Many children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) experience heightened levels of sensory information that can create discomfort. Their experiences of hypersensitivity often include their sense of touch. You will often notice that children on the autism spectrum have difficulty finding comfortable clothes and struggle with issues like breaking in new shoes.
If you struggle with helping your autistic child find clothing that they will wear, you will want to consider what is creating the difficulty. Once you determine what is causing your child discomfort, there are several things you can do to help. You will find that there are some fairly easy ways to help your autistic child overcome issues related to clothing.
Ways to Help an Autistic Child Deal with Clothing Issues:
Helping your child live in comfort means, first and foremost, figuring out what your child is experiencing. Some children on the autism spectrum will experience
- Clothing as scratchy
- Clothing as stiff
- Issues with binding around arms and legs
- Sensitivity to elastic
- Irritation from seams
- Difficulty dealing with fasteners
- Clothing as too confining
- An aversion to a particular texture
You can help your child deal with these issues by finding clothing designed to:
- Be Soft: Many clothing manufacturers are using soft materials for children’s clothing. Brushed and combed cotton is generally a good choice of fabrics for your autistic child. Although many blended materials feel soft to the touch, you should also be aware that your child may struggle with feeling too warm in synthetic fabrics as they do not breathe as well as natural fabrics.
- Allow Ease of Movement: Pre-washed fabrics and athletic wear often work well for children on the autism spectrum. Many children on the autism spectrum will find denim stiff and frustrating due to binding waistlines and difficult closures. Choosing athletic wear rather than bluejeans is often an easy solution for daily school wear. If your child is interested in jeans, look for prewashed comfortably stretchy denim. You may want to look for jeans with elastic waists if your child struggles with snaps and zippers as well.
- Have Limited elastic: Autistic children often struggle with under garments due to the way thin elastic cuts into their limbs. Luckily, there are increasingly more options to traditional brief underwear. You will find many brands using wider elastic at openings to reduce the likelihood of discomfort at waist and leg openings. If your child is extremely sensitive to underwear, you may want to try elastic free and tag free underwear options.
- Have Less Irritating or No Seams: Autistic children also tend to struggle with socks and shoes. Toe seams in socks are often frustrating whether or not your child is on the autism spectrum. Kids on the autism spectrum are even more sensitive to socks and shoes than other kids. If you can avoid socks with large seams at the toes it will help a great deal. Looking for well fitting socks that are less likely to fall about your child’s foot and cause rubbing at wrinkles will be a big help in keeping your child happy.
- Have Less Irritating or No tags: Tags create frustration and irritation for many children. Kids on the autism spectrum often struggle more with the irritation of tags than other children. You will often find that removing a tag is insufficient, as the seams where tags are sown in are thick and can continue to create irritation. Luckily more manufacturers are using soft fabrics for tags, creating tear away tags, or making tagless options.
- Wik Moisture: Kids with autism can be more sensitive to moisture and heaviness associated with clothing that have become wet due to sweating than other kids. To help your child remain comfortable in warm weather and when physically active, consider natural fabric like cotton and fabrics designed to wick away moisture.
- Provide deep pressure without restricting movement: Many children with sensory issues find the pressure of compression clothing reassuring and calming. Compression clothing works essentially the same way a weighted blanket does. Many children on the autism spectrum find gentle deep pressure in stretchable fabric comforting and reassuring.
Other ways to help your autistic child deal with clothing related issues include:
- Allowing your child a choice when dressing for the day. Providing your child a choice between two shirts or pairs of socks helps them to feel in control and will help them to deal with the things that they can’t control.
- Buying more than one of your child’s favorite piece of clothing. Since autistic children often struggle to find clothes they enjoy, it is a good idea to invest in more than one of your autistic child’s favorite piece of clothing.
- Allow for extra time. Children on the autism spectrum may need more time to dress. Adding extra time to your daily schedule to accommodate your child’s need for time to dress can make this daily challenge move more smoothly.
7 of the best clothing lines for autistic children:
Here are some of the best clothing companies that make products for autistic children.
Hanna Andersson makes simple, colorful clothes from 100% organic cotton. Their clothes are constructed of OEKO-TEX certified cloth that helps to protect your child’s sensitive skin. OEKO-TEX certification is given to clothing safe from harmful chemicals and dyes.
