For those who have not had the privilege of knowing anyone with the rare trait of Autism, it might be difficult to understand what specifically tailored clothing would look like. So let us start by exploring how autistic children experience the world differently, and then move on to thinking about what kind of clothing would be most needed.
All autistic children are different but some of the signs and characteristics are: fidgeting, trouble verbalizing thoughts or learning difficulties.
Autism is a spectrum ranging from Asperger's Syndrome to severe impairment of daily functioning. In some cases, some autistic individuals experience sleep disorders, phobia, gastrointestinal disorders or seizures. Most people have sensitivity to touch or sound.
So what does this mean for what Autistic children might wear for clothing? Well, Target has just come out with a new line of clothes which caters to certain needs. If someone is sensitive to touch then tags and seams would be distracting. This is why Target's clothes are made with smooth seams and no protruding tags. For children who find it difficult to put on clothing, the jackets have been tailored to fit backwards OR forwards! Or, if the child has a physical impairment or tick, many of the clothes have closures on the sides instead of the back or front. For more extreme differences, the new clothing can even accommodate diapers or feeding tubes, with built in linings. While one might think that this type of customization is exponentially high, the clothing ranges from $4.50 to $39.99.
What Target is doing in creating Autism friendly clothing is important for several reasons: parents and children alike struggle to find clothes which fit and do not irritate the wearer. Children with Autism deserve to be treated as important citizens and part of that is to draw them into the fashion world. If everyone else can find clothing which fits for them and is comfortable and pretty, then those with differences should have those same rights.
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