A new line of autism-friendly T-shirts that come straight from a mom's heart
From Target to Marks & Spencer, many leading brands around the world have introduced sensory-friendly clothing for children on the autism spectrum. This is a vital need as children on the spectrum are unable to bear certain types of sensory stimulation. Certain types of pants or T-shirts can make them feel overwhelmed or anxious. Special sensory clothing can ease some of those stress triggers.
Now, there's a new line of clothing customised exclusively for kids with autism. This one is called Born Anxious and it comes straight from a mom's heart.
Born Anxious, which brands itself as an autism-friendly T-shirt brand, has been launched by Kellie Barker, who is based in Kent, United Kingdom and has a son on the spectrum. The line has become a favourite with many families and kids. Kellie says the garments are not just friendly to the senses but to the planet too.
In India, adaptive or sensory-friendly clothing is at a very early stage. There are a handful of designers who cater to the needs of adults with disabilities. No one is looking at children, especially those on the autism spectrum.
Would such a line be welcomed in India. Not all parents, we found out. Chennai-based Suba Rajesh, who has a son on the spectrum and is an active member of many parent support groups, feels such T-shirts are not really needed for children with borderline symptoms.
As a parent of a child with autism, I have not faced many problems with my son's dressing patterns. He wears what he is comfortable in. But a lot of us parents are trying to bring our children to mainstream society. We are trying to make them feel comfortable in the so-called normal world. That way, such T-shirts are definitely not welcome because the child again goes back to their comfort zones. For parents who work towards inclusion, this is not a welcome move. -Suba Rajesh, Parent to a child with autism
To get to a wider audience, Born Anxious has tied up with Kent Autistic Trust, an organisation that works for the empowerment of children with autism. The T-shirts don't have labels and are extra-soft so the child can stay in them for long. There are T-shirts with taglines like 'Be Kind I Have Autism' and 'Unpredictable and Amazing'.
Saju, parent to a child with autism, says she would definitely reach for such clothes if they were made available in the Indian market. "It would be great if the clothes were made available in India. My son is okay with all kinds of clothes as long as they are comfortable but I do know of many children who have issues with the type of clothes that are available.
All little kids are hard to dress. For children on the spectrum, the experience can be even more stressful for parents and children. Having options in clothing is always a good idea, and it's high time garment manufacturers in India started thinking on these lines.