Clothes For Children With Autism

February 16, 2024

Discover the perfect clothes for children with autism, addressing sensitivities and providing comfort. Find autism-friendly clothing brands today!

Understanding Clothing Sensitivities in Children with Autism

When it comes to clothing, children with autism may have unique sensitivities and challenges. Understanding these sensitivities and preferences is essential for parents and caregivers to choose appropriate clothing that promotes comfort and reduces sensory discomfort. In this section, we will explore sensory processing challenges and specific clothing preferences and sensitivities of children with autism.

Sensory Processing Challenges

Children with autism often experience sensory processing challenges, which can affect their perception and response to sensory stimuli, including clothing. Some common sensory processing challenges experienced by children with autism include:

  • Hypersensitivity: Some children with autism may be hypersensitive to certain fabrics, textures, or clothing tags. These sensitivities can cause discomfort, irritation, or even pain.
  • Hyposensitivity: On the other hand, some children with autism may be hyposensitive, meaning they have reduced sensitivity to sensory input. This can result in a lack of awareness of clothing-related issues, such as wearing clothes that are too tight or uncomfortable.
  • Sensory Seeking: Some children with autism may engage in sensory seeking behaviors, actively seeking out sensory input. This can manifest as a preference for certain textures, materials, or clothing that provide sensory stimulation and comfort.

Specific Clothing Preferences and Sensitivities

Children with autism may have specific preferences or sensitivities when it comes to clothing. It's important to understand and accommodate these preferences to ensure they feel comfortable and at ease. Some of the common clothing preferences and sensitivities in children with autism include:

  • Fabrics and Textures: Certain fabrics and textures can be beneficial for children with autism, providing sensory stimulation and comfort. Fabrics such as cotton, flannel, fleece, and jersey are often well-received. It's important to note that individual preferences may vary, so it's essential to observe and communicate with the child to understand their specific fabric and texture preferences.
  • Tagless and Seamless Designs: Many children with autism prefer tagless clothing to avoid potential discomfort or irritation caused by clothing tags. Additionally, soft and seamless clothing can be beneficial as it reduces irritation and minimizes sensory distractions. Such designs can help create a more comfortable and sensory-friendly clothing experience.
  • Adaptive Clothing Options: Adaptive clothing options can be particularly beneficial for children with autism. These types of clothing feature adjustable waistbands, closures, or other modifications that provide greater comfort and ease of dressing. Adaptive clothing allows for flexibility and customization to meet the unique needs of each child.

By recognizing the sensory processing challenges and clothing preferences of children with autism, parents and caregivers can make informed choices when selecting clothing. Considering factors such as fabrics, textures, tagless designs, seamless options, and adaptive clothing can promote comfort and enhance the overall well-being of children with autism.

Choosing Autism-Friendly Clothing

When it comes to selecting clothing for children with autism, it's essential to consider their specific sensitivities and comfort needs. Autism-friendly clothing is designed to address these challenges, providing a sensory-friendly and comfortable experience. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing autism-friendly clothing.

Fabrics and Textures

Certain fabrics and textures can be beneficial for children with autism, providing sensory stimulation and comfort. Soft and breathable fabrics such as cotton, flannel, fleece, and jersey are often preferred. These materials are gentle on the skin and can help minimize sensory irritations.

Recommended Fabrics

  • Cotton
  • Flannel
  • Fleece
  • Jersey

Tagless and Seamless Designs

Children with autism often have sensitivities to tags and seams in clothing. Tagless clothing is preferred as it eliminates potential discomfort or irritation. Seamless designs are also beneficial as they reduce irritation and minimize sensory distractions. These features contribute to a more comfortable and sensory-friendly clothing experience.

Adaptive Clothing Options

Adaptive clothing options are designed to provide greater comfort and ease for children with autism. These options often include features such as adjustable waistbands, alternative closures (e.g., Velcro, magnetic closures), and wider neck openings. Adaptive clothing allows for greater independence and can make dressing a more manageable task for children with fine motor skill challenges.

When selecting adaptive clothing, it's important to involve the child in the decision-making process. Considering their individual sensitivities and preferences can help foster independence and self-expression. By involving them in choosing clothing that promotes their comfort and satisfaction, you can ensure a positive dressing experience.

By considering fabrics and textures, opting for tagless and seamless designs, and exploring adaptive clothing options, you can create a wardrobe that addresses the unique needs of children with autism. Remember to involve the child in the selection process and prioritize their comfort and sensory preferences. Autism-friendly clothing can contribute to a more positive and comfortable dressing experience, enhancing their overall well-being.

