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!

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PLAYing with Passion

Autism, Floortime, PLAY Project