‘So many times children are told, ‘Put your hood down, I want to see you when I’m talking to you.’ It is a safety measure.’: Mom to daughter with autism urges inclusive learning

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“So much more than just a hoodie.

Have you ever wondered why a lot of neurodivergent children (and adults!) love a hoodie?

It’s not to appear thuggish or to be rude. It is a safety measure. A way of claiming some form of control with the overwhelming world surrounding them. A comfort.

When the world feels too big, too noisy, too chaotic – a hood provides a barrier. A safe space. A partition between the person and the rest of the world.

It helps to reduce overwhelm, anxiety, a need to socialize when you are not feeling able to/wanting to. Dulling down noise that may very well be triggering sensory processing challenges.

A hood can be the difference between my child being present or running away/lashing out. Giving them the ability to control their interaction via their hood helps to give them a sense of calm.

So many times children are told, ‘Put your hood down, I want to see you when I’m talking to you’ or ‘You can’t possibly be learning or engaging with that hood up’ and it is totally missing the point.

The child is learning, engaging and listening BECAUSE they have their hood up. Just because it is not what you are used to does not make it wrong. There is more than one way to listen, learn and engage. Out job is to discover the way that best suits them, not force them into a one-size-fits-all mold.

So instead of thinking, ‘HOW can I get this child to stop wearing their hood up all the time?’ start thinking, ‘WHY has this child always got their hood up?’ Because once you establish WHY, you will then UNDERSTAND and your need to get them to remove it will cease. In fact, you will embrace it!

Increase your awareness and understanding and you will automatically increase your acceptance.”

Little girl with autism stands in a sassy pose while wearing a cheetah-print hoodie
Courtesy of Claire Krost

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Claire Krost of West Sussex. You can follow her journey on Instagram, Facebook, and her website. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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