Strategies for Dressing Children with Autism

When it comes to dressing children with autism, it's important to consider their unique sensory sensitivities and challenges. By using specific strategies and choosing appropriate clothing options, parents can help make the dressing experience more comfortable and manageable for their child.

Sensory Strategies for Dressing

Children with autism often have sensory processing difficulties, including hypersensitivity to clothing. The discomfort caused by certain fabrics, seams, tags, or tightness of garments can lead to meltdowns, sensory overload, and difficulties in daily activities. To address these challenges, parents can employ sensory strategies while dressing their child:

  • Start with soft fabrics: Choose clothing made from soft and comfortable fabrics that minimize irritation and sensory distractions. Fabrics like cotton or bamboo are often well-tolerated by children with autism.
  • Consider tagless and seamless designs: Look for clothing items that have tagless labels and seamless construction to minimize discomfort and irritation against the skin.
  • Gradual exposure: If your child is particularly sensitive to certain textures or clothing items, introduce them gradually. Start with brief periods of wearing the item and gradually increase the duration as your child becomes more accustomed to it.

Deep Pressure Input and Compression Clothing

Children with autism may benefit from clothing that provides deep pressure input, as it can help regulate their sensory system and provide a calming effect. Two options to consider are:

  • Compression clothing: Compression shirts, vests, or leggings can provide gentle, even pressure to the body, which may help children with autism feel more grounded and focused. These garments can be worn discreetly under regular clothing and can be beneficial in reducing sensory overload.
  • Weighted vests: Weighted vests can provide deep pressure input to the body, promoting a sense of calmness and stability. It's important to consult with an occupational therapist or other healthcare professional to determine the appropriate weight and duration of use for your child.

Fine Motor Skills and Alternative Closures

Children with autism may have difficulties with fine motor skills, which can make tasks like buttoning or zipping challenging. To address these challenges, consider clothing options with alternative closures:

  • Velcro closures: Clothing with Velcro closures can be easier for children with autism to manage independently. Velcro provides a secure closure without the need for fine motor skills like buttoning or zipping.
  • Magnetic closures: Magnetic closures are another option that can make dressing easier for children with autism. These closures use magnets to secure garments, eliminating the need for precise manipulation.

By employing sensory strategies, utilizing deep pressure input and compression clothing, and choosing clothing options with alternative closures, parents can help make the dressing experience more comfortable and less overwhelming for children with autism. It's essential to consider your child's individual preferences and sensitivities when selecting appropriate clothing options.

Visual Supports and Routines for Dressing

When it comes to dressing children with autism, visual supports and established routines can play a crucial role in promoting independence and reducing anxiety. By implementing these strategies, parents can help their children navigate the dressing process with more ease and confidence.

Visual Supports for Dressing

Providing visual supports, such as visual schedules or picture cues, can greatly benefit children with autism when getting dressed. Visual supports can include visual schedules, picture cards, or step-by-step visual guides that outline the different steps involved in the dressing routine. These supports can be customized to the individual's needs, incorporating pictures, symbols, or written instructions to provide clear guidance throughout the dressing process.

By using visual supports, parents can help their children understand and follow the dressing routine more effectively. These supports serve as a visual reminder of the steps involved, helping to reduce confusion and anxiety. Visual schedules, in particular, can be displayed in a prominent location, allowing the child to independently refer to the schedule and follow the sequence of tasks.

Establishing Routines and Steps

Establishing a consistent routine for dressing is essential for children with autism. A predictable routine helps create a sense of structure and familiarity, which can reduce anxiety and improve cooperation. Breaking down the dressing routine into smaller, manageable steps can make it easier for children to follow and complete the task.

Parents can create a visual or verbal checklist of the steps involved in getting dressed, making sure to include every task from selecting clothes to putting on shoes. This checklist can be reviewed with the child before and during the dressing process to provide clear guidance and ensure that each step is completed. By consistently following the routine, children with autism can develop a sense of mastery and independence in dressing.

It is important to note that the routine and steps may vary depending on the individual's preferences and abilities. Parents should tailor the routine to their child's specific needs, taking into account any sensory sensitivities or challenges they may experience during the dressing process.

By incorporating visual supports and establishing consistent routines, parents can create a more structured and manageable dressing experience for children with autism. These strategies provide clear guidance and foster independence, empowering children to participate in their own self-care routines with greater confidence.

Autism-Friendly Clothing Brands

When it comes to finding clothing solutions for children with autism, there are several brands that specialize in creating autism-friendly clothing. These brands understand the unique needs and sensitivities of children on the autism spectrum and have developed innovative designs to ensure comfort and ease of dressing. Here are some notable autism-friendly clothing brands:

Hanna Andersson

Hanna Andersson is a clothing brand that offers a range of products for babies to kids up to 14 years old. They prioritize comfort and sensory-friendly designs by using 100% organic cotton and constructing their clothes with smooth flatlock seams, encased elastic, and nickel-free snaps and zippers. Their garments are made from OEKO-TEX certified cloth, which is safe from harmful chemicals and dyes.

