Sensory Friendly Clothing

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Sensory friendly clothing is a must for kids with sensory processing needs. Heck, sometimes that itchy sweater or scratchy jeans get on my nerves, too! Today we are chatting all things sensory friendly clothing. Sensory issues with clothing are a common concern. You’ve probably noticed that itchy tag or a turtle neck sweater that just drives you nuts. But what about our kids with sensory issues? Finding clothing for sensory issues can be a puzzle and an an adventure! Today we are talking about sensory friendly clothing and how something as simple as sensory friendly pajamas can make a world of difference in the child with sensory processing disorder or sensory needs.

Sensory friendly clothes and common sensory clothing issues that kids have.

Sensory Clothing

Many times, our kids with sensory processing needs struggle with tactile defensiveness or sensitivities when it comes to clothing. It’s nothing new to find that certain materials, seems, or clothing articles are itchy, scratchy, bumpy, rough, or even hurt our kids. Parents of children with sensory needs find that addressing sensory clothing issues is a real struggle. It’s just one more aspect of daily life that needs adjusted, modified, or adapted.

Meeting the needs of the child is essential for function and self-care. In fact, that independent functioning at the “just right” level is the foundation to daily life. Self-care is a priority of parents and allows children to become more self-reliant (Chiarello, 2015). It builds skills, develops self-awareness and self–esteem. Self care by identifying and understanding one’s particular preferences and using those day in and day out in self-care tasks brings us full circle in the way of functioning.

While there are ways to adapt clothing to make it less of a tactile issue, and addressing sensory sensitivities through sensory diets and sensory input is helpful, sometimes, meeting the child’s specific needs makes sense in the way of adaptive clothing that meets the needs of the child.

Sensory Clothes on the Market

Luckily, we are in an age of more awareness and inclusion. We have seen more and more sensory friendly clothes on the market and readily available in stores. We are able to use what is out there, and when the specific adaptive clothing is not available, we can sometimes adjust what we’ve got to make it meet the child’s needs.

You may have seen sensory clothing available in stores and online. The fact is that these items are more readily available. And, that is a wonderful thing to see! Prices, styles, and selection are improving. Costs are becoming more affordable. Our children with sensory needs can better thrive as a result.

Sensory Clothing Issues

There are certain aspects of clothing that are a common complaint for those with sensory processing issues impacted by clothing sensitivities. Some common complaints include:

  • Annoying Seams on clothing
  • Bumps or wrinkles in fabric
  • Tags that itch and scratch
  • Rough material
  • Clothing that bunches
  • Clothing that doesn’t “give” or stretch
  • Wide leg or arm openings that “flap” around the wrists or ankles
  • Clothing that is too tight or too loose
  • Pressure from shoes or footwear that doesn’t bend or give
  • Elastic waistbands
  • Padding or underwire in bras
  • Shoulder straps that are tight or too loose
  • Clothing that doesn’t breath or holds moisture from sweat
  • Clothing that never seems to fit “just right”

All of these concerns are sources for a daily battle when it comes to getting dressed and with the end result of independent self-care and self-dressing for kids. Getting out the door and onto the school bus can be a daily struggle that leads to a meltdown before the day even begins.

The same situation can occur at night when children with sensory processing disorder are asked to get dressed into their pajamas…those itchy pjs that bunch and pull…it’s a nightly battle that results in a pre-bedtime meltdown and hours of restlessness when what the kiddo and parents really need are rest and sleep.

Sleep and sensory needs

Occupational therapy practitioners often support and work with families of children with an autism spectrum disorder or another developmental disorder to address function as it relates to effective sleep. Sleep deprivation can impact the child, the family, and functional abilities on a day-to-day basis. When a child with sensory processing needs struggles to find rest as a result of clothing issues, meltdowns at bedtime, or frequent waking as a result of sensory avoiding or sensory seeking behaviors, sleep is impacted.

