My oldest child, Connor,  was born six weeks early with a multitude of holes in his heart.  The first week of life we watched him struggle to breathe, stop breathing, and have meningitis.  We fired cardiologists, yelled at presidents of hospitals, and had nursing staff removed from his care for more than one reason.  We ate, slept and breathed premie info and learned more about heart conditions than most general practitioners do.  Fast forward a few years and we're wondering why he's so different from other kids.  More reading, and researching ensued.  It took us a multitude of doctors, early childhood educators and psychologists (and a few years) before we found one that would finally say, you're right, that's autism.

He's now 13, and we're in the process of writing this year's IEP (individual educational plan) with his teachers.  Who, if they are reading this by chance, are awesome.  He'll turn 14 as the IEP goes into effect and that starts the 'transition' period to real life.  The goal is to get the kids to a point where they can be self sufficient, or as close to it as their abilities let them.  To aid in the attempt to get to that goal, the school sent home a nifty checklist of things to teach your teenager, or make sure they know.

Wardrobe Checklist
Most of the things you learn as you get older, and mostly from mistakes you make along the way.  Which, for your average teenager or adult is fine.  For someone with autism, it's not. Drawing conclusions doesn't always happen and logical leaps don't always either.  What is common sense for most people, isn't for an autistic person, so it has to become learned behavior.  And that doesn't happen unless it's taught and reinforced.

Starting tonight and going to Saturday we'll be working on the clothing part of comparison shopping.  I made up a general list of things he should have in his wardrobe, and approximately how many.  It made it easy for him to look through his closet and just check things off as he found them.  We realized we forgot a few things, (like a belt) as we worked through the list, but there's space at the end, just add your extras on!
From that list, Connor could see what he still needed for summer and was able to make a shopping list for the shopping trip on Saturday.
The other thing I made for him was a business card sized chart for his wallet.  It has all the general clothing on it he wears and the sizes he needs.  All you have to do is laminate it, or print it on heavy stock and fill in the sizes.
Size chart for wallet
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