What is Sensory Friendly Clothing?
Sensory friendly clothing are clothes for individuals with autism, ADHD or any form of SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), sensory-friendly clothes can make a big difference between that person having a good day or a day full of frustration and stress. Most people put on clothes as a way to express themselves and give little to no thought about the fabrics or texture. Whether if you or someone you know that has sensory clothing needs, being able to find the right clothes can be a game changer.
How Does 'Sensory Friendly' Clothing Help?
Human skin as millions of receptors that are highly sensitive to touch, much more sensitive for individuals with sensory processing disorders (SPD), such as autism or ADHD. This usually starts with having a close to skin (grounded) lightweight or weighted compression shirt or t-shirt that hugs the body without any tags, popping seams and preferably cotton, but other blends of fabrics known as, 'tri-blends' can be just as effective.
For some individuals with autism or SPD, having weighted top layers (shirt, sweater or hoodie) is beneficial as it can help calm children and adults and it also makes us feel more 'grounded' or safe. Each child reacts differently so it's important to get feedback. With nonverbal individuals, pay attention to how they react when it's on and notice how much they touch the shirt or fabric. The less touching, the more likely the fabric is not acceptable. The more moving around is a good indication that it's not a good fit or the weight is wrong.
Sensory-friendly and adaptive clothing are now making their way into everyday retail stores like Walmart and Target. These stores now include infant wear, kids and adults which include: socks, pants, underwear, shirts, hoodies and hats. While I think some of this might be a marketing strategy, it's still servicing a select individuals with sensory-friendly clothing options that truly benefits those of us who have sensory-friendly needs. Now, we just need someone else to go to the store to pick them up for us. (*wink)
Speaking from experience, I am one that wears an undershirt no matter what top shirt is being worn. The undershirt needs to be slightly tight without any irritations from seams and absolutely no tags. This really helps me stay grounded without a lot of movement from the shirt that may trigger other skin receptors everytime I move. Notice the product shirt images? Yes, that's me... always wearing a my white undershirt (which is a smaller blank Alien Loud shirt).
Growing up I was always had dry, itchy skin and broke out with rashes, not to mention that I was a complete jerk because I was always so freakin' frustrated and stressed (mentally and physically). Thinking it was due to a laundry detergent issues, countless trails where performs with no real solution. Unfortunately, I was misdiagnosed during childhood and wasn't put on the spectrum until I was an adult. I was in complete shock when I found out about 'premium tees' and how much better they were compared to regular t-shirts and can only imagine how helpful these wouldn't have been growing up.
Sensory friendly and adaptive clothing boosts a person confidence. When someone with autism or SPD feels safe and comfortable in their clothes, it allows them to finally be able to focus on school work, events or activities, and even perform better in the workplace.
Alien Loud 'Autistic Friendly' T-Shirts
Alien Loud currently offers two types of lightweight 'autistic-friendly t-shirts' that are both premium tees (technically they're not sensory friendly shirts due to side seams). The male version, which is a slim or athletic fitting (unisex) tee or "his shirt"/boyfriend tee in female sizes. Both are top sellers in the clothing industry for comfort and style for premium wear. As we move forward, more options may become available such as 'tri-blends' (though they are harder to print color inks on) but for now, here are our Alien Loud t-shirt details.
Alien Loud provides 'Daily Shirts' which can be ordered anyday and anytime. Our limited edition shirts only produce one hundred and take a more unique approach celebrating autism awareness with humanoid experiences. Check out Alien Loud autism awareness t-shirts, free shipping for your and a friend!
* Find out more about Alien Loud shirts with details measurements inside our Fitting Room
Autism and Sensory Friendly Clothes Shopping Tips
Personally, it sucks trying to go out to stores and shop as there are way too many lights, colors, sounds and not to mention the people who get into your personal space. However, weather you are shopping for yourself of someone in need of sensory-friendly clothes, here are some helpful tips that personally help me.
Underwear: Stay far away from tags! Trunks or 'athletic' (tidy-whities for kids) underwear without popping seams or stitching. There are plenty of 'adaptive underwear', but that would have to be a trial and error to figure out which one best benefits your sensory-friendly needs. Personally, I stay with an athletic low rise trunk by Calvin Klein, but I always have to cut off the tags.
Socks: Stay far away from seams! I would always wear two pairs until I found some Puma's athletic socks that aren't labelled as sensory-friendly, but have a lot of cushion and tightly compressed with easy air flow. As long as the seams aren't popping out or have untucked threads just hanging around, you should be good if you stick with a cotton/polyester combo. That being said, I only wear socks when I need to, which is when I wear shoes. I hate things touching my feet and toes.
Shirts: As mentioned, tags can act like torturing devices... no tags! Shirts should be light or heavy compressed (depends on the wearer). I prefer mine to be lightweight and hugging my upper body, but loose enough to breath and it doesn't irritate or rub the skin. Cotton (respun fine jersey) or tri-blends work best. Very noticeable difference (at least to me) as tri-blends kind of feel like a moist or lotioned fabric as compared to the just being a soft fabric of the premium cotton t-shirts.
Pants: I wear sweatpants, do those count? Tight or athletic (workout) joggers are always a good solution for sensory-friendly pants wear. Fleece sweatpants or cotton and a combination of fabrics are very comfortable and provide the body security inside or outside the house. I found multiple pairs of these Reebok joggers that fit and feel amazing and now they're pretty much all the pants I need.
Autistic Shopper Best Advice: Under Armour Compressions make really good teenage to adult athletic compression apparel for under clothing wear. Awesome solution for the active individual with sensory friendly needs.
Another Autistic Shopper Best Advice: When you find a clothing item you really like, go back and buy plenty because most clothing items now are seasonal which means they'll soon disappear. It's always good to have backups for your backups.
The Sensory Friendly Clothing Guide
Please keep in mind that "The Sensory Friendly Clothing Guide" was written with personal ideas, tips and opinions. Autism treats each host differently and what may help me may not help you or the person on the autistic spectrum who has SPD, but is a good starting point to achieving sensory friendly needs.
Alien Loud would like to offer a "compare package" that includes an 'Everyday Shirt' printed on one regular shirt and also one premium shirt. That's right, receive both shirts and compare them first-hand. This can also make a great savings gift if you are buying one for you and another for a friend.
Alien Loud celebrates autism awareness with premium music related t-shirts. Fresh "Everyday Shirts" for any occassion or take advantage of some limited tees with our more unique approach towards autism awareness with aliens wearing headphones.
Have you entered for your free Alien Loud shirt this month?