sensory Defensive

    Brushing is very effective. We use it in our household with the boys because 2 are diagnosed but the jury is out on the other two so far however one of my 5yr olds has huge issues with fabrics and tags, etc so we have started using brushing with him too. We use a surgical brush ie used to clean the doctors hands before going into surgery and they are approximately $1.00 each. Just ensure you partner with an Occupational therapist before trying this at home.
    Janet, mom of 4

    TSFC Homepage


    "Intelligence is always increasing; accommodation allows your intelligence to do what it has always done." Cassie Green, Washington College

  7. #7
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    Default Clothing a real problem - Sensory Defensive

    Good luck on the brushing. I know it will help.

    My 7 year old daughter has OCD. My folks freaked out a bit until I reminded them: her Daddy knows as much about OCD as anyone could wish. Who better to raise her? I mean in general - I hope that did not come across badly. I can smell OCD from across the room, and she has it: full bore, 5th gear, color sorting, anxiety & ritual OCD. I knew it was coming, but it is still a shock sometimes. She is my child, after all.

    My point: these kids are going to be FINE. They are going to grow up in a world where we knew about TS+ before they got it. They are going to grow up in a world where TS jokes are as normal as jokes about men with bad fake hair. I'm not only the President, I'm also a Touretter. Ha ha.
    Darin M. Bush, The Tourette Tiger, author of "Tiger Trails"
    http://www.facebook.com/tourettetiger

  8. #8
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    Default Clothing a real problem - Sensory Defensive

    Brushing sounds like a great idea, I wish I had known about it before now.

    Q: Do you brush down the limbs or up? My son has issued with tags like most but has major issues with pants and shirts.

    What is the technique used?
    PJK

  9. #9
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    Default Clothing a real problem - Sensory Defensive

    It is a very simple technique and we brush downwards on all limbs and back. We learned about brushing through having an occupational therapist work with our oldest. We then had her come as a guest at our chapter meeting. I was her volunteer and she demonstrated for everyone. Consistently brushing downwards and with a "little" pressure... shouldn't tickle... but doesn't hurt. My twins are tiny ie 37 lbs ie still wear toddler sized clothes... and they love the brushing. One needs it and one just wants it.

    The benefit is that the little guy who needs it is not asking for tags to be cut off anymore. He actually asked me today was the brushing so that when he had a tag on his shirt that his brain thought it was the brush? I was impressed that he figured it because I never really talked about why we were brushing him... just used it as a "bonding moment" at bedtime.
    Janet, mom of 4

    TSFC Homepage


    "Intelligence is always increasing; accommodation allows your intelligence to do what it has always done." Cassie Green, Washington College

  10. #10
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    Default Clothing a real problem - Sensory Defensive

    I give credit where due. That little kid is smart.

    Yes, the brushing is an 'exercise' for the skin, so that normal stuff is easy. Once again, an example of something that works because it is useful for everyone, assuming they have skin. :-)

    I would STRONGLY recommend talking to an OT before doing any brushing on a child or teen. For example, I was told that you should NOT brush the abdomen. It does something to your digestion or nervous system that is worse than SD. I don't remember the details, only the emotional sense of 'yuck'. Me personally, I brush my face, which has always been a bad area, even with a beard, but I would guess that is also a potential problem area.

    Good luck!
    Darin M. Bush, The Tourette Tiger, author of "Tiger Trails"
    http://www.facebook.com/tourettetiger

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