Target Creates Clothing Tailored to Kids with Autism
Parents of children with autism know that the disorder brings about many difficulties. Many of these difficulties are behavioral, especially in regards with communication and social skills.
However, people with autism often have sensory difficulties as well. They can be hyposensitive and so don’t feel cold even when the temperature is below freezing, or hypersensitive and so any shirt tag or seam can cause hours of consternation for child and parent.
The major retailer Target has come out with clothes that may help. Called “Adaptive Clothing,” these garments are being produced under the Cat and Jack line, an in-house brand.
Sensitivity adaptive clothing
One of the sensory issues which can plague people with autism is hypersensitivity. Specifically, hypertactility, which affects the sense of touch.
Socks often have seams in the toes that can rub against the toes, or the socks bunch up in the shoe.
Nearly everyone has wrestled with a shirt tag that itches that itches their back. Then you whip out some scissors and cut off the tag, but the respite is short lived as the fabric edge can still be felt.
Seams often do not lay flat and can rub you the wrong way.
Elastic, there to hold the garment up, can pinch the skin and be annoying.
Even how a pocket is attached to the article of clothing can cause a small amount of discomfort.
If you’re sensitive to such things, which is common for children with autism, these minor irritations become major issues. Getting clothed can me a herculean task, especially since you often don’t know what will work and what will not.
Adaptive clothing is the term for clothes intended for people with special needs. Though this term is also used for clothes intended for the elderly or those who are disabled, in this case it refers to clothing tailored to reduce the amount of sensation felt by the wearer.
For those with sensory processing sensitivities, this can turn getting dressed from a necessary evil to an opportunity to enjoy comfort and fashion.
Cat and Jack
Target’s new adaptive clothing, available for both boys and girls, is part of the Cat and Jack line. One of the designers for the new clothes is Stacey Monsen, who is the mother of a seven year old autistic daughter. She knows better than some the difficulties inherent in finding good clothing.
Most of the changes make intuitive sense. Seams are flat and covered so they will not stick out and rub against your skin. Instead of fabric tags that project out and irritate, the clothes have heat transferred labels.
Sometimes the decorations on clothing can stiffen the cloth, but the Cat and Jack line does not use any such decoration. This is not to say that they are all boring and plain. You can find everything from cats and dinosaurs to cute sayings.
Some of the other additions are a bit less intuitive, but still very helpful. Most of the tops have hidden access to the abdomen, and the bottoms are oversized at the hips compared to typical clothing sizes.
These are to make the clothing more diaper friendly, an important consideration for parents of children with autism who have had difficulties with potty training. Stacey Monsen has first hand experience with that aspect of autism.
Read on to learn more about this and other thoughtful clothing changes by Target.