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Q&A: Behavior When Getting Dressed—Sensory or Personality?


Should I be concerned with my son’s behavior when getting dressed? He is a very meticulous boy, but his father and I both are very organized people. I find it consumes him with certain things. For example, his bed must be made a certain way for him to lie down and go to sleep. He needs his shoes to be tied extremely tight because he doesn’t want them to fall off. The hardest part is dressing him for his games. He despises his uniform and always has a tantrum putting it on and yet he plays fantastic in it. Can you help me?


It is possible your son’s behaviors are due to sensory processing issues, but it’s also possible these issues with clothing are just a personality trait or personal preference. I recommend filling out the Sensory Symptoms Checklist found under the “Free Printable Forms” heading on our website.

If you see a pattern of over- or under-responsiveness, I recommend finding an occupational therapist in your area who can do a thorough evaluation of his sensory processing needs and develop an appropriate treatment plan, including a sensory diet, for your son. Because it sounds like his preferences are affecting his quality of life, I definitely recommend talking about this with his pediatrician as well to rule out other types of disorders that can have similar symptoms.

Best Wishes,