Smart Knit Kids

Smart Knit Kids specializes in seamless clothing designed to help autistic children avoid irritating seams and provide a gentle hug-like sensation. They offer a variety of seamless products, including underwear, bralettes, tees, and socks. Their seamless socks are particularly helpful in reducing aversion to wearing shoes.

Target Adaptive Clothing Line

Target has developed an adaptive clothing line specifically designed for kids with sensory challenges and other special needs. Their adaptive clothing features no tags, flat seams, and cotton blends for softness and comfort. These modifications help minimize sensory discomfort and make dressing a more enjoyable experience for children with autism.

Tommy Adaptive

Tommy Adaptive is a line of clothing offered by Tommy Hilfiger, designed for both children and adults with various needs. Their adaptive clothing includes jeans that fit over prosthetic legs and shirts with easy-open necklines, making dressing and undressing easier and more accessible.

Zappos Adaptive Collection

Zappos offers an adaptive collection of shoes and clothing that caters to individuals with special needs. Their adaptive shoes include stability-enhancing sneakers, while their clothing features practical modifications such as shirts with magnetic buttons, making dressing more manageable for individuals with autism.


SpecialKids.Company is a brand that focuses on designing adaptive clothing for children with special needs. They offer a variety of sensory-friendly clothing options, including sensory compression garments, seamless clothing, and tagless designs. Their clothing is designed to provide comfort and accommodate specific sensory sensitivities.

Runway of Dreams

Runway of Dreams is a brand dedicated to creating adaptive clothing for individuals with disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum. They collaborate with various fashion brands to modify their clothing lines, incorporating adaptive features such as adjustable waistbands, magnetic closures, and alternative fastenings. Their inclusive designs aim to promote independence and self-confidence.

These autism-friendly clothing brands provide parents with a range of options to choose from when seeking clothing solutions for their children with autism. By considering the specific needs and sensitivities of their child, parents can find clothing that not only provides comfort but also promotes independence and self-expression.

Tips for Making Dressing Routines More Predictable and Consistent

In addition to finding the right clothes, there are several things parents can do to make dressing routines more predictable and consistent for children with autism.

  1. Establish a routine: Developing a predictable routine can help children with autism feel more comfortable and in control. This can include having specific times of day for dressing and using visual schedules to help them understand what's coming next.
  2. Use simple language: When giving instructions, use simple language and avoid using idioms or metaphors that may be confusing.
  3. Offer choices: Giving children choices between two outfits or two types of clothing can help them feel more involved in the process and give them a sense of control.
  4. Practice self-care skills: Teaching children how to dress themselves can also be helpful in making dressing routines more consistent. Start with small tasks like pulling up pants or zipping up jackets, and gradually work towards more complex tasks as they become more comfortable.

By implementing these tips, parents can help make dressing routines less stressful and overwhelming for their children with autism, while also promoting independence and self-care skills.


Can sensory-friendly clothing be stylish as well?

Yes, there are many brands that offer sensory-friendly clothes in trendy styles and designs. From graphic tees to denim jeans, these clothes are designed to look just like traditional clothing but with added comfort for children with autism.

Are adaptive clothing options more expensive than traditional clothing?

While some adaptive clothing options may be more expensive, it's important to consider the value they provide. These clothes are designed specifically for children with unique needs and can make dressing easier and more comfortable. Additionally, some organizations offer financial assistance for families who need help purchasing adaptive clothing.

How can I tell if a certain fabric will be comfortable for my child with autism?

It's important to pay attention to the texture and weight of the fabric. Soft and lightweight fabrics such as cotton or bamboo tend to be more comfortable than heavy or scratchy materials like wool or polyester. Additionally, it may be helpful to involve your child in the decision-making process by allowing them to touch and feel different fabrics before making a purchase.

What should I do if my child is resistant to wearing certain clothes?

It's important to respect your child's preferences while also finding solutions that work for both of you. This may involve compromising on certain aspects of the clothes such as color or design. Additionally, involving your child in the decision-making process and providing positive reinforcement can help encourage them to wear new clothes.


Getting dressed shouldn't be a stressful experience for children with autism. With the right clothes, parents can help make the process easier and more comfortable for their children. Sensory-friendly and adaptive clothing are great options to consider when looking for clothes for children with autism. Remember to keep the child's specific needs in mind and involve them in the decision-making process as much as possible.







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