Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wardrobe Malfunctions and Functions
Over the past 5 years, I have totally changed my wardrobe. Working with children on the Spectrum has made buying clothes a very concious decision.
My goal is to look professional, while still being able to get on the floor and move around quickly. I wear only clothes that can be washed, not dry cleaned. It is easy to get 'bodily fluids' on clothes. :) I rarely wear jeans. Wear pants that you can easily move in--I have even found SOME without elastic waists. (Meijer's had a great pair and I bought all 3 colors.) In the warmer weather, I wear gaucho or capri pants. If it is very hot, the longer "board shorts" work well. If possible comfortable shoes are a plus, but may not be very fashionable. Keeping a pair of gym shoes in the car will work, just in case. When I am inside a home, I take my shoes off and put on non-skid slippers.
Shirts without buttons are highly recommended. Some kids can fixate on buttons or they can get torn off, either accidentally or when a child gets frustrated and lashes out. I also try to wear shirts that are short sleeved, with no "v" necks. Lower necklines are easy to pull on, thus being torn or stretched out. I then wear a jacket over the shirt. The jacket usually has pockets where I can keep my cell, kleenex, or any other items I may need and adds to the professional appearance. After about 15-20 minutes of PLAY, the jacket usually comes off. If I leave a PLAY session without my bangs being straightened by sweat, I wonder if I could've done something different.
Other than the same pearl posts in my ears and my watch, I wear NO jewelry (even my wedding ring) because it either will scratch the kids or, if it is delicate, it gets broken. I have an inexpensive Timex watch that is about as flat as I could find and has a leather band. I also have to be sure to put my glasses away, unless I'm with higher level kids who want to read.
In Summer, I keep a bathing suit (with racer back straps, to avoid having the straps pulled down) and towel in my car, as some of my clients have pools and/or lakes, and swimming is a wonderful PLAY activity. In Winter, I keep boots and ski bibs in my car, in case some of my higher level kids want to PLAY outside. I try to stay inside with kids who have not reached Level 5 or are not very solid in their lower levels (1-3). It is too easy for them to get distracted, but if there is an activity (such as swimming) that requires them to "be with" me, then I will jump in and have a blast!