In today’s frenetic and hyper-connected world, we run the risk of becoming overwhelmed by the sheer volume of sights, smells, sensations and sounds that we face every day. While most of us can handle it (at least most of the time), there are individuals who find these sensory stimuli extremely problematic. Individuals with autism, sensory processing disorder (SPD) and those coping with certain injuries or effects of medications, face considerable difficulty with sensory stimulation, leading to stress, anxiety and meltdowns.
One form of constant sensory stimulation comes from our wardrobe. Most of us are free to use clothing as a vehicle for self-expression without considering the clothing design or the type of fabric involved. But for sufferers of SPD or other sensory conditions, how fabric feels on their skin is integral to how peacefully and functionally they can conduct their day-to-day lives.
Sensory-friendly clothing is specifically designed with these issues in mind.
Seamless clothing, and without elastic, zippers and tags, removes any unnecessary points of discomfort, and compression clothing provides a comforting, snug feeling (similar to the effect of a weighted blanket).
Sensory-friendly clothing provides a sense of relief, reducing stress levels and agitation. Sufferers find it exhausting to deal with the constant feeling of their clothing every day, making sensory-friendly clothing indispensable. A further issue sufferers struggle with is discomfort when taking their clothing on and off. Adaptive clothing with alternative seams (making it easier to put on and take off) solves this, making the getting-ready process calmer and easier.
For all of us, the clothing we choose to wear affects the way we feel, and whether we have SPD or not, we all interact with clothing every hour of every day. Simple changes in fabric choices, and thinking more deeply about points of design, can result in major relief for people with SPD, autism and other sensory issues. The Shapes United salutes every clothing company that incorporates these needs into their designs.