Thursday 14 September 2017

A big jump forward with a back to front top

To the rest of the world, David has his top on backwards.  But that's not what I see. This was the sight that greeted me as I came down the stairs to make lunch this last weekend.  It made me grin and I picked up my boy and tickled him in congratulations. 

If you've ever frequented toddler groups then seeing a child with a back to front top is nothing new. It's not unusual in the flurry to get out of the house in the morning for mumma to dress the little ones in rush. And sometimes the top or trousers end up back to front or inside out.  Crumbs, on some of those early mummy days when I was walking around in a zombie like sleep deprived state, finding my knickers were inside out didn't surprise me.  But it's far less common for a nearly seven year old boy to be dressed like this.

Most kids are more like David's younger sister. Jane started school this week and apart from help with a few buttons she put on her whole uniform herself. In fact she'd also got it out ready for herself the night before. And while this is pretty helpful, in our home it's fairly unique.  And that's because Jane is the only child in our house of five, who is neurotypical.  Both her brothers are autistic.

Being autistic is part of who my boys are.  They see, interact and interpret our world in a different way to the majority of us.  For David this means the simple task of changing clothes is not straight forward.

As David is still pretty much pre-verbal (he uses very few words and not many that are recognisable to anyone outside the family or school), I can only guess why it's challenging.  But here are some of best guesses based on his autistic behaviours.

1.  Getting changed is a change.  What's wrong with the status quo?  David is comfortable in the clothes or PJs he is in and so why change it?  David doesn't easily relate sequence so saying we need to get dressed to go to school doesn't bother him.  He's not that naffed about going to school, so what's the point?

2. It's not interesting. David is focused on whatever he is doing and can't see the point in stopping that to get changed. Why put the iPad down or this book down when it's completely occupying his mind?  David's attempt to get changed are often thwarted by either having to hold a book or iPad or if we put it to the side, him constantly getting up to find whatever he was playing with.  He'd get one leg into his pants and then stand up to go find a book... and voila.. he's naked... again. 

3. David doesn't copy.  He's in his own world a lot of the time, and enjoying it.  But this usually means he doesn't learn by copying.  He rarely learns from his siblings or anyone else unless he is being specifically taught something.  So everyone else getting dressed or undressed means nothing to David. 

3. Holding and sorting his body to get his clothes on isn't easy.  It's instruction after instruction to help him.  And his motor skills are a little weak so he drops things easily too. Hold the trousers, hold the top. Hold them open.  Leg in.  Other leg. Pull... and so on. 

4. Organising the clothes to go on is a mystery to him. David has on understanding of how to sequence tasks unless taught either.  He will pick up a top and try to get his head and arms in through whichever hole is nearest him.  Have you ever tried to get your head and arms through the sleeve of a t-shirt.  David has... many times.  We're trying to help him with this by laying his clothes on the floor like they need to go on in front of him.

And that's what had happened in the morning before I came down the stairs. I'd left David in the lounge with his clothes laid out on the floor.  I didn't put him under any pressure - it was the weekend, we had no reason to rush.  and I asked him a few times 'David, PJs off - clothes on'.

There had been little movement... mostly a lot of skipping.  He was playing on the iPad and I thought I'd have to start pointing to things to get his attention, so I went to the loo.  While I was there, Jane came in, as four years old seem to do, to tell me something extremely important about hear drawing, that couldn't wait until I was out of the toilet (one day I will wee on my own again.. one day).  I always have the door open anyway so I can hear the kids.

By the time Jane had explained about the how her fairy was actually a princess and I'd finished and made my way down the stairs, there was David.

Sat in the hall, pants on, shorts on (backwards), top on (backwards) munching his way through a pack of Sunbites I'd opened up to share out for the lunch. I stopped two steps from the bottom and just absorbed his little victory for a moment.  Because although the rest of the world see a kid with his top on back to front, I see a little leap forward.  And it makes me smile.  Just as any achievement from any of my kids. 

The rest of this week has consisted of school clothes, and getting these on is a drama in itself due to what it means. But we've had a few more back to front PJs.. each one a success that may one day mean he changes all by himself without fret or worry.  

If you've got a special little achievement from your kids you can share them with me 
and my readers through my #madeupmilestones series. 

You Baby Me Mummy The Reading Residence


  1. Well Done David!! It's the little victories, that others wouldn't notice that mean the most sometimes! #coolmumclub

  2. What an amazing post. I can feel how proud you are through your writing. Thank you for sharing this moment. #TheListLinky

  3. That's just wonderful ! well done David.

  4. Well done to David! Definitely a leap forward, I can see why you're so proud x Thanks for sharing with #WotW

  5. I hear you about the weeing ;) plus, today is the first day my 10 year old girl has worn clothes for the whole day, wilingly got herself dressed this morning without prompting, and I'm still in shock! *wonders wistfully if it will last* #TheMMLinky

    1. We can but dream.. every time is like *yes* Thanks for commenting Steph.

  6. That's a huge victory! If I wanted my Ajax to dress himself for school we would be better off not going to bed! He forgets what he's doing, half way through x

  7. Ah well done David this is wonderful. It's lovely to hear about his great little milestones. Thank you for linking up to #TriumphantTales, hope to see you again tomorrow.

  8. Well done David, that is so good to hear. I can relate to all that you say, I even have an adult now that refuses to get dressed unless he has to leave the house. Yesterday he came down stairs with his bottom hanging out of his pyjamas (seriously!) I told him to go back and get changed and he did...eventually. Clothes are the bane of my life sometimes, especially in the morning when there is school, and from the outside it would look so strange with my having to help/encourage my 12 yr old while the 10 and 7 yr old's dress themselves. (although the 7 year old is an expert in getting clothes on backwards, you should see him when he comes home from school when they've had p.e.!)

  9. I absolutely love this! I smiled when I saw it on Facebook. It's such a huge milestone - well done David! Thanks for joining in #TheMMLinky this week x

  10. That's a lovely achievement for David. Well done to him for getting dressed himself. Definitely a proud moment for you :-) #WotW

  11. It's a good step forward and a backwards shirt never hurt anyone. You can always tell if my son has done PE at school - he gets it all wrong.

  12. Well done David, what a lovely achievement #SmallStepsAA

  13. Reading this is like living a morning in our house. Everything you say about getting dressed is so true for us too. I also lay out the clothes on the floor. I'm yet to have my son put anything on without my moaning though. Well done David that is such a big step and a great help for your mum too.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements

  14. Well done David, it's a big step foward for him x #TheMMLinky #SmallStepsAA


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