As most of you know, having a children on the spectrum can turn something simple into something a bit more challenging depending on the child’s sensory needs. In our case, I sent Thing 2 to school with his headphones for his computer and all was well. He is fine with wearing them during computer time. Thing 1 and his headphones, however, proved to be a bit more challenging.
I received a call from his teacher explaining that Thing 1 will not wear his headphones. So far they have been able to accommodate him and he has been able to use his computer with the sound and still not disturb his classmates. The teacher is concerned though that, at some point, he will need to wear the headphones, especially in the higher grades. If he will not wear them then we may need to have that added in as a goal in his IEP. In the meantime, she had a few suggestions that we could try to help him with the headphones. She suggested neck earphones that you wear around your neck and then they have earbuds attached to put in your ears. This way he would not have to have anything on his head.
She also asked if he has a favorite hat. I told her that he only wore one style of hat and it was one that I had knitted for him a few years ago. I have since knitted him another one as the first one is looking a bit worn but he will not get rid of the first hat nor will he wear any other style. She suggested that he wear the hat with either the headphones over it or wear the hat with the neck headphones.
The school’s OT suggested that he wear the headphones for even only 30 seconds at a time and then each time keep them on progressively longer. He would be able to do that with his favorite hat. So she asked if I could send the hat into her and they would work with him on this.
Well, this whole conversation got me to thinking. He loves his hat. The one I knitted for him is called the Meathead hat and you can find the pattern and pictures on Ravelry. At the end of the pattern there is an option to knit a small swatch to sew onto the hat which would then serve as a small pocket to hold crayons. I had never used this option…until now! The pattern calls for the swatch to be 10 sts per row and 15 rows. I decided to knit a smaller version, about 5 sts and 8 rows. I knit two of these. I then sewed them to the bottom edge of the hat as little pockets, on opposite sides of each other, where I felt his ears would be. I then took earbuds and put each earbud into each pocket and the cord handing down in the front.
I felt that this might work as he loves this style of hat and the earbuds would not actually be in his ears. For some reason, though, I thought I had made the last hat in the Large size so that’s the pattern size that I followed this time. Well, it looks like I had actually made him a Medium the last time so this one is a bit bigger. Oh well. I told his teacher that if the hat doesn’t work I will make him another one. With the Super Bulky yarn I can usually knit this hat in an evening. I still have a skein of yarn left since I purchased two of them. The hat took up almost one full skein of yarn. I used Lion Brand Yarn Hometown USA in Pittsburgh Yellow. The yarn is a Super Bulky (6) yarn and I only held one strand of yarn, not two as the pattern says to use. I also did not use the yarn that the pattern used.
I’m hoping that this hat works out for Thing 1 in order to help him get used to the headphones or earbuds on his head and in his ears. There are so many things that we just take for granted but, for a child with sensory sensitivities, we have to look at things and figure things out a bit differently.