Children with autism may develop routines and preferences around their clothes. This can be absolutely fine, but it can also present difficulties in the future. For example, when the child starts school and needs to wear a uniform, or when a favourite item becomes too small or damaged.
It can be beneficial to teach the child to wear a variety of clothing early on in their life, and allow them to wear their choice of clothing soon after.
If your child wears a limited variety of clothing there are some simple strategies you can follow to help them wear a larger variety.
- Initially select items that are not too dissimilar to the clothes they already wear, for example, similar colours or similar styles
- When you first ask the child to wear the item, be very clear with how long you want them to wear it for. This initially may be 1 or 2 seconds
- Gradually build up the time that the child wears the item for, aiming for full days eventually
- Only start teaching your child to wear different clothes when you are ready, and when you have time
- Depending on your child, it might be worth choosing one new clothing item at a time
- Ensure that as soon as they have changed, and kept the item on for how long you have asked, that they receive something very motivating! If this is a difficult task for them, make it worth their while!
When your child is able to wear different clothes throughout the week, and wear them all day, allow them to choose their clothes. Just make sure that every now and again they have a new item to try – this is a skill that is likely to need to be practiced regularly.
Later on, things such as choice of clothing for the weather, age, which colours go together, fashions etc can be taught.
Any questions? Get in touch http://earlyactionforautism.co.uk/contact/