Clothing a special needs child presents some special challenges. Just finding cute, stylish, comfortable, and affordable clothes that will fit such a child is hard enough. That child trying to get dressed is another challenge.
Buttons, snaps, zippers, tight openings. These are all incredibly frustrating when you only have one arm, you use adaptive devices, your fingers don't work well, or you have a limited range of motion.
Just trying to get dressed and undressed every day becomes a dreaded battle with clothing that won't cooperate. What a way to start or end each day!
Well, now your child can wear clothing that is as fashionable as any of their peers' - and more fashionable than many! And it's so easy to put on and take off that they can call a truce in those daily clothes battles! The ability to dress themselves is also a tremendous confidence booster for children who no longer need to request help getting dressed.
A line of 'adaptive clothing' has become a top seller for designer Tommy Hilfiger. The iconic designer teamed up with the nonprofit group Runway of Dreams to produce stylish clothes for kids with special needs. Started by Mindy Scheier, a designer who is also the mom of a son with muscular dystrophy, the nonprofit has a special mission:
"Partnering with top brands and retailers, Runway of Dreams works to integrate wearable technology and design modifications into clothing, making it adaptive and wearable for all."
Other than meeting these special kids' clothing needs, the clothes are nearly identical to the rest of the Hilfiger kids' collection. They share a similar look and are the same price ($18.50 to $42.50) as the rest of his kids' clothing line.
So, what makes them 'special'?
- No hard to connect buttons and buttonholes. Instead, all buttons are simply decorative. The real fasteners are hidden magnets!
- The hidden magnets also replace zippers.
- Some necklines incorporate the magnets too, so they can open wider to go on and off easier. This is really helpful for those crew necks and T-shirts that are sometimes pretty tight.
- Neck and leg openings are larger or in some cases there are even extra openings to make putting them on easier.
- Some bottoms have adjustable leg openings to accommodate adaptive devices like braces.
- The collection also includes simple to wear clothing like jeggings, stretch pants, and V-neck collars.
This adaptive clothing niche has become a very profitable part of the Hilfiger clothing line. It accounts for 20% of all the line's children's clothing sales. Of the six top-selling pieces in the line, two are adaptive. That clearly shows that there is a high demand for clothing that is stylish, comfortable, and easy to put on and take off. As Ms. Scheier says: "'The notion that if you're disabled you don't care about what you look like or how you dress is so wrong."
If you would like a career that involves helping special needs children overcome their everyday challenges, contact us. And to learn more about this and related topics, visit the Behavioral Health section of our blog.
Image courtesy of FashionStock.com / Shutterstock.com
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