Tuesday 13 February 2018

Sensory issues and autism

My face lit up as I approached the racks.

I rejoiced silently to myself. 'Yay! They've got some short-sleeved, soft jersey dresses in stock again!'

As I reached out to take one of the dresses, my heart sank.
jersey dress with double seams

It is a short sleeved, jersey dress. Sadly, however, it has two seams which run down each side of the chest at the front rather than at the sides.

A small thing to many; in fact I'm sure many parents and children wouldn't even notice this detail. To my girl though, it means the dress is unwearable. 

Sensory issues mean that this kind of dress causes her too much grief (yes, we've tried them before). Any seams in places where they're not expected are a no-go. That means high waists, drop waists and double seams like this. The same goes for embroidery, stitching, sequins or any other kind of embellishment. The feeling of something unusual on her skin in a different place can cause her so much stress that she's unable to focus on anything else.

Our autistic girl is now 10 years old; she is tall for her age and currently wears clothes sized for 12-13 year olds. Girls this age are expected to have an interest in fashion, and to want clothes with style; with zips, pockets, added interest and uniqueness. Sasha couldn't care less about any of this; she wants to be comfortable. I don't think she's the only girl of her age to think like this, autistic or not.

Occasionally, Sasha will agree to wear a T-shirt and leggings, but only if she really has to. Leggings are uncomfortable to her as she permanently runs such a high body temperature - the same can be said for long sleeved dresses. She would prefer to wear summer dresses all the time, even in winter.

The trouble is, it's difficult to find even summer dresses that fit the brief. Manufacturers seem to be determined to add something to every item in their range, certainly for those items aimed at girls over 8 years of age. Simple, plain, short-sleeved jersey dresses don't seem to feature much sadly.

While I'm here, I'd love to pass on a little comment to this particular large retailer (who has served us fairly well over the years) - I'm sure your seamless knickers for young girls sell well (even at their inflated prices). We've bought a fair few packs ourselves. However, currently in store there seem to be a lot of these - knickers with bobbly fabric! No good for my sensory sensitive girl either.
seamfree knickers with bobbles

Something we have found very helpful over the years is seamless socks from Sensory Smart. These are not a cheap option though; I dread to think how much we have spent on socks. Still, I can honestly say they have been worth every penny.

Looks like it's time for me to learn how to sew.... a simple short sleeved jersey dress can't be all that difficult to make, right?! Maybe *brainwave* I could set myself up in business selling these - anyone interested?!

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