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The Issue That Needs to Be Discussed When It Comes to School Uniform Rules

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My son Stanley finds most uniforms uncomfortable because of his sensory differences. Being comfortable and secure is important to him, not necessarily the way he dresses or looks. So where does this leave us in two years when he has to go to school and comply with these uniform expectations for children?

Three kids wearing school uniforms, two of them holding stuffed animals

See my daughter Lola’s socks in this photo? She was having a particularly bad morning, and when she’s anxious, she likes to wear brightly colored socks. I put a note in her diary along with some white socks to change into. Hopefully they’ll understand and not send her home, but will Stanley have that luxury? I’m worried.

I agree that children should dress appropriately for school, that it can prepare them for the wider world, and that rules are rules. But not everyone is going to have a job that requires them to dress so strictly. Yes, some will, but what about those who wish to be a builder? A swimmer? Or those who wish to pursue a career in acting or dancing?

Who makes up these rules, and do they use a set of guidelines? If so, who wrote them? Did they think every single child would be able to comply 100 percent with these rules? Are they setting up children to fail? What is the purpose of the strict uniform guidelines? To make everyone look the same? To better their learning and opportunities? To make them concentrate more? Do the people who make these guidelines have children? Do they have children with special needs? Or memory problems? Issues with executive functioning? Sensory difficulties? What about children who have difficulty dressing themselves due to hyper mobility, low muscle tone in hands and fingers, or coordination difficulties? Who will support these children? And is having such a strict uniform policy going to enrich their future? Make them more successful?

Wouldn’t it better if everyone was comfortable? And wouldn’t it enhance their concentration and attention if they didn’t have to worry about what they looked like? I just wish the people enforcing these polices could fully understand the true difficulties some children face when presented with an itchy, scratchy, fiddly, complicated uniform policy.

Are these rules going beyond trying to teach children the way of life, or are they justified?

I’d like to hear how this situation has affected other families, whether you have children with any special or extra needs or not.

Follow this journey on Autism With Lots of Love And Affection.

Originally published: September 23, 2016
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