OT professionals aim to address a variety of needs impacting restful and adequate sleep. One such strategy for sensory needs is to suggest sensory friendly pajamas and clothing (Picard, 2017).

Want to try a pair of sensory friendly pajamas to address sensory issues like the one discussed today? Let’s take things up a notch by getting a sensory clothing into your hands.

One sensory clothing company that really addresses the sleep and sensory component is Lovey & Grink. These sensory friendly pajamas are fun and comfortable pajamas that they are excited to put on before bed. So often, kids complain that pjs are hot or scratchy. It can result in a nightly meltdown.

Take a look at many of the sensory pajamas out there on the market. When you look for super soft pajamas, you might notice that most of the softer pajama brands we saw were prone to shrink or really expensive. Lovey & Grink pajamas are kid tested and approved and best of all, reasonably priced. A bit more about these sensory pajamas”

  • Breathable (keeping your kids cool)
  • Durable (they’ll hold their shape and last after tons of washing)
  • And super soft (they’ll want to live in them!)

Parents know that anything that makes the bedtime routine a little smoother is a welcome help. These sensory friendly sleepwear is a tool that meets the child’s needs for better sleep.

Sensory Pajamas Giveaway

This giveaway has now ended.

Some of the smartest and most creative folks I know are the readers of The OT Toolbox. I asked readers to tell me sensory strategies they personally love and use to address sensory modulation. Scroll through the comments…you might just find some new sensory strategies that will work for you! Hopefully we can learn from one another!

References:

Lisa Chiarello and the Move and Play Study Team (2016) Children’s Participation in Self-Care and Ease of Care-giving for Parents. Movement and Participation in Life Activities of Young Children Information for Families and Service Providers. www.canchild.ca.

Picard, M. (2017). American Occupational Therapy Association Fact Sheet. Occupational Therapy’s Role in Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.aota.org/~/media/Corporate/Files/AboutOT/Professionals/WhatIsOT/HW/Facts/Sleep-fact-sheet.pdf

114 thoughts on “Sensory Friendly Clothing”

  1. Followed Lovey & Grink on Instagram!

    I say cut the tags out of their children’s clothes or get tagless items, wash new clothes multiple times before wearing them, and wearing undershirts like compression shirts underneath non-preferred clothing!

  2. I have worked with principals to allow some of my students to wear more sensory friendly clothing to school in place of regular uniform clothing. Elastic waist sweatpants or leggings instead of uniform pants and crocs instead of regular shoes in one case.

  3. One of my students who has sensitivity wearing shoes knows they can take a “break” from shoes during OT. We have some rules around this- keeps socks on, only during table time actives and not gross motor activities when shoes are needed, puts them back on to walk to class etc. I can see them visibly relax knowing they can take a “shoe break.”

  4. Deep pressure! Wearing a compression vest for periods of time as well as a sensory diet with lots of proprioceptive and deep pressure activities

    Followed on Lovey and Gink on Instagram

  5. I work with a child that has trouble with interoception and using the bathroom, we worked with the parents on wearing looser clothing and sweats to give him body an opportunity to feel that he needs to use the bathroom instead of jeans and it makes such a difference!

  6. Sensory friendly anything and everything are always welcome. The students I work with display so many different issues when it comes to clothing.

  7. Just started using a compression shirt for my son, he’s worn it for 3 days and I can see a difference! The real test is going to be if it works when he goes back to school next week.

  8. I like to use deep pressure to help with this type of sensory need-using a bolster to roll over them when lying on their back or stomach, rolling up in a mat like a burrito.

  9. My daughter, just last night, took her pjs off and we have no idea why! And it’s getting cold, even here in AZ! We definitely need something she’ll like!

  10. I am a big fan of sensory f riendly clothing and a m so glad they are finally making smaller sizes- I now have parents sharing aadvive and you can see a difference with many of my litte students when they wear compression T shirts under their clothes. Parents wee it too!

    I myself wear compression leg sleeves (for track) for a condition that medical professional recommend medications iwon’t take and there is a study I couldn’t participate in as they said I am being treated by an OT- meaning myself!

