Updated: Apr 6, 2022
When it comes to buying new clothing, there are many different factors to consider. Personal style commonly comes to mind first, but this just scratches the surface. Fit, brand manufacturing ethics, and materials are just as important. We all have our preferences on what feels the best on us, but this consideration is much more critical when it comes to clothing purchased for individuals with special needs, and even more for those that are children.
Accessibility within the design of clothing for children with special needs is all about comfort. Children with special needs, particularly those with Autism, commonly experience sensory sensitivity. Whether that sensitivity be to light, noise, or touch, it can cause aggravation and stress from something as seemingly inconsequential as socks with seams within them. Mass-produced clothing commonly fails to take into consideration how utilizing certain materials agitates portions of their possible market. Sensory friendly clothing is the practice in which these children are able to dress in ways that focuses on their needs.
Clothing designed to remove these irritations help children with special needs feel comfortable within any surrounding, similar to how a favorite pair of shoes can change the mood of anyone. Since these clothing aggravators affect the child the entire time
they wear them, they likely experience distraction from their surroundings, and a heightened preoccupation on that discomfort, inevitably resulting in a hit to their mental health.
Sensory friendly clothing utilizes a multitude of accommodations. As closure is part of the functionality of clothing, magnetic elements are used in substitution for buttons, zippers, etc. Tags are commonly removed from sensory friendly clothing as well due to common scratchiness. Particularly with children with Autism, the weight of an article of clothing can provide them with a sense of sense of security, similar to the mentality behind the security felt using a weighted blanket. This, in combination with compression materials, are very common within the design of this clothing.
As time progresses, more and more brands have come to realize that offering these accommodations is not only helpful, but necessary. If you’ve ever come across an article of clothing that fit your style to a tee (no pun intended), but it did not come in your size, then you can somewhat understand how this can foster a sense of being overlooked. Clothing provides people with a tool of self-expression, which can help them feel secure.
For children with special needs that experience extra pressure already in terms of feeling comfortable, clothing is a great way for parents to help send them out into the world with a much greater chance at success and positive health. No one wants to constantly fuss with their clothing, attempting to make it comfortable. Children with special needs experience these sensitivities throughout their life, and to experience their formative early years in clothing that helps them to focus on the developmental practices they go through helps them to be more successful throughout their lives. Shopping around and communicating with companies to ensure complete comfort in clothing. We encourage you to experiment with our offerings and let us know what is working for your children, and what we could do to further help them feel more comfortable and confident.