One of my friends has a really difficult time keeping socks on her kids. Two of her youngest kidlets struggle to stay calm and relaxed when their socks feel funny; namely, when they can feel the toeseam on their feet. I don't blame them! Wearing uncomfortable clothing can be really distracting! If a tag makes you want to itch and squirm, it's not doing you any favors. Instead, it's keeping you from focusing on the task at hand calmly and enjoying yourself. Kids with sensory processing disorder are notorious for being triggered by uncomfortable clothing. Some parents have figured out workarounds for their children. For example, my friend tries to choose shoes that can be worn without socks. Other moms I know dress their kids exclusively in pants with no buttons or zippers. But sensory sensitive kids have even more options today than ever before!
In my research on clothing for the sensory-sensitive, I found two basic categories of specifically-catered clothing. The first is the most obvious - tagless, seamless, soft clothing. It's designed to avoid itching, scratching, wiggling, squirming, and the general distraction of wearing something that feels uncomfortable. Secondly, you'll find a sort of compression clothing that's designed to treat or prevent sensory overload. It's the clothing version of a weighted blanket. Having constant compression throughout the day helps those with sensory sensitivities organize their thoughts and reactions to stimulus - so they can make sense of chaos or overwhelming stimuli.
Best known for being the go-to in baby and toddler basics, Primary has a line of clothing that's specifically designed to ease sensory processing issues. I personally LOVE Primary - they have the best easy Halloween costume ideas every year! Every piece of clothing is made from super soft, natural materials with no itchy tags or scratchy seams. They're all easy to get on and off too; no tricky closures like buttons or zippers. With every item $25 or less, Primary is a great option for those with mild or moderate sensory sensitivities.
With a line of basics that include some high-tech seamless socks and undies, CalmWear is a fantastic solution for sensory issues! Each item is a compression garment with varying degrees of coverage - shorts or pants, tanks or tees. Since the items can be easily worn under "regular" clothing, they're a discreet way to provide comfort and stability for unexpected sensory overload.
Fun And Function
One of my favorite features of the Fun And Function website is the ability to sort by issue: sensory seeking, sensory under responding, sensory over-responding, biting, chewing, etc. They have compiled the best clothing options for each different need so there's no guesswork! With everything from compression clothes to weighted jackets or vests, Fun And Function is a go-to resource for parents of sensory-sensitive kiddos.
Every item is completely seamless! This helps kids who feel every little bump and lump in their clothing, especially in their basic undergarments. Remember my friend who has kiddos with sock frustrations? SmartKnit socks could possibly help ease their worries! Some of their items also offer compression support that calms and soothes throughout the day.
This company goes beyond sensory needs to address specific medical needs as well. Called, "adaptive medical clothing", Kozie Clothes provides specialty items that would seriously benefit frequently-hospitalized kids. Their K-sock is perfect for accommodating pulse oximetry monitors while keeping kids warm and not barefoot in the hospital. They even have a line of g-tube products that give easy access for feeding!
While you might not find sensory-sensitive clothes at your local department store, don't despair! It's possible to keep your kiddo comfortable with specialty items designed to meet their specific needs.
Which clothing lines do you find most helpful for your sensory sensitive child? Share more resources with me on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3 with #SensoryClothing.