This week the day came that I thought would NEVER come – my sensory sensitive, sweatpants wearing, t-shirt donning son wanted to shop for a TIE and “regular” pants with buttons and a dress shirt and a hat! We went to the store to look for a few other things and he found a cool hat he loved (he called it “dapper”) and he asked if we could look for his prom outfit. Not only does he have Aspergers and sensory issues with clothes, he is a TEENAGE BOY – begging me to shop even when I said that we could do it another day closer to the prom. So, of course I gave in and we shopped. My 13 year old daughter, his sister said, “my little boy is growing up – sniff, sniff”.
In elementary school, Daniel had to wear uniforms. I was SO thankful that the uniform dress code included sweatpants because Daniel couldn’t stand to wear the rough khaki pants with buttons and a belt. So we spent 5 years in polo shirts tucked in to sweat pants with the pants hiked up to his ribcage (can you say Steve Urkel from Family Matters?). We also had to find special socks that didn’t have that little ridge in the toes and Velcro tennis shoes (which got harder and harder to find as his feet got bigger). His standard uniform at home was very similar – just replace the polo shirts with t-shirts.
A few years later, I noticed that most of the kids in middle school youth group at church were wearing jeans and I asked him if he’d like to give jeans a try. He said he would try them so we went to the store and found “cool” jeans, which meant carpenter jeans so he’d have lots of pockets to put his stuff in. Of course, he never actually wore the jeans anywhere so I gave up on that. Since then, he has worn elastic waist pants and t-shirts and Crocs with no socks.
So, imagine my amazement when he wanted to dress up and look “dapper” for the prom. He is so excited to be going to the homeschool prom in April. He can’t wait to dance (like he did at the robotics competition social). His Aspergers gives him an advantage in one way – he will probably be the first teenager out on the dance floor and he will not be one bit embarrassed to dance and hop and sing with abandon. You gotta love that kind of freedom and that kind of joy! Apparently, getting to dance at the prom is worth wearing pants without elastic and a tie around your neck.