The Sensory-Friendly Wardrobe: Choosing the Right Adaptive Clothing for Kids with Autism and SPD
J Julia DeNey

The Sensory-Friendly Wardrobe: Choosing the Right Adaptive Clothing for Kids with Autism and SPD

Jun 2, 2024

Choosing the right clothing for any child can be a struggle, but when it comes to dressing children with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD), selecting the right items is essential. The proper clothing can make a significant difference in their daily comfort and ability to focus throughout the day, and it can even positively impact their overall well-being. 

Sensory-friendly clothing is designed to reduce irritation and provide comfort, so children don’t have to focus on clothing discomfort but instead on things that matter. At Sense-ational You, we specialize in creating adaptive clothing that meets the unique needs of children with sensory sensitivities, so let’s dive into what goes into making the perfect sensory-friendly wardrobe. 

What Are Autism & Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?

To determine what clothing will be best for your sensory-sensitive child, let’s first discuss those who will have difficulty with regularly designed clothing and how the right clothes can help. 

Children with Autism

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder that affects communication, behavior, and social interactions. Children with Autism often experience sensory sensitivities, which means they can be over- or under-sensitive to stimuli such as sound, light, touch, taste, and smell. These sensitivities can make everyday activities challenging.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

SPD is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. Children with SPD might find certain textures, sounds, or lights overwhelming and distressing, which can affect their ability to perform daily tasks and participate in social activities.

How Sensory-Friendly Clothing Can Help

Sensory-friendly clothing is specifically designed to minimize discomfort and irritation for children with sensory sensitivities. By using soft, seamless, and tagless materials, this clothing helps reduce sensory overload, making it easier for children to focus on their activities and feel more at ease.

For children with Autism or SPD, a simple tag itching their neck can ruin their entire day and cause them to have emotional outbursts. Sensory-friendly clothing removes this element, so they don’t have to worry about discomfort from their clothes.

Understanding Sensory-Friendly Clothing

Now that we know who benefits from sensory-friendly clothing and why, let’s discuss sensory triggers within clothing and elements that make clothing ‘sensory-friendly.’ 

Children with SPD or Autism often find certain textures, seams, and tags unbearable. Scratchy fabrics, tight seams, and labels cause significant discomfort and distraction. Though different children will have different triggers, certain things like those listed above will bother almost any child with sensory sensitivity and even children without! 

Understanding your child’s individual triggers is essential for selecting appropriate clothing that will not aggravate their sensitivities.

So, what actually makes clothing sensory-friendly? 

  • Soft, Sensory-Friendly Fabrics
  • Seamless Construction
  • Tagless Labels 
  • Easy-Access Openings
  • Compression or Weighted Clothing
  • Breathable Fabrics
  • Sensory-Friendly Colors and Patterns. 

Though not every child will enjoy compression clothing because they enjoy a looser fit, the right fabrics without itchy seams and tags will significantly benefit most children with sensory issues. 

Key Considerations When Choosing Adaptive Clothing

No two kids are the same, and the same goes for selecting their adaptive clothing to suit their needs. However, 3 key elements will help guide your decision-making. 

Fabric Choices

The fabric of the clothing plays an essential role in ensuring comfort. Soft, natural fibers like cotton and bamboo are excellent choices. Cotton is breathable and gentle on the skin, while bamboo is known for its softness and moisture-wicking properties. Both fabrics help keep the skin cool and dry, reducing the risk of irritation.

Keep in mind some children may also be bothered by specific patterns and textures, so at the beginning, keep it simple so you can find out what works best for your child. 

Design & Construction

Seamless and tagless designs are essential for sensory-friendly clothing. Seams cause discomfort and irritation, while tags can be scratchy and annoying. Look for clothing that eliminates these issues with smooth, seamless construction and printed or external tags.

Many adaptive clothing items will also have features such as magnetic buttons and easy-open zippers, which make it easier for children to dress and undress themselves, promoting independence and reducing frustration. These features are especially helpful for those who struggle with their fine motor skills and help make mornings less of a struggle. 

Functionality & Practicality

Beyond comfort, adaptive clothing should be practical for everyday wear. This includes durability, easy care, and functionality that supports the child’s activities. For instance, clothing with reinforced knees or elbows can withstand rough play, and adjustable waistbands can accommodate growth spurts.

Also, take into account what your child wants to wear. Adaptive clothing doesn’t have to look different or not be stylish. Plenty of stylish options are available to ensure your child feels good in what they are wearing. 

Sense-ational You’s Approach to Adaptive Clothing

At Sense-ational You, we utilized years of research and knowledge to create the perfect clothing to help your child feel comfortable, regulated, and stylish at the same time. 

We focus on innovative designs that address the specific needs of children with SPD and Autism. Our clothing features soft, high-quality fabrics, flat-seam construction, and tagless labels. While also incorporating adaptive features like magnetic closures and built-in sensory tools to make dressing more accessible for both children and parents.

Our commitment to using high-quality materials ensures that our clothing is comfortable and durable. We understand that children with sensory sensitivities need clothing that can withstand the demands of daily wear while maintaining its softness and comfort.

Tips for Parents & Caregivers 

Starting your sensory-friendly wardrobe may seem daunting, but luckily, there are a few tips to make the process easier. 

First, you will want to identify your child’s sensory preferences by observing their reactions to different types of clothing. Pay attention to which fabrics and styles they prefer and which ones they avoid. Keeping a sensory diary can be helpful for tracking these preferences and identifying any patterns or specific triggers.

Then, involve your child in shopping to ensure they feel comfortable and confident in their new clothes. Let them touch and try on different fabrics and styles to see what feels best to them. Creating a calm, sensory-friendly shopping environment, whether in-store or at home, can make the experience more enjoyable for both of you. Even if they can’t verbally make a choice, let their behavior and actions communicate what they like!

Don't get discouraged if you order a few things and they don’t work. There are hundreds of products out there that can help you find the best option for them! 

Let Sense-ational You Help You Start Your Sensory-Friendly Wardrobe!

Choosing the proper adaptive clothing for children with Autism and SPD will significantly enhance their comfort and quality of life. At Sense-ational You, we are dedicated to providing high-quality, sensory-friendly clothing that meets these needs and supports the well-being of every child. Check out our range of products and explore our collection, designed with your child's comfort in mind.

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