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Decreasing the Struggle: Planning for Challenges

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

Autistic college student, Sammy, is tired of what others might deem as insignificant discomforts that are getting in the way of his having a decent day. He felt our coaching hour together would be a success if we zeroed in on the circumstances that are derailing good days.

Absolute Biggest Challenge: Uncomfortable Clothing

Having comfortable clothing options was a big deal for Sammy. When surveying his closet, he found numerous uncomfortable clothing options and a few “feel good” ones. Some things did not fit correctly. Autistic clients explain that they can tell the difference between several pairs of “identical” shirts, pants, shorts…any article of clothing. As an example, inseams are not all sewn exactly the same and my clients say they notice. That slightly improper fit can become a preoccupation, making it difficult to concentrate during a conversation, when taking an exam, or completing a work task.

To get started with the closet do-over, Sammy decided to select clothing brands in which he’d already had success. Our first step was to select a few items made by those brands. We talked about every article of clothing, including underwear and socks and agreed to meet at the store to pick his selections.

What is his current status on clothing? Especially important on a tougher day, Sammy now has several options from which to select. And, a future goal is to find new homes for the uncomfortable clothing.

Other Challenges

As you can see from my visual, there are other obstacles such as “misbehaving” hair, disagreeable noises or smells, and last minute changes to Sammy’s schedule. We identified multiple challenges and are working on finding solutions to the things that CAN be controlled, at least to some extent.

On The Road To Better

Can Sammy control everything? None of us can. But Sammy can prepare by making his body and brain as relaxed as possible so that he starts his day feeling comfortable. As he stated at the end of our session, Sammy knows he needs to find a good counselor and work on other obstacles but this exercise headed him in the right direction. And, feeling more in control of his life made a HUGE impact.

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