Special Needs Parenting: Buying School Uniform for a Child with Additional Needs

Miriam Gwynne by Miriam Gwynne Additional Needs

Miriam Gwynne

Miriam Gwynne

Full time mum and carer for two truly wonderful autistic twins. I love reading, writing, walking, swimming and encouraging others. Don’t struggle a...

My almost 9 year old lives in jogging trousers and loose t-shirts. It took us so long to even get to this stage.

At one point he went 378 days in a row where the only top he would wear was his school jumper...all day everyday and even through the night!

He is not able to speak so I had no idea why he did that but now we have the absolute opposite...he screams and attacks us the second he sees his school uniform.

I have had almost seven weeks of respite from it but now I have to get him used to it all over again.

Currently, we are still at the screaming stage whenever he sees so much as the school logo!

He has grown since June when he last tolerated that red jumper and white polo shirt, and I can not get him to try on the next size.

His school uniform is only available direct from his school. It is expensive and can not be returned if the wrong size is ordered.

So I measured him and had to hope that what they have sent fits. I risk being beaten up if I attempt to try it on.

My son is not yet able to independently use a bathroom. In fact he has no idea what to even do.

This means traditional school trousers are not suitable as we need extra room for bulky NHS nappies. He has never once in his life tolerated smart trousers anyway due to sensory difficulties which mean they actually feel painful to him to wear.

He will be happy to know he gets to go to school in black jogging trousers again. My problem is he needs some new ones.

Have you ever tried taking an uncooperative, severely autistic, non verbal child into a changing room to try on clothes? Actually just getting him inside the shop in the first place is traumatic enough.

So I buy the size above last year and hope for the best once again.

Socks? Well, he won't keep those on anyway so I can just buy and pray. I will even try characters I think he may recognise but I already know that isn't going to actually help.

He will scream at the very sight of them like I am trying to kill him.

Shoes? Oh my word! I don't even know where to start. I 'sort of' know his shoe size but as yet in almost 9 years no-one has ever properly managed to fully measure his feet.

He is not going to stand on any measure for anyone and not even for me at home. Shoe shops are his idea of utter hell. I cheat and check the ones he (sort of) wears just now and buy a pair the same size from the local supermarket.

I buy and hope.

It is truly all I can do.

I can't even think about a coat, or a bag (he will never pick one up or put on his back so it will just be handed to his taxi) and I am eternally grateful there is no tie or formal shirt at his special needs school.

I sat his uniform out to start preparing him. He tried to throw it out the window. Then he tried flushing it down the toilet. Then he opened the front door and put it outside.

I sense a battle ahead.

If I thought buying the uniform was tough then actually getting it on him is going to be even worse!

I wonder if I could just send the uniform into school in the bag he doesn't want either for staff to try?

I've bought it all. I just doubt he will wear it.

That's the challenge of school uniform for some special needs families.



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