Hanna Andersson produces products for babies to kids up to 14 years old. Parents can also find matching pajamas (women’s Mommy and Me pajamas sell for $94). Long sleeve kids pajamas sell for $46.
Hanna Andersson clothing features extra smooth flatlock seams, encased elastic, zipper guards, and nickel-free snaps and zippers for added comfort. Print tees for boys can be found for $24. Hoodies for toddlers cost $42 with hoodies for kids selling for $54. Girls Soft Art Tees retail for $28, and Super Soft Skater dresses are priced at $48.
Alien Loud Music:
For discerning teens, Alien Loud Music shirts design ASD friendly t-shirts. These intentionally designed shirts feature high quality 100% combed ringspun cotton jersey with tear-away tags. Due to the high quality of the cotton used in constructing these unique t-shirts, they lie more lightly about the shoulders and provide long-lasting durability.
Some of the designs available from Alien Loud Music Shirts are limited edition and range in price from $32-38 each. However, the icon long-running shirts are listed for $25-30 each. You will find a variety of cool designs on these quality t-shirts. Most of their long-run designs are available in a wide range of colors allowing your teen to have a variety of high-quality comfort for daily life.
Smart Knit Kids:
Smart Knit Kids offers a variety of seamless products to help you and your child avoid those irritating seams that frustrate so many autistic children.
You can buy your autistic child a set of three pairs of seamless underwear for between $26 and $32 on Amazon. You will find Boxer Briefs for your growing boys and Boy Cut Undies for your growing girls.
You will also find bralettes for young girls and “compresso” tees for young boys. These specially designed undergarments offer the sensation of a gentle hug that many children on the autism spectrum find reassuring and anxiety-reducing. There is no elastic used in Smart Knit Kids products to bind or wear against sensitive skin.
Smart Knit Kids also offers seamless socks designed to help reduce your autistic child’s aversion to wearing shoes. Designed to be super soft and form-fitting, these moisture-wicking socks will reduce the likelihood of bunching and wrinkling that can lead to sensitive wear against your child’s feet.
Target has an adaptive clothing line for kids who struggle with sensory challenges and other special needs. This clothing line features no tags, flat seams, and cotton blends for softness and comfort. This site offers cost conscious choices for children who struggle with comfort but can tolerate flat seams.
You will find girls leggings priced $7.50 for two pair. Toddler t-shirts sell for $9.50 for two, and pajamas range in price from $12.99 to $14.99.
You will also find tagless options from Hanes for your autistic kids. If your child struggles with tags but can tolerate elastic and seams, Hanes brand is a much less expensive option for obtaining your autistic child’s undergarments. You will find Boys Tagless Briefs (7 pack for $9.99), boys crewneck t-shirts (6-pack for $13), Toddler Girl’s Cotton Hipsters (6-pack for $8).
Van’s offers a collection of sensory-friendly footwear and apparel. The items in Van’s Autism Awareness Collection feature calming colors and soft materials. Van’s Comfy Cush Old Skool Shoes are produced with soft outsoles and rubber tread for a winning combination of comfort and durability. Priced at $75, these shoes are designed with added arch support and moisture-wicking linings for added comfort.
Kozie Clothes provides a selection of compression clothes that can be worn as outerwear or under clothing to help your autistic child relax. These clothes are designed to provide deep pressure without binding. Compression clothing works the same way as a weighted blanket. Kozie’s compression clothing supports the release of serotonin and dopamine.
Neurotransmitters released due to the gentle pressure of compression clothes will help your child feel calm. In response to compression clothes, your child can be expected to experience a reduced heart rate and blood pressure. The gentle pressure of compression clothing can help your child feel safe as he/she moves through the day.
You will find short sleeve compression shirts for $38 to $46 each. Long sleeve compression shirts retail for $39. Unisex compression shorts will cost $35 and compression pants will cost $38. Kozie offers compression clothing for children from 12 months to size 16.
Smart Knit Kids:
Smart Knit Kids Compresso-T offers gentle compression. Easily worn under everyday clothes, this t-shirt is an exceptional layer that allows your child to feel a relaxing all day hug from a soft tagless shirt. Designed of wicking fabric, this sleeveless t-shirt provides four way stretch and is available on Amazon for $14.99 to 22.96 each or $41.96 for a set of three.
