Clothes For Children Who Have Challenges With Sensory Processing

I just went to a course this past week (yes, another one! ‘Tis the time of year!) regarding autism and sensory processing disorders.

For those of you who missed the posts I have done in the past regarding children with challenges in sensory modulation, indicators of sensory modulation typically include extreme inflexibility, resistance to activities, difficulty in transitioning in activities, poor behavior, over or under reaction to the environment, perseverating behaviors, a lack of inner drive or motivation, avoidance behaviors and difficulty focusing attention.

One thing that many children who have difficulty with sensory modulation find challenging is finding clothes they can feel good in.  Dressing can be the most difficult point of the day for a child challenged by sensory issues and their parents. 

Of course, work with a therapist who specializes in sensory modulation and processing can be invaluable!  Sensory “defensiveness” responds well to proprioceptive input as well – heavy work,  and an effective “sensory diet” planned for them every day.  You can see more about that here in this back post:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/10/20/an-effective-sensory-diet-for-your-homeschool-the-over-responders/

However,  I also wanted to pass along some of the links I received for clothing.  Companies mentioned included:

www.smartknitkids.com for totally seamless underwear and socks

www.tereskids.com for seamless, tagless organic clothing made in the USA

and www.hannaandersson.com also for clothing

I want to hear from you!  Do you have a favorite clothing company that is a saving grace in getting your clothing-sensitive child dressed?

Oddly (or not so oddly), the course I went to recommended LESS CHOICE, to really pre-select what a child can pick from.  Have only one or two things out only, or totally lay out the clothes if you can, because otherwise it is not whittled down between picking A or B or whether or not we put these clothes on, but it morphs into tearing apart all the clothes in the closet everyday out of sheer desperation.  A visual activity chart was also suggested in terms of laying out all the  different parts of the morning routine in order to try to “unstick” the focus on dressing.

In the next post, I want to highlight some products I learned about that could be helpful for children who are learning about the “hidden curriculum” of society.

Many blessings, and I cannot wait to hear some more companies that are helpful in this challenge.

Carrie

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24 thoughts on “Clothes For Children Who Have Challenges With Sensory Processing

  1. Garden Kids make super comfy long johns and kids clothes. They are organic and made in the USA…my 5yo is sensitive to seams and tags and is very comfortable at night with the long johns on. Thanks for posting the links to the other companies!

  2. Carrie thank you for bringing a positive attention to SPD. My 5 yo has SPD and we see a great OT once a week. IT is a lot on our family having to drive , miss homeschool time etc..As I was reading about clothes I laughed because my dd likes to live inher skin :) but we have been blessed (by her God parents) whom send us lots of Hanna Anderson clothes. They ARE the best IMO.

  3. We just discovered two weeks ago that my four year old son has sensory processing disorder, but he is a sensory seeker with some other sensory modulation issues. This really explains his energetic behavior and aggressiveness too. We are seeing an occupational therapist whom he loves and we’ve been trying to do more heavy work at home and before we go places, or even when we’re at places that are over-stimulating for him, and the heavy work really helps him. Anyway, I just thought I’d share our experience so far, even though he doesn’t have problems with clothing. :)

  4. We have a sensitive child and all his clothes are the same – no choice at all anymore!! He did help choose what is comfortable for him, though, of course (I think of course). He has about twenty pairs of the same socks (not seamless, but we went through many before he found one he liked – we get them locally in Israel – we tried Maggie’s and Hanna Andersson and Gap but he didn’t like any of those). For shirts, he likes the polo shirts from HA and he has about seven of them, some short sleeved, some long-sleeved. Pants we get locally also – he has six of the exact same 100% cotton cargo pants (all the same color even). Undies we get the Hanna organic undies (all white – tried color once but then if he had to change midday, he wanted the same color, so we quickly gave those away and went to all white). PJs he wears the red thermal organic ones from Hanna – he’s been wearing the same pjs for over a year, even through the entire Israeli summer and I just ordered the next size up. Shoes he wears the Soft Star moccasins – also same exact shoes for years – I just keep getting the next size up. So now that we’ve found things that he finds comfortable and appealing, it’s smooth sailing ;)

  5. My daughter is very sensitive to clothing. I’d love to knit warm clothing for winter for her, but I’m wondering what fibre to use. I’d like to avoid acrylic yarn. Does anyone recommend any other particular animal fibres?

    • This may sound a little crazy – but my child and I are both most comfortable in washable silks. or silk/ merino blends. that is what I try to use when I knit for her. Cascade Yarns makes one called Venezia in several weights, great colors and is sort of reasonably priced. She can even stand this yarn wrapped around her very sensitive neck. happy knitting!

  6. One of my sons is extremely sensitive. I went through his wardrobe (mostly hand me downs from a cousin) and only put in his drawers what I know he’ll wear. We don’t have to battle any more too much because I know he has approved everything at least once. He won’t wear anything with buttons or zippers except coats. I have also had to explain to my mom what he will wear because he hasn’t worn much of what she has bought in the past. I haven’t used this company but I have seen that http://www.softclothing.net/ also sells clothes for sensory challenges.

  7. My daughter’s sensory issues with clothes are incredibly frustrating to me (though I understand and am sympathetic, it really wears on a mama). She does not like “soft on soft,” meaning she HATES when she is wearing cotton clothing in her carseat, at the dining room table (upholstered chairs), etc. I just recently found some shirts at Target of all places – they’re what she calls “silky” shirts – the Champion athletic short sleeved 100% polyester shirts. I bought them 2 sizes too big so that I don’t have to stretch them out to keep her armpits from touching the sleeves. Unfortunately I could only find 3, so they’re wearing out pretty fast. We just got some Champion pants at Target too – I was so grateful to find them, because she had been going to school in CuddleDudz (long underwear). Luckily her preschool is incredible and doesn’t mind that she spends half the day half dressed. I DREAD when she starts kindergarten.

