Mom Shocked When Son With Autism Comes Home With New Shoe Accessory


Leslie Carpenter’s son Asher attends kindergarten at Glenwood Heights Primary School in Vancouver, Washington, and one day she noticed something different when he came home.

“I looked down at his shoes and thought, ‘What are those? Where are his laces?’” Carpenter told local television news station KGW. “[I] realized they are special laces.”

Asher is currently being tested for autism, so he doesn’t yet qualify for services in his school. In a post on Facebook his mom said he’s been struggling to tie his shoes. “He has times where he cannot control himself and has ticks and unties his laces,” Carpenter wrote. “He cannot re-tie them… I felt at a loss, not sure what to do, and felt heart broken every time I would see him get off the bus with his laces dangling.”

Apparently someone at school noticed Asher’s difficulty went out of their way to find a solution: Hickies, a special kind of no-tie laces that convert sneakers to slip ons. “It blew me away,” Carpenter told KGW upon seeing her son come home with the laces. “I started crying right then and there. I just broke down.”

A note and instructions were left in Asher’s backpack on how to use the laces, but Carpenter still had no idea who gave them to her son. After posting a photo of the modified shoes on Facebook with a heartfelt message thanking the generous stranger, Carpenter learned it was an occupational therapist, Carolyn Torricelli, who gave Asher the helpful accessory.

“Now I realize it’s not about making him get used to regular laces,” Carpenter wrote on Facebook. “It’s about meeting him where he is, and if that means special laces… then so be it. His smile, and to see him confident about his shoes means everything. Thank you Glenwood Heights Primary school for your amazing staff and those around our children. You’ve sincerely touched my heart and your kindness to my son and his special needs when you didn’t have to, and this day in age it is very easy to just treat a child as ‘another head’ in a classroom.”

Asher came home without his laces. He had these replacing them, with a note and instructions in his backpack about these special laces. I teared up. I couldn’t believe that someone went out of their way to help him and even found these special laces I had no clue about. I just want to thank whomever that came into Miss Lefevber’s kindergarten class and did this for my Son. He’s so proud of his new laces and has not touched his shoes out of habit once. Now I realize it’s not about making him get used to regular laces. It’s about meeting him where he is, and if that means special laces… then so be it. His smile, and to see him confident about his shoes means everything. Thank you Glenwood Heights Primary school for your amazing staff and those around our children. You’ve sincerely touched my heart and your kindness to my Son and his special needs when you didn’t have to, and this day in age it is very easy to just treat a child as “another head” in a classroom.

My 5 year old son came home from school with his shoe laces gone from Glenwood Heights Primary School in Brush Prairie,…

Posted by Leslie May on Friday, December 4, 2015

Read Carpenter’s Facebook post in its entirety below:

My 5 year old son came home from school with his shoe laces gone from Glenwood Heights Primary School in Brush Prairie, Washington/ Battle Ground School District.

Let me elaborate:

My son is autistic. Every day he struggles with his shoes. While this may not be a big thing to some, it’s everything to him. He has times where he cannot control himself and has ticks and unties his laces. He cannot re-tie them. He does this for multiple reasons but it’s become a daily occurrance. I’ve struggled within myself to take away his laced up shoes but didn’t know if it would just encourage the behavior. Every single day, same thing. ..he’d walk off he bus with those shoes untied. I felt at a loss..not sure what to do, and felt heart broken every time I would see him get off the bus with his laces dangling. He even felt bad about it and would hang his head in shame knowing his shoes were to be tied. and as a Mother I felt helpless..

Until 2 days ago.

Asher came home without his laces. He had these replacing them, with a note and instructions in his backpack about these special laces. I teared up. I couldn’t believe that someone went out of their way to help him and even found these special laces I had no clue about. I just want to thank whomever that came into Miss Lefevber’s kindergarten class and did this for my Son. He’s so proud of his new laces and has not touched his shoes out of habit once. Now I realize it’s not about making him get used to regular laces. It’s about meeting him where he is, and if that means special laces… then so be it. His smile, and to see him confident about his shoes means everything. Thank you Glenwood Heights Primary school for your amazing staff and those around our children. You’ve sincerely touched my heart and your kindness to my Son and his special needs when you didn’t have to, and this day in age it is very easy to just treat a child as “another head” in a classroom.

-Ashers Mom

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