Brushed and combed cotton is generally a good choice of fabrics for your autistic child. Although many blended materials feel soft to the touch, you should also be aware that your child may struggle with feeling too warm in synthetic fabrics as they do not breathe as well as natural fabrics.What brands support autism? ›
- Quality Pasta Company.
- Vivint Gives Back.
- Comfees® Premium Diapers, Comfees® Premium Training Pants, and Comfees® Premium Youth Pants. ...
- Jasco Products.
- RoadID. ...
- The Autism Site.
Autistic people may display a range of strengths and abilities that can be directly related to their diagnosis, including: Learning to read at a very early age (known as hyperlexia). Memorising and learning information quickly. Thinking and learning in a visual way.What colors soothe autism? ›
Red should never be used in the home as children with ASD perceive the color as florescent. Yellows likewise are very stimulating and are best to avoid. Greens, blues, pinks, soft oranges and neutrals can be very comforting. Keeping the colors muted, these tones can quiet the mind and create calm.What color is best for autism? ›
The color blue's association to autism originated with the autism advocacy association known as Autism Speaks. Their “Light it Up Blue” campaign calls for people to wear blue to promote autism awareness.What are autism issues with clothing? ›
A child with autism may be overly sensitive to scratchy seams and tags. They may react to clothes or waistbands that are too tight. They may react to clothes that are too loose and likely to slip off. They may be reacting to itchiness caused by allergies.What stuff helps autism? ›
There are many different options and approaches to ASD treatment, including behavior therapy, speech-language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nutritional therapy. While you don't have to limit your child to just one treatment at a time, it's unlikely you'll be able to address everything at once.What to wear when working with autism? ›
Casual or Small Business Casual – The least formal clothing appropriate for work and closest to everyday clothing, although sweatpants, t-shirts, and sometimes jeans are not appropriate.Is it OK to wear blue for autism? ›
Light it up blue
As a result, a lot of people in the autism community refrain from using blue for awareness/acceptance month, as they don't want to be associated with Autism Speaks, or be perceived as supporting what they stand for.
Clothing challenges are a common issue among people with autism and hypersensitivity has more to do with the sensation of something against the skin than it does with sensitivity to only one type of texture or fabric.
Most of the time, autistic kids who take their clothes off do so because they just don't like the feeling of the fabric on their skin. It's not as easy to keeping them wrapped in fabrics as soft as cashmere and whisper light as thin cotton; kids with autism can't control what they react strongly to.What is gifted autism called? ›
An autistic person who's also gifted is considered “twice exceptional” (2e). Giftedness and autism are types of exceptionalities. When children are both intellectually gifted and have a neurobiological difference, motor skills issue, or learning disability, they're 2e kids.What are three strengths of autism? ›
- attention to detail.
- visual perception.
- creative and artistic talents.
- mathematical and technical abilities.
- interests or expertise in 'niche' areas.
- character strengths such as honesty and loyalty.
Savants with autism typically show amazing skill within one or more general ability domains. Mathematical, artistic, musical, spatial and mechanical abilities are most common. Most savants have a single skills but some have been reported to have more than one.What flower represents autism? ›
Blue “Forget-me-not” flower to raise awareness for the needs of people with autism.What emoji is used for autism? ›
Gold or rainbow infinity sign for autism
The use of a rainbow spectrum in the infinity symbol was designed to drive awareness of the diversity among neurodivergent individuals.
THE PUZZLE piece as a symbol for autism was originally used by the National Autism Society in UK in 1963. Time went by and it was used to represent autism by an organisation in America, Autism Speaks.What color is the autism heart? ›
Some organizations also use a blue heart as a symbol for autism, which conveys love and support for individuals with autism and their families.What are the colors for autism in 2023? ›
In April We Wear Blue Autism Awareness Month 2023 World Autism Awareness Day 2023-In April We Wear Blue Throw Pillow, 18x18, Multicolor.Which animal is the best pet for an autistic child? ›
Dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs are not just cute companions, they're also great for helping autistic children with their social and emotional development.
Why hoodies? Some Autistic people can experience sensory sensitivities and become overloaded by stimuli, but when wearing their hoodie up, they can block out bright lights and busy environments which helps to calm them and regain their focus.What brings autistic? ›
Having a sibling with ASD. Having certain genetic or chromosomal conditions, such as fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis. Experiencing complications at birth. Being born to older parents.
