As I discussed previously, for the past couple of ill-timed winter weeks, Ash has been pushing his shirt-sleeves up to his elbows, his pant-legs up to his knees, and, at fewer points during the day, also his shirts up to his ribcage. It doesn’t matter how tight or loose the fabric is, or what the texture is. I assumed, for lack of anything more frustration-relieving to do, that this was due to Ash entering a period when those parts of his body were tactile-hypersensitive, and the feeling of fabric on those areas of skin was annoying, irritating, perhaps even painful. It’s so often hard to tell, with him….even FOR him. Ash had been having bouts of audio and tactile hypersensitivity in general, recently*, so this particular pattern wasn’t exactly out of place in the phase.
* We have had to try getting into the habit of him telling us what our voices sound like to him / asking us what our voices are supposed to sound like / us telling him what our voices are supposed to sound like / him telling us what volume he needs us to speak at, if we’re not trying to yell, if things seem amiss once they reach his ears….so that he doesn’t think we’re shouting at him when we’re just speaking at a normal, low volume, and wonder why we’re upset. We have also had to adopt a new policy when it comes to hugs.
I’ve tried asking him why he was pushing his clothes up, why it was better to feel colder than to have clothes in those places. He always did something like say, “Oh! Oh! My knees are cold, you are RIGHT!”….and then he’d pull his pant-legs down, and two seconds later hike them back up.
Tonight, I got a little further.
How he answered: “It was too distracting, so I had to make it the right size for the arms and legs and tummy parts that have to move for a hard time.”
Translation: I have to push the clothes up until they fall at the right length to not make more difficult, through the distracting feeling of them on my skin, my efforts at controlling the movement of my arms/hands, legs/feet and tummy/waist/hips.
Ok then. He is recognizing a sensory challenge, and coming up with a way to cope with it. It might not be the most weather-appropriate or socially inconspicuous coping mechanism, but I am still impressed.