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Removing Clothes

My son is removing his clothes and shoes in the car and at school. How can I get him to stop?

My Opinion:
This can be sensory, behavioral, defiance, task avoidance, new learning, attention-getting/showing off, or several other things. Your OT eval will be a good place to look for OT issues. But if your son has never had issues with clothing before, it might not be a sensory thing.

My son does this too. It is because he recently learned how to do it, so he likes to "show off". Plus he gets our attention when he does it, and if we try to ignore him, he will bring us the clothes and ask us to put them back on, then they just come right back off again LOL, he has us trained!!

Another thing is that your son might just now be having sensory issues because this diet is removing the dullness of his senses from before. He might like the new sensation of no clothes and the feel of things on his bare skin, or now he might not like the old sensation of too many clothes. You can also look for temperature sensitivity, too hot with that many clothes on. Can you find a day when you won't be too upset if he wears summer clothes even tho it seems a little too cool for them, dress him in relatively cool clothes, tell him to keep them on and not take them off, and see what happens? Maybe he will keep them on, then you will know he is just sensitive to being too hot. Also you can try looser clothes and shoes, especially if you have been making him wear multiple layers, thick fabrics, or high-tops or other heavily formed/molded shoes.

Also, I remember a little of your previous post about possible school overload issues. Does he only do this in car on the way to school, or to other places too? Perhaps he has discovered that removing articles of clothing has enabled him to miss a little school, or divert the teacher's attention away from making him do unpleasant or overloading tasks, or just things he does not like to do, and making her put his clothes back on. That way he can get out of doing something he does not want to do. So the act of diverting attention to put his clothes back on is resulting in the desired response/reward. Does he get upset if he is allowed to keep them off, or does he want someone to put them back on right away? If you think this might be true that he is trying to get out of an unpleasant task, you can have him wear overalls or one-piece clothes for a few days, and tell the teachers that if he removes his shoes or tries to remove his clothes [presumably overalls will take longer to remove], to either stop him first but not let him stop the task, or if he succeeds in removing shoes or clothes before he can be stopped, to just make him continue the task until it is completed, without clothes/shoes, and when he is done, then she can put them back on him.

Also, don't put his shoes on until you get him to school, let him have no shoes in the car. I don't know where you live, but I learned with my own son that sometimes a little experience with cold feet is a wonderful teacher, now he won't remove his shoes until we are back inside the house, plus he knows that shoes generally equals going out which generally equals having fun, so now he equates shoes with fun and warm feet. But he still won't wear them in the house, which is okay with me.

If it is a sensory issue, brushing can help, but some kids hate the feel of the brush, and it will make things worse. You can determine that for your own child. You can also remove tags now if that helps. Or put on his favorite clothes, if he has any that would be favorites, and see if they still come off. At home, just let him walk around with nothing on, see if he brings you the clothes and asks you to put them back on. Or teach him how to put them back on himself, then make him do it if he is wanting you to do it for him. Nothing like making him do the work he is creating, to help him learn not to do it anymore. But if he has just learned how to take off his clothes and shoes, it could be just that he enjoys his new skill. Or he can be in the "terrible twos" period of defiance, even if he is older, he might just now be in that stage.

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