    I’m always looking for new solutions for my students PS -3 and in EI.

  11. Definitely buying tagless clothes. Also, depending on the child, either getting clothes a bit bigger or tighter to help with their needs.

  12. A sensory strategy I love to use with the students is wearing under armour like tight shirts for tactile issues and to provide deep pressure inputs that are calming.

  13. Deep pressure, brush. Clothing and socks that are tag free, form fitted and comfortable. Teaching the kids to indicate needs and ask for deep pressure.

  14. Tagless clothes for my eldest and definitely NO long sleeves. Tight pants for my youngest. And of course cotton for both

  15. I have recommended under armor brand tops one size smaller as well as telling parents to scope out children’s thrift stores or consignment stores.

  16. I have recommended under armor brand tops one size smaller as well as telling parents to scope out children’s thrift stores or consignment stores.

  17. My son has tall socks that go up to his upper shins and he loves his weighted blanket. I personally love “comfy” clothes and put them on as soon as I get home!

  18. I really have to stick with stretchy waist band pants for my son and can not have any restrictive or snug clothing. Clothing has always been a battle! I would love to try some of these pj’s for my son.

  19. I like recommending compression under shirt underneath school uniform or less-preferred shirts. I have also trialed the Wilbarger Therapressure Protocol to help with decreasing tactile sensitivities.

  20. Suggested sensory strategies for clothing I’ve made have been using brushing, deep pressure, and compression clothing such as an underarmour shirt to wear under clothing, instead of a compression vest on top of the clothing. I also like to suggest that parents try to make it a routine with their child to pick the clothes they want to wear, set out the night before, and even have a “fashion show” to try the clothing on ahead of time (usually over the weekend) to avoid a meltdown monday morning before school!

  21. I suggest to the parents I work with to remove tags or purchase tagless clothing. Also, one family uses a weighted vest and it works for them!

  22. Finding new brands of sensory friendly clothing to recommend to parents. Wearing compression type athletic clothing underneath school clothes.

  23. Compression clothing or preferred textures under non preferred textures, living in WI helps since layering helps when its cold!

  24. Removing tags from clothes or buying tagless clothing, long socks, and deep pressure are things that help our sensory kid!

  25. Followed Lovey and Grink on Insta.

    I echo everyone who has said tagless clothing! It is a Universal Design principle in my opinion and I hope to see more and more companies adopting it. I have also successfully used an overall sensory diet with lots of tactile desensitization techniques and deep pressure. I’ve had success with social stories too about why and when we wear certain clothing.

  26. I have used deep pressure input to my daughter’s feet prior to putting socks on to help decrease her sensitivity to socks and shoes.

  27. Make sure that the clothing is something they like. If they like the clothing they will be motivated to make the strategies work and try different things until they find something that works.

  28. For my own personal child, we buy tagless, or cut the tags out of clothes. Also buy them a couple sizes bigger. For students, I have suggested compression clothes, and larger clothing or sweats type materials.

    Also followed on Instagram!

  29. UnderArmour compression shirts and leggings! Also providing choices and having the child participate in choosing their outfit.

  30. Wearing compression garments (tagless, of course) underneath clothes for deep pressure. I also do the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol to help desensitize and reorganize.

  31. There are so many options for tagless clothing now – it’s so lovely that it’s not hard to find! I’ve also recommended compression clothing or small under armour/spandex clothes underneath.

  32. I recommend to parents to purchase soft cotton material clothing, without tags, elastic waist bands, etc. During treatment sessions, I focus on desensitization to help the child adapt and tolerate a variety of textures. I have had success with the brushing protocol, compression, weighted items, and playing “dress up” with a variety of clothing options, using a timer to reach a certain timed goal for increased tolerance.

  33. Our seven year old has been needing to wear leggings which are very tight on his body for the past several weeks. I have allowed it but when he goes to school we make him put another pair of pants over the top. This allows for some body modesty.

