Clothes off....?!!

Yesenia - posted on 12/08/2009 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My 4 year old autistic son takes off his clothes at home whenever his has a chance. Some days we have to dress him about 6 to 12 times a day. He is non-verbal and he is not potty trained (well that is a question for another time). The Dr. tells me this is "normal", but normal does dress their kid so many times. Any help would be appreciated.

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Abigail - posted on 06/09/2012

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Thank you thank you thank you!! Not only for your perspective and encouragement, but for taking the time to write and to write so quickly-- I really cannot tell you how much I appreciate it! It is just so hard, as you know-- she will be 4 in sept, and it very good about peeing in the potty, as long as I remember to prompt her-- but I guess that is just the best way to cope with it for right now-- just stick with the special pj's when she wants to play alone--
warm wishes to you and yours, and I promise to send along any breakthroughs we come across-- again, just cannot thank you enough!!

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Lisa - posted on 06/10/2012

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my son is 6 and a half. He has a fit if he get anything wet on his clothes. I sometimes change his clothes countless times during the day. I have finally made him help with hanging up his clean shirts. I thought well maybe if he had a clue about laundry maybe he won't change clothes. that trick didn't work at all. I think he like to do laundry

Rhiannon - posted on 06/09/2012

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it does work. she was never alone in her room with out her special pj's. the overalls failed over time, she figured out how to undo them. I ended up sewing a bunch of full length pyjamas together at the waist and then a slit at the neck that went about 1/2 way down the back and put ribbons at the top of the slit. ribbons are faster and easier to deal with then sewing zippers. The great news though is that at 5 she is now in her regular pj's. i can't remember her last smearing. it would have to have been over 6 months ago. So they do stop, it does get better. she is still in diapers, she will not have a bowel movement on the toilet, she is using the toilet to pee, but that's it. Still no more messes. so have hope. There is a light at the end of this difficult tunnel.

Abigail - posted on 06/09/2012

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OMG!! I have been going out of my mind for the last few months-- my daughter with ASD does EXACTLY this behavior! She has NO sensory issues with clothing-- and does not do it at school-- it is ONLY when she is alone in her room, and unfortunately, since she is a twin (they are 3 and a half) I often miss the BM, and then have a lot of clean up to do-- since your post is from a few years back, I do not know if you will get this-- but...did it end? did your solutions work? I don't know if I should work with her therapists to try to teach her not to do this- or just to change her into outfits like you suggest (we use "escapeejays" which are great right now)-- but any more info you have would be more than helpful-- I have been at wits end...and yours was the first post that described her issue exactly-- THANK YOU!!

Rhiannon - posted on 12/10/2009

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My daughter does this all the time.Unfortually it didn't end with etting naked. She only does it when she is playing alone in her room, And always before she needs to have a bowel movement. I always put overalls on her really tight on the sholders so she can't take them off. I sewed a bunch of her sweats together at the waist and put a zipper in the back so she can't indo it on her own. I did the same for her pyjamas. I also made overalls out of fleece material and made the straps button in the back.

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now I feel better. mine does that too. we simply tell people that he isn't shy. lol. we call him naked boy. mine is 6 now so the dressing him 6-12 times a day is behind us (knock on wood) but every once in a while naked-boy shows up. lol

Renee - posted on 12/09/2009

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Yes children on the spectrum prefer to be naked. Your son probably has some sensory issues with clothing. Imagine wearing an itchy wool sweater that maybe how he feels in clothing. It did take some time and therapy to get my son to remain clothed while out in public. You may want to initially try to get him to at least wear a pull up at home all the time. I would not insist on the clothes unless you are leaving the house and tell him we dress when we go out, cotton is better than synthetics. This worked for my son and he is now 8 years old and understands that we wear clothes outside of the house. At home he just wears underwear and shorts so he is appropriately covered. It sounds like you are the beginning of your journey with autism. I would highly recommend a PECS picture exchange communication system - pictures with words on them that show actions. You can get virtually anything on them. Google PECS and you will get a ton of results - you can even get them for free on some websites. Please do not punish your child for not tolerating the clothes, it takes time and Patience throughout all of this. Believe me when I tell you that taking off his clothes is the least of your worries. The PECS will help tremendously with speech too. I would write everything you say on cards or paper that also helped my son - he could read but not talk at that point. Good luck to you.

Betty - posted on 12/09/2009

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my 4 yrold does the same thing. and yes her doctors say its the normal for her condition (autism). i personally tap her bottom and tell her no thats bad. and of course i know she wont remember that but she does understand at point and times. it works most of time. i also do a few seconds/minute of a time out when(needed). sorry im not much help but this is what i do. good luck.and remember your child loves u and doesnt know y theu r the way they r.

Samza - posted on 12/09/2009

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my boy did the same thing for years he's now 5 (and also non-verbal) but even as early as this year at kinder he was stripping his clothes!! Before my boy was potty train i couldn't keep any kind of nappy on him and a trick i learnt was to put the nappy on backward with the tabs at his back. He cant reach the tabs and so long as it's fairly tight he shouldn't be able to wiggle out of it. To keep clothes on him my hubby and i made sure that there was no tags or loose cotton touching him. and he responds well to visuals and loves stickers, so we made a reward chart, every 5mins that he could keep his clothes on he would get a sticker and so on. Eventually he got used to the stimuli of his clothes and forgot that he was frustrated with them. And don't worry even though it's embarrassing it is a phase and with persistence he will get out of the habit.

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