Mr. Sensitive vs. His New Winter Coat

For Christmas my sister bought Mr. Sensitive a really nice, new winter coat.  It was thick and warm and had Mr. Sensitive’s favorite race cars on it.  He looked at the pictures on his coat and returned to playing with his new Christmas toys.  I thanked my sister for the expensive gift.  No big deal, we thought.  He can try it on later.  Were we ever wrong.

Mr. Sensitive has Sensory Processing Disorder.  He lives in the world of too loud, too scratchy, too bright and visually busy.  We thought he’d like his new warm fleecy jacket.  Nope.  Mr. Sensitive is now 4 years old and has been wearing the same winter jacket for two years now.  (I bought it big.)  He is also highly anxious and reluctant to change.  Honestly, changing underwear is a big deal in his world.

We received the jacket at our big family Christmas dinner at my parent’s place.  It had just snowed, toys were everywhere, and everyone was having a wonderful time.  Fortunately we waited until after my sister left before we tried on the new jacket.  Mr. Sensitive put an arm in the sleeve, and announced, “I don’t like it.”

“Just try it on,” Hubby and I encouraged.

“I did.”

Where do we go from here?  I did not want to ask my sister to exchange it because she was already exchanging something she bought for the baby, and I did not want to seem ungrateful.

We tried chasing him with it, holding him still and zipping it up, and refusing to let him go outside until he wore it.  Of course, nothing worked.  I brought the jacket home.  I now felt incredibly guilty about this expensive jacket my sister bought and Mr. Sensitive would not wear.  All I could think of was the wasted money and how she had searched for this jacket.  I couldn’t ask her to return it.

So I hung it up near the front door.  Every couple weeks we’d take it down and ask Mr. Sensitive to try it on.  He’d get an arm in and them take it off.  His old jacket was looking ridiculously tiny, sleeves were riding up and his belly was beginning to show.  Luckily it was a pretty mild winter.

One day in March I asked Mr. Sensitive to come walk the dogs with me.  He could throw sticks.  It was a warm-ish late winter day (it is Canada, after all).  Mr. Sensitive left the house wearing a heavy fleece sweatshirt.  I carried the jacket.

We walked around a field, throwing sticks for the dogs.  The wind picked up.  Mr. Sensitive attempts to hide his hands up the sleeves of his sweatshirt.

“Would you like me to help you put your jacket on?” I asked.


Bingo.  Both arms in, jacket now covering his back.

“Would you like me to help you zip it up?”


Whoot! We have jacket on.  The wind is blowing harder.  Mr. Sensitive does not like the wind.

“Would you like me to help you put the hood on?”


I struggle to remain calm, but inside I’m jumping for joy.  The jacket is actually on, sleeves covering arms, torso enrobed in fuzzy fleece, and hood is up.  Houston, we have lift off!

“Do you feel warm and cozy in your new jacket?”


Whew! That only took THREE months.  Thank God for Canadian winters.

Thomas' Snowsuit by Robert Munsch


About Angela

Super-powered, Special Ed teacher and special needs mama to FOUR (!) children with an assortment of special needs; including Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Prader Willi Syndrome. Our family features a heavy dose of good ol' ADHD). I blog about our halfpastnormal life.
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8 Responses to Mr. Sensitive vs. His New Winter Coat

  1. I know the joy you must have felt with this accomplishment. My son has SPD. He’s 13. Clothing, and change are still two major issues for us. Somehow, if we just give it time. They work through it. Good for Mr. Sensitive!! 🙂

  2. Rebecca Mitchell says:

    Oh – I left a comment earlier but it didn’t stick. So many similarities to my L. Have had shorts for him for a month and he has refused them so far. At my blog there is an post (we’ve nailed it) on nail cutting. Maybe it will help?!?! My friend got L some baby nail clippers after she read the article. I left them on the side of the bath and when i peeked in he was using them. All of a sudden we’ve gone to no nail cutting to him doing them himself.

  3. Angela says:

    I do nails while he’s sleeping (melatonin helps knock him out so I can do them properly)

  4. Congratulations on changing out the coat! Many similar issues here so I understand your joy at his wearing of the coat! I enjoyed the post. 😀

  5. Love your post Angela, I have been nodding yes from your first paragraph and finished the last one with a chuckle because I can so relate to your story. The person who said she had three words for parents of children with sensory needs was correct: patience, patience patience. Enjoy the rest of winter and “be warm”!

    • Angela says:

      Funny thing is now I’m struggling at work with a student who refuses gloves or a hat in -20 C! Getting him to wear a winter jacket too two months;-)

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