Try This Tuesday #45: Shoe Shopping

by Trish



                               

Try This Tuesday

This week, Kristin from The Days of My Life is joining us to share how she handles the difficult task of shoe shopping with her son.

SHOE SHOPPING
by Kristin

Since my son is autistic, he often doesn’t express himself, for example, when his shoes are too small. And yes, I found this out the hard way. The poor kid was once wearing shoes 2 sizes too small and never said a word! I, on the other hand, felt like THE worst mommy ever. Because of this, I often try to remember to check his shoes regularly for size and fit and also for wear and tear.

I’m not sure why, but my son’s feet sweat a lot when the weather gets warm and hot. Then he seems to develop itchy feet (foot fungus). His current shoes are getting a little worn, so I thought this was a good time to go buy a pair of sandals (with closed toe due to school regulations). But I also didn’t want to buy a brand new pair of regular shoes ’cause school is almost out, it’s almost summer (and HOT) and over the summer he tends to grow A LOT!

It’s a big deal to go shoe shopping for my son. He’s very particular about his shoes and really (I mean really) does not like change (especially in his shoes).

The first thing I do upon entering the store is to ask the salesperson for a foot sizer. They usually look something like this…

…and I’ll measure my son’s foot. He has a really hard time sometimes being aware of his own body and how things fit (or don’t fit). Of course, this particular time the shoe salesperson was new and had no idea what a shoe sizer even was. I tried not to panic. So I looked around and eventually found one for myself. I measured his foot and he didn’t need a bigger size yet.

So now we have something to work with. He has a very difficult time tying shoes (due to poor bi-lateral integration, and poor fine motor skills). We did have him wear tie shoes (with laces). It really became a safety issue with him falling on his untied shoelaces and chipping teeth. So I made the choice to use the velcro shoes. Skechers is a brand that makes a lot of velcro shoes. I love Skechers!

It seems they only go up to certain sizes. So in the very near future I’ll have to find something else (slip-ons maybe?), or special order from somewhere, or he’ll have to bite the bullet and actually tie his shoes.

But for now we bought a pair of Skechers sandals that look a little like this…


I don’t know about other parents, but trying to feel for the toe and where it is at the end of the shoe to check for fit just doesn’t work for me, and asking my son doesn’t seem to work either.

In addition to the shoe/foot sizer to check for fit (’cause sometimes different brands and makes fit different)….What I do is, I’ll have him put the shoe on, then stand. I’ll have him bend his knee and lift his foot so only the toe of the shoe is touching the ground. Then I’ll stick my finger up inside his heel to feel how much extra room is in there. If more than my finger can fit in there, then the shoe is much too big. Another tip-off is when they run or walk fast their shoes will sort of flip-flop on their feet (because the heels will come out ’cause the shoes are too big). I hope this makes sense?!

It took over an hour to get out of the shoe store. My dear son kept insisting he needed a new pair of Skechers (regular shoes not sandals). And I kept insisting I wasn’t buying another pair just like the 2 pairs he already has that still fit. We were just getting the sandals. Whew!

Kristin is a stay at home mom to 3 wonderful sons. Her youngest son was diagnosed with autism at 3 1/2 years old, and she has spent the last few years being a full-time advocate for him. In her “spare” time, she loves to paint and sew, decorate, re-decorate, and thrift store shop. You can visit her at The Days of My Life.

Thanks, Kristin!

Please join in and share the creative solutions YOU have found to your own challenges, or feel free to post your own challenge for input from others. For details on how to participate, please check out the welcome post.

As the host of Try This Tuesday, Trish shares some of the solutions she has found to make life easier and invites you to do the same. You can also find her blogging at Another Piece of the Puzzle and Autism Interrupted.

Email Author    |    Website About Trish

Married for over 16 years and mom of a six year old son with autism, I spend most of my time as my Little Guy's case manager/advocate/ cheerleader/everything else.

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1 MaddyM May 26, 2009 at 10:40 am

Those foot sizers are considered instruments of torture around here but they will use the ones at Target = coloured flat foot shapes , but anything to do with feet is a complete nightmare. I’m right there with you dearie.
Cheers

2 Cale May 26, 2009 at 1:20 pm

My brother was the same way with shoes; he’d never let mom know they were too tight until she saw that his feet were red and blistered from the squeeze. Fortunately now his feet have stopped growing so we don’t have to worry.

As an alternative to velcro though, I would suggest speed laces. They do not need to be tied but they still have the cool look of laces. I wrote about them on my blog (http://frogger11758.wordpress.com/2009/01/06/losing-the-laces/).

3 Trish May 26, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Oooh, we love Target!! That’s sounds like a good option, and the speed laces are really intriguing for when we outgrow velcro.

Thanks again to Kristin for sharing her post. :)

4 k May 26, 2009 at 10:17 pm

I feel for you! I have aspergers and shoe shopping for me as a kid was a nightmare! The shoes had to be exactly right, right shape, right size, right material and not too different from my last pair or I would refuse to wear them. Thankfully when I was growing we managed to find the same pair of sneakers in different sizes as I grew (not possible any more the shoe styles seem to change every week!)

I am still quite picky, but it is much easier now I am old enough to work out what will work rather that hours of trial and error!

Plus to make it doubly hard on Mum, my sister had feet which were up to a size different!

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