Taking care of infants and toddlers can be challenging for any parent or caregiver, more so if the child has special needs. In such a case, having the right tools and equipment help–from phone apps to specialized furniture.
But one aspect that you might find challenging is shopping for appropriate clothes. Thankfully, there’s a fast-growing segment in the fashion industry that sells adaptive clothing. These are apparels designed for the elderly, infirmed, and people with disabilities across all age groups.
To help you with your shopping, here are five tips on how to pick clothing for infants and toddlers with special needs.
1. Find a Knowledgeable Retailer
As mentioned earlier, adaptive clothing is getting more popular these days. Decades ago, only a few retailers were offering this type of apparel. But, nowadays, even big fashion giants are trying to snap up the lion’s share of this special market segment. As a result, it’s getting harder to choose items because of the sheer number of options now present in the market.
To help narrow your choices down, it would be a good idea to focus on retailers that specialize in adaptive clothing. This is because they have adequate knowledge and experience in servicing people with disabilities. You’ll know that they have studied and spent a lot of time choosing the fabric and designing clothing functionality.
Kozie Clothes is one example of a retailer focused on creating apparel for differently-abled kids and infants. Its founder is an experienced pediatric occupational therapist and a long-time advocate for children with special needs. So, you can be assured that the company knows what they’re doing.
2. Look For Clothing Designed For The Specific Disability
Unlike ordinary apparel, there are no all-purpose clothes for infants and toddlers with special needs. Each clothing should be designed specifically for the disability.
For example, compression clothing caters to kids with sensory conditions, such as autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and other similar behavioral conditions. Meanwhile, adaptive medical clothing like open-toe socks for babies makes intravenous tubes accessible. There are also one-piece suits appropriate for babies that require feeding tubes and need to be attached to monitors or other medical gadgets.
3. Don’t Forget About Fashion
Parents of kids with special needs usually prefer function and comfort over aesthetics. Often, the little ones look awkward, if not unfashionable. One meaningful way to support your child with special needs is by teaching them how to live a normal life so they’ll feel comfortable when they interact with other kids.
An excellent first step in making your child with special needs feel as normal as possible is through their clothes. Pick colorful adaptative clothing even during your child’s infant years. When they get older and they see themselves in the pictures, they won’t look vastly different from the other kids at the daycare or park. Hence, find adaptive clothing retailers that merge function and fashion seamlessly.
4. Go Ahead And Shop Online
For busy parents of infants and toddlers with special needs, it would be a good idea to shop for their baby’s clothes online. By doing so, they’ll find it easier to squeeze in time for shopping, even during the wee hours of the morning. However, many are concerned that only a few online retailers cater to kids with special needs.
Don’t worry about not having enough online stores offering adaptive clothing. According to Coherent Market Insights, the adaptive clothing market is seen to reach $400 billion by 2025, up from $217 billion in 2017. This means more brands will notice this segment, hence more online stores will offer clothes that are both functional and fashionable.
5. Consider Your Comfort
As a parent, you’re concerned about your baby’s comfort and style. There’s nothing wrong with that if your child with special needs can dress and look after themselves. But if your child is still an infant, you should also think about yourself or the caregiver when selecting clothes and accessories.
This means you should also look for a clothing design that’ll allow you to dress up your baby fast and hassle-free. For instance, choose onesies with a rear opening so it’s more efficient to put on and remove even when the baby is struggling or moving. Also, instead of regular buttons, you may want to select tops or bottoms that use Velcro or snap-on buttons. By doing so, dressing up your baby won’t be time-consuming.
Selecting clothes for babies with special needs can be challenging for most parents. Luckily, an increasing number of adaptive clothing retailers offer utilitarian apparels that are also fashionable. If you’re a parent of a special-needs infant or toddler, it would be best to know how to pick suitable clothing that addresses your child’s special condition.