Fashion for children on the spectrum.....your thoughts needed
We come across amazing people at Ladybug House everyday and I wanted to share Tihana's story. She'd love it if you could give her feedback on her clothing idea for kids on the spectrum, just follow this link to fill out a short 10 question survey...read on to learn who you'll be helping.......
My name is Tihana and I am a fashion designer. I am also a mother to a beautiful, unique and very spirited little boy named Noah. Noah is curious, assertive, high spirited, loving and excitable. Noah marches to the beat of his own drum and can sometimes be loud, impatient and hard to handle. My son Noah is Autistic. He is currently 6, and it has been a journey. One that has brought me to tears, given me great strength and hope and one that has at times torn me down completely.
People who are not affected by ASD, in one way or another, have no idea of what it means, of what it takes and on how it can impact the lives of the people with the condition and the lives of the people caring for the condition. In addition, Noah has suffered from chronic eczema.
Some of the easiest tasks have been some of the hardest things to. Simply dressing my son proved so difficult that at times (more often than I care to acknowledge) we couldn’t leave the house for days. DAYS. I would have to ask my family to bring me food. I am a fashion designer and I couldn’t dress my son.
This is something so unimportant and nonsensical to someone who has no idea. But this was and still is one of the hardest things for me to do in a day and yet one of the simplest and most important things to live life.
In sharing my journey with other parents and practitioners who are familiar and living in an ASD world, I have discovered that there are many MANY more parents struggling with the same thing and many MANY more children suffering because of it. I say suffering because any parent who has experienced this has witnessed their children being annoyed, agitated and tormented by this causing them to tantrum, scream, tug, itch and undress out of sheer frustration.
Yet another seemingly little annoyance causing a great deal of stress and strain to both child and carer.
I took to spending hours and hours of researching fabrics like I never had before even with my background. I would search and search for clothing with strict requirements, both that alleviated his sensory and behavioral stresses but also not aggravate his skin conditions. That would take me so much time, effort and energy and sometimes, it would lead to my son walking around in pink or flower pattern leggings anyway. People would look at me oddly and my friends would say “you’re a designer for heaven sake”.
With much intervention, therapies, change in diet, tears and patience, I am proud to say that Noah is coping and doing better. The struggle, however, remains very real. And this simple task greatly difficult because it is hard to find clothing that is suitable.
I personally struggle to find clothing that is practical, of good quality, soft on the inside, fashionable on the outside, of natural breathable fibers that are all in all still stylish. I find for boys the variety really isn’t on par with that for girls. Having said that, many parents have said that they hate how girls’ clothing is all very pink and ‘cutesy’.
As a baby it was a little easier as even mainstream stores such as Target offer organic cotton ranges, plain as they may be, they exist. As he got older, it has become more difficult. With all of this in mind, I have started a children’s wear line. One that will not be gender specific, meaning its unisex. Not too much bright pink and ribbons. A line of clothing that is suitable for children who otherwise struggle with zips and collars and hoods and rough materials on their skin.
A line of clothing that will be practical, offer quality fabrics and ease and comfort to your children all whilst keeping up -to -date with the trends and fashion forward market. There is NO reason that children who need a little extra help shouldn’t have what comes easy to others. That is my mission, a small contribution, to bridge this gap.
It would be of tremendous help to me and greatest appreciation if you are reading this and have any suggestions, information and or requirements to add and experiences of your own, if you could take a couple minutes to complete my survey. Every experience is unique and individual but can contribute to the whole. Everything is 100% confidential and anonymous. Alternatively, if you would like to contact me directly, please feel free, I warmly welcome you.
Any information and guidance will greatly assist me in creating something that can help bring our children a little relief whether they’re on the spectrum or not.
If you want to contact Tihana you can email her on firstname.lastname@example.org.