    *** If anyone knows of a carseat (5 pt harness) that isn’t lumpy (doesn’t have sectioned padding in the back), I would be grateful for a recommendation! ***

  8. extreme inflexibility (has to have it his way, the way he describes it, or it is reduced to tears?) resistance to activities (wants to go, looks forward to going, get to the actual moment we have to dress and leave, all of a sudden doesn’t want to go or doesn’t want to get in car seat?) difficulty in transitioning in activities (I want to continue doing x!) poor behavior (steamrolling brother, poking, pushing, prodding, pulling brother, writing on walls, and…and…) over or under reaction to the environment , perseverating behaviors (has to finish peeling xth crayon before he’ll put it down, and will continue if not stood over), a lack of inner drive or motivation (he’s only 4, but wants Dada to play with him, read to him instead of playing by self?), avoidance behaviors and difficulty focusing attention (is much more like 3 years old than 4.25 but at 3 he had more ease in focusing).

    re: car seat – can’t think of one, but if you created a cover that went around the harness and just attached at top & bottom (can use elastic or clip it underneath and on top) you can bypass the lumpiness. Wish I could find a car seat that isn’t just BPA and other chemical-laden! wish I could find a CAR that is the same!

    • Lisa B.
      Michelle – your post probably fits our daughter the best as of late. She has always had sensory issues with clothing and now shoes. She was recently diagnosed with ADD and dyslexia so we are struggling with those issues as well. The med for ADD intensifies her sensory issues to the point that her teacher has let her wear sock feet in the class pe days so she could concentrate (other days she wears crocs/cold/rain/whatever). Preschool was bad, kindergarten was even worse. I cannot tell you how many pairs of underwear, pants, shirts, shoes we have at our house that she cannot wear. Now it has gotten to the point to were she doesn’t want to change underwear b/c they are “just right” after wearing them!! She started off first grade great, I was so shocked she was actually wearing her new clothes, giving things a try that were not just right and one day the switch was turned off. She acts very immature for 7, cannot play by herself & gets mad at me or her little sister when we don’t want to play; mean to her sister; has to everything her way, very tiring at times.

      I am so glad I found this posts to get great ideas on shoes and clothes and if nothing else, just be reminded my husband and I are not alone!!

    • Lisa,
      There are other posts on this site about sensory processing as well..do check those out. We are glad you are here!
      Also, feel free to read through the posts categorized by age under the Development header…they might be helpful.
      Blessings,
      Carrie

  9. My son hates the pinching from the waist button on most pants for 8 year old boys…I’ve had good luck in the past finding pants and jeans from LL Bean that had elastic waists. And this year Sears added some to their kids line

  10. Carrie – thank you for your ongoing attention to this subject…I think much of what brought me to Waldorf and your blog several years ago was this focus/orientation toward sensory integration. And intuition that guided me to what we now know are my son’s significant sensory processing and modulation challenges…Thanks for this post in particular, as I am currently testing out various warm weather garments to see what he will tolerate this year…

  11. For years Gracie could only wear Hanna outfits, and I bought four playdress sets with leggings from Ebay for each season, and she wore them over and over and over and over all through that season. I donated EVERYthing that wasn’t comfortable for her. If someone bought her something that wasn’t up to her standard of comfort, we’d donate it. This way, she only had comfy clothes in her closet (albeit only a few outfits!!) and this made dressing a snap in the mornings. (Yes, this meant she repeated her clothing all the time — that’s OK!) Luckily Hanna outfits wash and wear so well, they’d last until she grew out of them. Eventually (at 10 or 11) she could begin wearing Target’s knitwear, depending upon the cut of the clothing. When we found a pair of leggings or a shirt that worked, I’d buy 4 of them! :-) Target clothing doesn’t last nearly as long as Hanna does, however. Now she is 13 and can wear a much greater variety of clothing. She still needs every item to be comfortable, but she can wear jeans, skirts, tights, turtlenecks — which she sure couldn’t wear for the dozen years before this! :-) For years she could only wear slippers – not real shoes. We didn’t even bother buying shoes, because she could NOT stand wearing them. Luckily, girls can get away with wearing ballet style slippers or boot style slippers as footwear.

    • Thank you, for giving me hope I am at my wits end. My four year old just seemed to get worse a couple of weeks ago she was sensitive but today she is beyond that I am breaking down. She wont wear underwear or socks every shoe bothers her, every tag, every button, every string etc etc.

  12. Soft Star Shoes are wonderful as a shoe option. They are formaldehyde-free leathers with a comfortable barefoot like feel. Lined with natural sheep skin. Their winter boots are also wonderful.

  13. I just happened to stumble across your post! I would love to share Peekaboo Beans with you, We are a Canadian company that makes clothing that is functional, comfortable and stylish. PB is a great choice for kids with sensory issues. All of our seams are made using flat-lock stitching, our fabric is made from a cotton/spandex blend with just the right amount of stretch, our waistbands are snug and have a sewn in drawstring waist, and our tops have thumholes. If you’d like to find out more, check us out: http://www.pbstylist.com for more info or to order.

  14. My grandson suddenly refused to wear any pants but those slippery pull on sports pants from Nike and others. Do you know any pants made sort of like these but are nicer looking. I don’t know what the key is to these being successes. He used to wear jeans and other chinos. Have lots of clothes not being worn

    • Carol Childs, can I suggest Peekaboo Beans? The clothing is made with a cotton spandex blend, and all the seams are made using flat lock stitching so they are flat and smooth. We’ve had really great success with boys especially who have a hard time with pants. Email me and I can send you a catalog, vicky@peekaboobeans.com

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