Thursday, October 1, 2009


Shirts have never been a problem – like most kids, boys anyway, my son has a few hundred T-shirts (or so it seems). Thankfully, there are not many occasions when a young man has to wear a shirt and tie. Those times when such attire is de rigueur are daunting. Never mind that my son can not tie a Windsor knot; how many kids his age can?

The buttons themselves of a dress shirt are problematic. I’m not sure he has yet gotten out of the house on any of those more formal occasions with the top button buttoned – not even for the prom last spring. We (Dad) would tighten the tie as best we could to hide the open collar, and send him on his way.

The other problem with buttons for my son, has been lining up the button with the correct button hole. In itself, this would not be a big deal. Who has never mis-buttoned a shirt or coat? However, sometimes people with social communications issues don’t notice that they are buttoned wrong; my son would have left the house more than once not realizing it, or at least believing that it was not a big deal. There were many times that we would help him re-button, or (as he got older) tell him to re-button. A more-or-less harmless statement like, “Hon, your shirt is buttoned wrong; fix it, okay?” would bring out the worst in my son. As I have written before, he often is not receptive to criticism, tending to internalize well-meant remarks as an almost personal affront. My son would sometimes respond non-verbally with a whine or a groan. That was two strikes against us (or the shirt, I’m not sure which): the criticism, and the fact that he had to undo and redo a task that taxed his fine motor skills. Over the years, he’s learned to be more careful the first time; he also is both more aware now if it happens and quicker to correct it.

One more note on pants and T-Shirts: the tag almost always goes in the back! After several painful lessons (perhaps more for me than for him), sweat pants, gym shorts, T-shirts, etc. generally get put on correctly the first time.

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