>Amigo has what we sometimes call a “double whammy”. His two handicapping conditions, blindness and high-functioning autism, sometimes join together to work against him. Where clothing is concerned, that’s very, very true. He has rather weak fingers and poor fine motor skills which make it hard for him to engage a zipper or button a shirt or tie his shoes.
He started dressing himself in kindergarten, and we adapted by buying sweatpants and t-shirts so he didn’t have to deal with fasteners. This way, he could be independent.
Shoes are another issue. He has worn prescription orthotic inserts since he was two years old. These, combined with his high insteps, make Velcro-fastened shoes impossible. Special education people kept telling us, “Oh, I know where you can buy Velcro shoes that work!” but they didn’t come through. I was rather insulted by their insistence that I wasn’t looking hard enough. I’ve bought his shoes since he was two years old, after all. I’d buy easy-to-handle shoes for him if they were out there! Our solution: elastic laces. These laces (that look at first glance like a telephone cord) have been a godsend. He can tighten them when needed, and they never come untied.
But again, no one else in high school has elastic laces. They’re more for the youngest and the eldest (Grandma loves them). While Amigo doesn’t mind having these in his shoes, the day will come when he needs to look somewhat professional, and coiled shoelaces won’t do the trick.
Enter Lands’ End. They have casual shoe with elastic, and the laces are purely for show. The shoes are narrow enough to fit Amigo’s foot, roomy enough to accommodate his orthotics, and look reasonably decent, too. If the shoelaces keep coming undone, I give in and (gulp) cut them short. Amigo keeps his shoes on, they look decent, and we’re both happy.
Until he grows, which at 16 happens all. the. time.
Maybe I should be grateful he doesn’t have his sister’s fascination with a shoe wardrobe.