I’ve been asked quite a few times about HOW we get Lila to wear her glasses. ASD + Sensory Issues = Glasses Disaster. Truth is – 6 months ago Lila would scream and completely LOSE it just at the sight of her glasses. Now we’re up to 3-4 hours per day with her wearing them.
All of these kids are different – but I can tell you what we did in case it might help any of you have little ones with glasses who also have sensory issues. This particular idea was tailored to Lila by our SLP (and resident Mary Poppins) from SoonerStart, Janet. We had a ton of trial and error, and here is what eventually worked for US:
A year prior, Lila had been wearing them for an hour at a time – we moved way too fast, and she regressed with them: big-time. SO we re-introduced them very slowly. We put them in plain view randomly around the living room, eventually we moved them to the coffee table (Lila’s “hub” for everything).
Next we picked a TV show that she LOVES. “Signing Time”: the alphabet episode. It was a huge motivator for her, especially when Rachel was singing. SO when Rachel would start to sing, we would pause the show and say “Time to put on your glasses!”, quickly put the glasses on her, then hit play on the DVR (sometimes holding her arms, waving them around, etc. to distract her).
If she pulled them off her face, we would pause her TV show again. I’d say “What happened? Ohhh, you took your glasses off. You have to wear your GLASSES to be able to watch Rachel!”. Then we’d put them back on and immediately hit play as soon as they were back on her face. Eventually she GOT it, and was fine with wearing the glasses, but only in parts of the episode where Rachel was singing.
Slowly but surely she started to leave them on for short periods of time. The rules stayed the same – I would only put glasses on when Rachel started to sing, and she was allowed to take them off when she wasn’t singing – no pressure (she FEELS that, she is so intuitive and so sensitive to what we are thinking/feeling).
She has now realized that she can see better WITH the glasses, which leads to her leaving them on for longer periods of time. We have our good days and our bad days, but I don’t force her to wear them, and that has led to her wearing them now more than ever. She has to feel like it is HER idea for it to be successful.
The eye doctor recommended at one point for us to MAKE her wear them, use atropine drops in her eyes so she couldn’t see at all without them, etc. We had to make a decision on how to approach this, and there were only two options: go head to head with her, or take the long way around. I knew if we went head to head with her on this – we would lose. Every single time. Lila is incredibly intelligent, and extremely head-strong. We either had to trust the doctor, or trust our knowledge of who Lila is and how she works.
This route was VERY lengthy and incredibly labor-intensive (we HAD to stick to it for it to work, pause the show every single time she took the glasses off, etc.) Consistency is crucial, and I feel that it has been incredibly successful with her. We will continue to try and work our way up to more and more time with the glasses, for now we are just incredibly proud of the Little Lady, she’s come a very long way in such a short amount of time (on many levels).