There is no reasoning or logic with autism. Where did Jacob get the idea that not wearing clothes is an option? There is nothing I can say that will make him think otherwise. Sometimes it is amusing and the only thing I can do is just shake my head. Other times, it is flat out maddening how he’ll refuse to leave an article of clothing on. How hard can it be? Wake him up, get him dressed, give him meds, get him in the van, drive to SON Valley. Some days it just doesn’t work that way. He can take all clothes off but he cannot put one article of clothing on. There are times when that fact alone is overwhelming and we just stay home. Although he isn’t allowed to even pretend nudity is okay! Believe me, I’m putting clothes on him lickity split! Just last week I got him dressed in sweat pants and a sharp looking hooded sweatshirt. He wasn’t exactly keen on the shirt – he snatched it from me and tossed it across the room but wouldn’t settle on anything else so I convinced him to wear it. Thirty minutes later I went to tell him it was time to go and he waltzes out of his room with only pants and shoes on. It is 35 degrees outside and he has removed the sweatshirt and undershirt and was all set! At least, his lower half was clothed! He didn’t get to stay home that day. He chose another shirt, was content to wear it, and kept it on all day! Score!
Jacob follows some instructions well. Some. If we are about to go somewhere or when it is time for bed, I’ll say, “go use the bathroom”, and chances are he will follow through and head that way. I have to be careful when and where I say it though, because if we are in the kitchen, he may have his clothes off before he gets through the den. Sometimes he will take everything off, just to take care of business. Clothes just aren’t important to him and he doesn’t have the mindset that there is anything wrong with not wearing them. Don’t get me wrong, this is not an everyday occurrence and I am truly thankful it isn’t a daily battle.
There are two times of day Jacob is more likely to be in the buff: 1) first thing in the morning after he wakes. He often chooses to be free as a bird after going to the bathroom. Underwear has been spotted in various places around our home, such as the kitchen table, den floor, on a lamp shade, etc. You get the idea. It really is comical to walk through the house and find his clothing in random places. But don’t ignore underwear on the table. It can only mean one thing – he is presently commando and needs help! It is not unusual for him to come find us with nothing on and a pair (or two) of underwear in his hand. And then, 2) the other time of day streaking is a strong possibility is in the evening around bed time. Why wait until you’re near pajamas when you can drop your clothes wherever you are, right?
Often when we have guests in our home, I feel the need to forewarn them just in case the mood strikes him. And struck it has. I never like to hear, ‘Jacob doesn’t have any clothes on!’ But this is our life and thankfully understanding family and friends surround and support us.
I often think of the song Ray Stevens released in the 70s making streaking popular. Good thing Jacob isn’t streaking in public places! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtzoUu7w-YM
I have been thinking we need a sign at our front door. After all, signs are used to communicate a variety of things. Warning: Wet Floor; Beware of Dog; Watch Your Step; Danger: Hazardous Material; and my favorite from a local neighborhood – Slow, Retirement Living, Drive Carefully. Thinking this might be helpful posted at our home and would offer an explanation:
Warning: A Streaker Lives Here