  34. I think the best long term approach is ASI involving lots of proprioception and challenge-by-choice tactile activities. In the short term, compression undergarments may help.

  35. My boys (twins) play ice hockey and the padding and velcro straps drive me boys crazy!! Where they were stopping at every turn to re-adjust and fix (on repeat!).
    It was so frustrating, so we purchased skins (thin underwear) that they put on first that means it’s not so uncomfortable on their skin. Live saver…. and now they are actually being able to practice! We would love PJ’s!! OMG the amount of PJ’s that we bought and just sit there while the same old faithful PJ’s are pulled back on.

  36. Self-provided deep pressure is my go-to to help students with tactile or sensory defensiveness. I love the sensory-friendly clothing but also feel that there can be some changes with preparatory and desentization activities.

  37. I can think of many kids who would appreciate something like this. Even wearing this under their clothes may help

  38. I like our homemade weighted sweatshirts that can be draped around their shoulders waist or on their shoulders.

  39. I am always in the search for socks. We need some compression socks without seams. Whatever happened to tube socks; that’s what I used to wear myself.

  40. I love the tagless compression shirts that underarmor has and encourage my friends who like the deep compression to wear them under their outfits.

  41. For my son we use compression shirts and often athletic-type pants. Sometime we turn shirts inside-out so the seams are friendlier for him. I have made a few items when I couldn’t find exactly what we needed for “dress code” events.

  42. I have used compression clothing or weighted vest to help with tactile defensiveness. I have used weighted blankets or toys and lap pads as well.

  43. when my daughter was younger, she was sensitive to certain fabrics and tags. I bought her clothes based on her preferences rather than my preferences. I think it is important for us to listen to our children and try to be “detectives” to see what may be bothering them and causing distress.

  44. Isn’t it amazing we are talking about shirt tags and designers still make shirts/dresses with tags? Cut the tags out! Under armor has the idea – poor little girls that like dresses. My granddaughter likes dresses but her mom doesn’t quite get it and pushes some clothes on her even though poor baby doesn’t like the feel. I’m trying to explain…. Would love these jammies as often she goes to bed without much on because she just can’t stand the feel.

  45. I work in early intervention and swim shirts can be used as a compression shirt. Cheap if you buy them out of season!

  46. Wearing a size smaller can help with compression. There are a lot of nice items on the market now tagless is amazing!

  47. Tagless clothes, seam-free socks, compression shirts and shoes with alternative fastening (other than laces).

  48. In Alaska it is easy to layer up, and wear a more compressive layer like a tank top and leggings under jeans and a t-shirt. This gives more input and defends against itchy tags or seams, and things that are too loose by themselves.

  49. Play-doh and making imaginary food is always a big hit. It can work on so many skills (bilateral coordination , finger isolation, hand strength, etc!).

  50. Deep pressure massage to address tactile defensiveness. Tagless clothing, soft clothing, clothes a bit too small or big depending on the sensory need, underarmor/long underwear/leggings/rash guards, moleskin helps to cover scratching spots…

  51. We’re right there with the rest of you. Tagless underwear and shirts, seamless mid-long socks that are a size bigger, flannel pj bottoms for one, athletic shorts for another, thumb holes in oversized hoodies to keep hands warm, snug driving-style gloves year round, sweat pants, catsup on everything, noise cancelling head phones, seating that is facing tv straight on and not in a draft, same fork, plate and cup at every meal. Our list goes on and on. Any prize would be much appreciated. I have two sensory challenged kiddos.

  52. I’ve used regular leggings as compression garments in and then slowly transitioned to less pressure over time by increasing the sizes of leggings gradually!

  53. Clothing sensitivity is an issue both sensory and non-sensory children have. Sometimes is just the way the clothes or made or the fabric they are made with. I have tried telling parents to use power on the skin prior to putting on clothes. I have also suggested fitted clothing such as Under Armor so the clothes don’t rub against the skin.

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