7 08/23/2012 parenting Autism

Putting his foot down

I took the kids back to school shopping Tuesday because we had no plans and I knew if we stayed home they would do nothing but taunt, tease and drive each other crazy.

I bought them some essentials – tunics and leggings for Eva, pants and a much sought after Kermit tshirt for Cuyler.
Then on to the shoes!  I love shoes and love buying my kids shoes. I tried to keep school practicality in mind.

Eva’s new shoes


Cam’s shoes

Camshz.JPGBuying school shoes for Cuyler has proven tricky these past few years.

He can’t tie laces yet so finding age appropriate shoes that are laceless isn’t always easy.
Luckily my almost10 year old has wee feet (youth size 1 or 2), so he still fits into preschool category in most stores.
We went to Sportchek and I thought I’d gone to shoe heaven. They had several styles of shoes that were fantastic AND laceless. Reebok, DC, Nike, Saucony, Adidas. So many to choose from.
Of course Cuyler wanted nothing to do with any of them and grabbed a pair of Lego shoes.
That had laces.
He could have chosen 3 other pair of Lego shoes that had a z strap or velcro, but it was the lace ups that he wanted.
Fine. We’ll try them on.
I’m sorry. We don’t have his size in that style. But we have a 1 or 2 in all the other Lego styles.”
Of course you do.
Cuyler was not happy about it. I got them to put a pair of the Lego lace ups on hold at another location and had to bribe him with french fries to get him out of the store sans meltdown.
I was hoping that he would forget about them.

Yesterday morning I found a pair that I thought he would love and bought them, hoping it would redirect his attention from the other shoes and save me a trip out of town for them.
I presented them to him with the most enthusiasm I could.
His response was a despondent “OhhhhNoooo…they’re velcro…I need tie up shoes…

He talked about the lace ups all morning.
Demanded we go buy them.
Insisted he had to have them.
He asked every 15 minutes if we were going to the big mall to get them.
I kept telling him I didn’t think we should buy them because he didn’t know how to tie laces. He kept crying for them, saying he wanted laces.
Then…he said he wanted “to learn how to tie lacing shoes”.

That was all I needed.
These shoes were motivation for him. He learns when he is motivated.
My mum and I loaded the kids into the van and we headed out of town to the big mall.
We bought the shoes. He wore them out of the store and he suddenly looked like an almost10 year old. I don’t think I have seen him in lace up shoes…ever. Maybe as an infant or toddler. Definitely not in recent memory.
We did compromise and came to an agreement that he velcro ones I bought will be his outdoor shoes. The lace ups will be indoor. I couldn’t do that to his EA (send 2 pair of lace ups).
We have a week and a half to work on it before school starts. I know it won’t happen that fast. This is going to be a long process for all of us. This skill is tricky for most kids to learn, never mind a kid with fine motor issues. Cam was in grade 3 when he mastered it. Unlike my generation who knew how to tie their shoes in kindergarten. There was no choice. No velcro shoes, no z straps, and nobody to do it for you. We learned because we had to.
Now it’s his turn. I believe he will learn because I expect him to.
I thought perhaps we should teach him in stages. Break it down into steps, allowing him to master one at a time.
tryingshoes.JPGI emailed his OT through school and posted on my ASD forum looking for strategies that might be helpful.
If all else fails, I found these as an absolute last resort.
Have your kids mastered shoe laces? Do you have any tips for helping us along with this skill?
  • Kelly Campbell Rutherford

    Way to go! Cuyler will get this one too!!! Hmmmm….thanks for reminding me that I need to buy M some GOOD shoes for school. My Value Village sensibilities could stop at her having quality shoes. Now, I need a GREAT pair of runners. I’m going to try running starting in September. Big hug and kiss from M and I xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

  • Amy

    No shoe laces yet…:(
    Good for Cuy!!! Proud of him

  • Julie

    Good luck Christine. If needed, my therapy clinic recommended these:
    They are used by triathletes. Worth a try?

  • Tracey

    Oh, he’s going to master this thing… this is really great, Christine!
    And I hope they all love their shoes!

  • Sara

    Advice? Give yourself lots of time to leave the house.
    I never give myself enough time and then I’m rushing the kids and they feel the pressure to tie their laces quickly and it’s no fun for anyone!!! My boys, age 7 and 9, both know how to tie their laces, but it takes a long time to be proficient and quick. They were both motivated to learn because they wanted a particular pair of shoes. Good luck to Cuyler. I know he can do it!

  • Sara

    God I love Cuy. He just makes me melt with every story you tell. He’ll get it – he will because he wants those shoes. (I love those too!). Let us know how it’s going!

  • Julie

    that is so great, non? i find he’s being very self-motivated which must be great…although i’m sure it’s bumpy.
    my girls found a book they liked about tying laces and it was one i approved of(loop, swoop and ?pull?). i went through about 3 or 4 books that showed the most ridiculous way of tying laces where you just tie the “bunny ears” together and that is the worst way to do it.
    he’ll get it! i know he will!

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