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.
What is an Adaptive Clothing?
Adapted clothing is inclusive clothing made for those who struggle to dress themselves or for kids with special needs. Snaps, buttons, zippers, and hooks can make dressing and undressing difficult for people with impairments. However, these kinds of materials are absent from adapted baby clothes and adaptable children’s clothing, making getting dressed more straightforward for both you and your child.
Practical, adaptable clothing must meet the wide range of needs that various consumers with special needs have while still being stylish and on-trend. For people with a range of disabilities, fashion manufacturers have recently started to offer trendy apparel in new forms that combine technology and fashion.
Different companies offer a selection of adaptable apparel and accessories made for kids with disabilities. These companies are passionate about designing sensory-friendly clothes and accessories, such as wheelchair coverings and chewies, that help improve your child’s social skills by meeting their individual needs without taking away their sense of style or ability to express themselves.
Kids with special needs need specialized apparel and accessories and extra support even in dressing themselves, including daily activities. These adaptive clothing and accessories are created from comfortable materials. They are specially made to meet the needs of kids with autism, down syndrome, and many other specialized needs. There is an array of adaptive apparel, including tube access clothes, special needs bibs, seamless socks, and accessories with various assistance, like chewies, wheelchair covers, bedding, and more.
Features of Adaptive Clothing
Most people prefer to wear clothing that is both attractive and comfortable. When people dress in something they love, they feel better about themselves. But it can be challenging for parents of kids with physical, cognitive, or sensory impairments to find fashionable, comfortable clothing that is simple to put on and take off. Fortunately, many businesses produce stylish, adaptable clothes to support those who need help with conventional clothing styles. Adapted clothing, often known as “inclusive fashion” and “accessible clothes,” has advanced significantly and might be able to help you or a loved one.
Magnets rather than buttons
Magnetic zippers are used in adaptive apparel. The zip ends are connected by magnets, making it simpler to zip up clothing one-handedly. Moreover, magnets have been utilized in place of buttons in shirts, slacks, and other clothing items. They make it possible for people who lack the skill or ability to use buttons to dress more comfortably.
Several shoe designs strive to simplify or eliminate the necessity for lacing altogether. Shoes can be fastened with one hand by replacing traditional laces with zips. Several businesses create sneakers with a hinge design. When the wearer puts on the shoe, the hinge opens and secures it. This style of shoe design is an illustration of the Universal Design concept, which states that items should be made to be usable by anybody.
Clothing that is Sensory Friendly
Kids with autism spectrum disorder have sensitivity issues with specific textiles, tags, and clothing labels. Flexible brands use screen-printed labels instead of physical tags and provide a selection of hypoallergenic bamboo and linen fabrics. Kids who utilize an ostomy pouch or are tube-fed may find onesies limiting. To cater to this need, additional adapted clothing designs include stomach access for kids and adults who need frequent access to the stomach, proving that medical devices do not have to impede style.
Custom designs and 3D printing
Adaptive items were once frequently made to blend in, such as black wheelchairs or flesh-colored hearing aids and prostheses. Devices, including hearing aids, can now come in various forms and colors thanks to advancements in 3D printing technology. Many equipment and clothing items can now have very flexible and personalized designs thanks to 3D printing and sophisticated manufacturing.
A unique marketing channel
The technology underpinning adaptive fashion is employed in sales, marketing, and product design. A distinctive selling method enables customers to buy individual pairs of shoes by browsing by size, width, and various adaptive qualities like ease of use and compatibility with ankle/foot orthoses. This can help those whose feet are unusually large or small or who use prosthetics and cannot wear formal shoes. Although it appears straightforward, this calls for brands to have more advanced ordering processes. For customers to search based on their needs, products must be itemized individually rather than in typical pairs and tagged with extra details like left or right shoes and which adaptive features each side possesses.
To help you with your shopping, here are five tips on how to pick clothing for infants and toddlers with special needs. And you can also order genuine toshi beanie here.
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.