Developing ICT skills and networks of support.
Other Mencap sites
My 18 year old son, Fred, has a diagnosis of Autism and Severe Learning Difficulties.
My problem is that for the past 5 months he has been systematically destroying his clothes – usually by tearing, but also by biting off buttons and breaking zips. He has also been taking laces out of his shoes and has also torn the insoles out of his shoes.
was with me at home over the summer holiday.
At a rough guess, I would say we have had to throw away c.£500 worth of clothes over the past 5 months.
I am concerned that this level of destruction is unsustainable, and that we need to find a solution to this increasingly concerning problem. I would really appreciate any advice or support you may be able to provide, not only in terms of finding ways of preventing this destructive behaviour, but also in terms of finding clothes and shoes which are particularly hard-wearing. There is no way that either Fred or I could sustain a at-least-1-t-shirt-a-day plus miscellaneous jumpers, trousers, coats and shoes habit, and I am really at a loss as to what we might do.
A freind of mine went on an understanding behaviour course. she said it was really useful. I will try and find our who ran it
It was about trying to understand triggers and what the person is trying to tell you. It may be about him wanting to choose what he wears or trying to tell you that his clothes are uncomfortable or something incedibly simple like a change of washing powder - he might not like the smell
Sorry to hear about this. I can slightly relate to it on a smaller scale. My son has down syndrome, hemiplegia and is on the autistic spectrum. His main issues seem to focus on his sensory processing disorder and when he is having a bad patch this is all consuming for him from lying on the floor, refusing to move, to smearing, to ripping clothes - all very upsetting to see.
I bought him unwittingly some M and S cotton boxer shorts and he started ripping them off. After a few days of this, I assumed that the material was irritating him. I found some t-shirt material boxers instead and this seems to have done the trick. He is also fussy about any label in clothes as he finds them all "itchy" even if they're not touching his skin. I would recommend reading up on sensory processing disorder - you can google it - the previous lady was right - it could be material, the smell or the feel of the fabric.
Maybe you could get some small samples of different materials in a sensory box and find out which ones he hates the feel of and which ones he is more accepting of. It's not easy at all but there is a solution - it just takes some time of being a sensory detective to find out what is the trigger to this.
Good luck and if you have any tips in your search please pass them back
Was a while ago I know - but how are you getting on JCT?
A young woman I know has a similar problem. She is destroying her clothes daily, tearing them into strips to make wrist bands which she winds up her arms. She was prevented from destroying matresses by getting an indestructible one and this is the new behaviour. I am looking for indestructible clothing online this evening without success. Any ideas?
You can find a large variety of in-destructive cloths on amazon etc. Like clothe for tracking or waterproof. But rather then this I would rather suggest you to precisely notice his behavior. And find out which kind of cloths he likes. Most of the time in Autism children are not able to convey their feeling. Which makes the mothers responsibility more tough. I remember one of the mom quotes - The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom.
0808 808 1111
Lines open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
Charity number 222377 (England, and Wales); SC041079 (Scotland)