Autism affects parts of the brain that control emotions, communication, and body movements. By the toddler years, some children with ASDs have unusually large heads and brains -- which may be because of problems with brain growth.What do autistic children need most? ›
Although this can sometimes feel challenging, it is important to recognize three very simple factors that every person with ASD needs: safety, acceptance and a sense of competence.What can calm autistic people? ›
Strategies to consider include distraction, diversion, helping the person use calming strategies such as fiddle toys or listening to music, removing any potential triggers, and staying calm yourself.What can calm down autistic child? ›
Find sensory tools that can comfort a child at times of stress. These may include squeezy toys, weighted blankets, a calming video or book, a swing set, or even a pet. If a meltdown occurs, allow your child the time and space to calm themselves down and learn to self-regulate.What is the best fabric for sensory issues? ›
Clothes made from synthetic materials can be uncomfortable to kids who are sensitive to touch. Instead of synthetic blends, consider buying natural, breathable fabrics, such as 100 percent cotton, soft — not scratchy — wool, bamboo, and linen.What textures do autistic children like? ›
Furthermore, participants' preferred soft and comfortable textures, like satin; previous research also reporting that autistic individuals enjoy touching soft and smooth textures (Cascio et al., 2012).How do you dress with sensory issues? ›
Wash clothing in unscented detergent. Dry clothing with unscented fabric softener. Dry clothing in a dryer to decrease stiffness. Choose fabrics like fleece rather than rigid items like denim.Be conscious of noises from buckles and over straps.Does coloring help with autism? ›
Children with autism may have difficulty with fine motor skills and may also struggle with social interactions. Coloring can be a great way to help these children improve their fine motor skills and their ability to focus on a task for an extended period of time.
The Autistic Empire has released a high-resolution, professionally designed, autistic pride flag under the Creative Commons free culture licence permitting any use of this flag, including commercial use, as long as attribution is made to the Autistic Empire (see details below).Why is gold used for autism? ›
Gold as a colour for today is preferred as it is based on the chemical symbol for gold being 'Au', the first two letters of autism, but also because throughout history gold has been something that is strived for and of immense value – often missing from the lives of autistic people.Do autistic people wear the same clothes everyday? ›
Some autistic children might want to wear the same clothes or keep wearing socks all the time. This is because they feel comfortable in those clothes and do not feel overwhelmed by them. This can be a problem when it comes to going out, as the child will not have anything else to wear.Why do autistic child cover their ears? ›
Many children with autism have auditory sensitivities to specific sounds, such as a fire engine, baby crying, or toilet flushing. Covering their ears is one way to lessen the auditory input.What to do when overstimulated autism? ›
- Remember the rule of one. Use the rule of one when a child is deeply stressed, anxious or in the middle of a meltdown. ...
- Deep Breathing. ...
- Isometric Exercise. ...
- Deep Pressure. ...
- Massage. ...
- Provide a Box of Tactile Items. ...
- Create a Calming Area. ...
Touch is an important component of many social experiences for many people. Autistic children commonly avoid social touch more than non-autistic peers. It is generally thought that this is due to autistic individuals experiencing hyper- or hyposensitivity of touch.Why do autistic kids like to be barefoot? ›
For many people with autism, walking barefoot helps calm down their nerves and lessens their stress while the varying textures awaken their world. Those with autism appear to be more alert and in tune with their surroundings while they are barefoot.Do autistic kids like to be barefoot? ›
Children with autism may prefer to be barefoot due to sensory sensitivities. Shoes can provide a variety of sensations that can be uncomfortable or even painful for some children on the spectrum. The feeling of certain materials, such as leather or rubber, may be overwhelming or irritating for them.What is the IQ range for autism? ›
31% of children with ASD have an intellectual disability (intelligence quotient [IQ] <70), 25% are in the borderline range (IQ 71–85), and 44% have IQ scores in the average to above average range (i.e., IQ >85).
Estimated rates of intellectual giftedness in autistic children are 0.7–2%, compared to up to 1% in the general public.
