Adaptive Clothing 101: What is Sensory Friendly Clothing?
Adaptive clothing comes in many different shapes and sizes, and although we most often hear conversation about the adaptive clothing that accommodates physical disabilities. Despite the focus on alternative fasteners such as magnet clasps or zippers, or different fundamental construction, sensory clothing is a crucial part of the adaptive clothing market.
If you're ever confused about the difference between types of adaptive clothing, take a look at this graphic that gives a basic rundown of them!
You might be wondering, what is sensory friendly clothing and why would someone need it? Some individuals are more sensitive towards the material that touches their skin, and will interact differently with particular garment textures, weights, and seams. 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. For most people, they don't have to think twice about what they put on in the morning, and once we put on our outfit for the day we don't give it a second thought. However, for many sensations are incredibly overwhelming and clothing has to be a very smooth texture in order for them to wear it. Clothing is such an important form of self-expression, and it can be incredibly frustrating when the only pieces one can wear are lounge pants and tee shirts.
Most of the time clothing companies don't offer any sort of adaptive clothing for those with sensory friendly issues. It can be as simple as removing a seam from a pair of socks to prevent distraction and discomfort.
Other ways to adapt clothing for those with sensory issues are to replace tight bands or elastic with a loose casing, or removing any raised elastic on the piece. These aren't revolutionary ways to adapt clothing, but they make a revolutionary difference in the way people feel throughout the day and the way they experience their lives.
Adapting clothes for those with sensory issues also doesn't mean that anything has to be removed, there are also additional elements of design that can be added which can relieve elements of stress or anxiety that come throughout the day. One way that this can be implemented is through compression clothing, which can relieve anxiety by grounding the person wearing it. It acts almost like a weighted blanket, weighing them down to their surroundings and increasing the awareness of the surrounding environment.
The bottom line is that sensory issues are incredibly serious and adaptive sensory friendly clothing is necessary. There needs to be more awareness of this issue so everyone can feel comfortable not only in their own skin, but in their own clothing. Next week we're going to talk more about sensory-friendly brands that do a great job of providing adaptive sensory friendly clothes.
Let us know if you have any awesome sensory friendly brands you want us to talk about!