It has gotten way too cold for Mark to keep wearing shorts, so you’ve probably noticed that he’s started wearing his snow pants. I mean, you have to have noticed, since they rustle so loudly you can hear him walking from across the school. Every time he moves his legs it’s like someone running their fingers down the chalkboard. I don’t know if it bothers you or anyone else, but for me it’s a terrible irritant. I feel lucky he’s never asked us about what we think of his pants, probably because he’s embarrassed by it. But I don’t know if I can try to lie to him about it if he did, and he would probably not react well to the truth.
It’s kind of the problem with some of our issues causing other people’s issues to be a problem. For example, Mark’s sensitive touch means he’s far more comfortable in snow pants, which in turn bothers me because of my hearing sensitivity. Or some methods of stimming, like when Kat flaps her hands sometimes when she sees Daniel, can cause people sensitive to motion to get anxious. I don’t really stim, but I fiddle with my pencil or tap on the table when bored with a lecture, which could bother another student who is desperately trying to pay attention. And someone sensitive to what everyone is doing is a risk of being overloaded. In rare cases one kid having a meltdown can cause another to overload and meltdown themselves, and you end up hoping that it isn’t a chain reaction causing the entire school to get torn apart. Anxiety producing behaviors that causes sensory difficulties which cause anxiety can be a very dangerous feedback loop.
Paul, naturally, has fewer problems with it than the rest of us. I mean, he thought it was weird that Mark showed up in snow pants on a dry day in November, but he seemed to understand it once we explained it to him. He did comment on the sound a couple days later when Mark was coming over to us at the lunch table, but I didn’t say anything in response. But he doesn’t seem to have many other issues. He’s always attentive to teachers when they lecture; he even takes his own notes instead of relying on the ones you and the other teachers post online or his memory. Some of us have asked him a few times if he noticed sounds that were bothering us, and he said he didn’t notice anything until we pointed it out. I think he has a larger wardrobe than the rest of the lunch table put together; he has button-down shirts, t-shirts, a sweater, jeans, shorts, and khakis. It seems like no type of clothing bothers him. He’s like my father, but even my father wouldn’t wear a button-down shirt unless it was required for work or a special social occasion. On one hand, I envy his ability to tolerate different environments. On the other, I think having his lack of sensory sensitivity would cause me to miss many details in the world.