They're called “twice-exceptional,” or 2e, which means that they have exceptional ability and disability. They are gifted but they also face learning or developmental challenges. Children who are both gifted and challenged can be tough to understand.What are the four A's of autism? ›
4 A's of Autism: Awareness to Acceptance to Appreciation to Action as a Pathway to Fulfilling and Productive Lives. We are transitioning from “awareness” to “acceptance” and headed to “appreciation” as society takes “action” in valuing individuals on the autism spectrum for whom they are.Can Level 3 autism get better? ›
However, it is also possible for children with level 3 autism to improve over time. If they get an accurate diagnosis, impactful therapy plans, and early interventions, they have a better chance of overcoming any growth delays.What is level 3 autism like? ›
ASD level 3 is characterized by severe challenges in social communication as well as extremely inflexible behavior. Children with level 3 autism will be nonverbal or have the use of only a few words of intelligible speech. Initiation of social interaction is very limited, as well as response to others.Which genius was autistic? ›
Einstein himself had many autistic traits. He did not learn to speak until he was three, and he had a lack of concern about his appearance.How do autism kids see the world? ›
For people on the autism spectrum, the world is a bewildering place. With oversensitive sensory systems, they battle to process the maelstrom of information flowing into their brains. Often the result is sensory overload, leading to signature behaviours such as tantrums, anxiety and social withdrawal.What are top autistic interests? ›
Many autistic people have intense and highly-focused interests, often from a fairly young age. These can change over time or be lifelong. It can be art, music, gardening, animals, postcodes or numbers. For many younger children it's Thomas the Tank Engine, dinosaurs or particular cartoon characters.What is adaptive sensory friendly clothing? ›
Sensory clothing is designed specifically with sensory issues in mind and lessening the negative impacts of clothing on those who wear them. There are many different disabilities that cause issues with the texture of fabric.What are sensory issues with fabric? ›
What are some signals indicating a sensory clothing issue? According to Petix, children with sensory clothing issues can sense every seam, wrinkle or fuzz ball in a sock. They are extremely irritated by tags. They may not be able to tolerate clothes that fit them and rather prefer clothes that are too tight or too big.What are autistic people sensitive to? ›
Many autistic people experience hypersensitivity to bright lights or certain light wavelengths (e.g., LED or fluorescent lights). Certain sounds, smells, textures and tastes can also be overwhelming. This can result in sensory avoidance – trying to get away from stimuli that most people can easily tune out.
Choose fabrics that appeal to him and are soft and snuggly: cotton, flannel, sateen, or t-shirt materials. Consider patterns and prints that are fun but not overly stimulating. Weighted blankets and heavy comforters can support sleep patterns because they provide deep touch pressure sensory input.Do autistic children like shiny things? ›
Children with ASD may be distracted by or drawn to reach out for badges, guns, keys, belt buckles, radio, or other shiny objects. As noted, children with ASD often do not like to be touched.How do you dress a child with sensory issues? ›
Wash clothing in unscented detergent. Dry clothing with unscented fabric softener. Dry clothing in a dryer to decrease stiffness. Choose fabrics like fleece rather than rigid items like denim.Be conscious of noises from buckles and over straps.What fabric is best for sensory? ›
Clothes made from synthetic materials can be uncomfortable to kids who are sensitive to touch. Instead of synthetic blends, consider buying natural, breathable fabrics, such as 100 percent cotton, soft — not scratchy — wool, bamboo, and linen.What are examples of adaptive clothing? ›
Types of Adaptive Clothing. Adaptive clothing frequently looks like regular attire at a glance, but offers ease and comfort such as open back shirts, extra wide slip-on slippers and shoes, easy snap pants, and wrap-around skirts and dresses.What is tactile clothing? ›
By measuring a person's movements and poses, smart clothes developed at MIT CSAIL could be used for athletic training, rehabilitation, or health-monitoring for elder-care facilities.What materials are autism friendly? ›
As mentioned in our Fabrics for Sensitive Skin post, natural fibers are one of the most reliable sources of sensory-friendly fabrics. Fibers such as cotton, linen, and bamboo are naturally breathable and insulating, allowing for a more relaxing wear.What makes sensory issues worse? ›
Can it become worse as one ages? SPD becomes worse with injuries and when with normal aging as the body begins to become less efficient. So, if you always had balance problems and were clumsy, this can become more of a problem in your senior years.Can clothes cause sensory overload? ›
People with sensory sensitivity may find certain clothes itchy, heavy or tight. Furthermore, this contributes to sensory overload.