Clothes for Kids with Disabilities: Everything You Need To Know About Adaptive Apparel

Clothes for Kids with Disabilities: Everything You Need To Know About Adaptive Apparel

There are hundreds of clothes stores everywhere you look. Whether you’re walking through the streets of any major town or city, or you’re just browsing online, clothes are everywhere.

But despite the vast range of styles, options and prices available, those with disabilities often have to look further afield to find clothes that are more adaptive.

More options have become available in the last few years as more adaptive clothing companies have emerged. Even some well-known clothing brands have started releasing adaptive clothing lines for kids.

So if you’re wondering what adaptive kids clothes is all about, and where you can find clothing more suited to children with disabilities, here’s everything you need to know.

What is adaptive clothing?

Adaptive clothing for kids is clothing that’s specifically designed for people with disabilities. It’s designed to make getting dressed independently an easier task, and is often made using materials and textures that are more suitable for those with sensory issues.  

“To make life easier when it comes to getting dressed, adaptive clothing will often feature Velcro and magnetic buttons, which remove the difficulty of buttons, zippers, laces, clasps, and other more fiddly options,” says Janel Anders, owner of Bird & Bean kids clothes store and Nohi Kids kids clothing company. “And to further ensure clothes are suitable for those with different disabilities, adaptive clothing companies make kids clothes without tags or harsh seams, so that in no way do the clothes irritate those with sensitive sensory issues.”

Despite these differences, adaptive kids clothes are designed to still have the same outward appearance as everyday clothing.

The benefits of adaptive kids clothes

Adaptive kids clothing is a relatively new idea, but it’s something that’s starting to gain traction. Here are the benefits of adaptive apparel.

It offers more comfort

The main focus of this new branch of kids clothes is comfort. For kids with disabilities, traditional options can feel harsh in terms of material and fit. Adaptive clothing on the other hand offers modern styles, but with ultimate comfort in mind.

Adaptive clothing is specialized, so it’s going to offer a much better fit, which is instantly going to improve comfort. But as well as fitting seamlessly, adaptive clothes for kids also take away the elements of everyday clothing that can feel harsh on the skin.

For example, zippers and buttons can dig into the skin, raised seams and tags can irritate skin, and fabric can often be scratchy and rough. But with adaptive clothing, you won’t find any of these uncomfortable elements.

The goal of adaptive clothing is to make sure kids barely notice the clothes they’re wearing, so they can focus on learning, playing, and just going about their daily activities, without being distracted by discomfort.

It can help kids become more independent

Magnetic and Velcro closures mean that kids can get dressed without the difficulty that comes with zips, buttons or laces.

With adaptive clothing, getting dressed no longer has to be a hassle that parents or caregivers need to support every step of the way. With specially designed kids clothes, children with disabilities can work towards getting dressed independently.

Independence is hugely important for children’s progression, and adaptive clothing gives them the chance to start their day off with an independent activity.

It boosts kids’ social confidence

If we didn’t already make it clear, comfort is a top priority for children with disabilities, which often means that style falls to the wayside when choosing clothes. But the idea behind adaptive clothing is that kids should be able to have both comfort and style.

There’s a lot of pressure on kids to look good and fit in with the crowd, and adaptive clothing allows them to do just that while also feeling as comfortable as they would in sweat pants for example.

Adaptive clothing companies are trying to make sure adaptive clothes for kids fit the current styles, so that in terms of appearance, children with disabilities can wear the ‘same’ clothes as their peers.

Adaptive clothing is becoming easier to find

Previously, you’d have to search far and wide for adaptive apparel for kids, but many major brands like Tommy Hilfiger, for example, are starting to realize that there’s a market for these clothes.

There are specialist companies creating these clothes, as well as lines being released and planned by existing clothes brands. Even Target has released an adaptive clothing range for both adults and children with disabilities.

So the good news is, we can expect to see more and more adaptive clothing become available in the near future.

The issues with adaptive kids clothing

Adaptive children’s clothes is definitely an upward trend towards accessibility that could better a lot of young people’s lives, but still there are some issues that need to be addressed in the industry.

Adaptive clothing can be expensive

Adaptive clothing can look amazing, and feel amazing, so there’s no real issue with design. Instead, the main problem lies in the cost.

As with any product that’s only sold by a select few companies, adaptive clothing can be much more pricey than traditional kids clothes. In some cases, you can expect to pay double the cost of non-adaptive clothing.

This means that for a lot of families, adaptive clothing just isn’t affordable. However, with more adaptive clothing lines and companies emerging, we can hope that prices will soon start to drop, and more budget-friendly adaptive clothes will become available.

Adaptive clothing isn’t always easy to find

Because adaptive kids’ clothing hasn’t yet become a big market, there aren’t very many physical shops you can go to.

Sure, Target has released an adaptive clothing range, but if you want to shop for certain styles or materials, you might have to look a little harder, or buy online.

Again though, in recent years the demand for adaptive kids clothes has started to rise, and the market is definitely responding. So fingers crossed that adaptive clothing will continue to become more accessible and affordable.

So to sum up…

Adaptive kids clothing is a great way to make your little ones feel comfortable and stylish, and adaptive clothing items can even encourage independence

Different brands and companies are deciding to specialize, which means adaptive apparel is becoming more accessible, and hopefully in time, this means it will become more affordable too.