What are the best sensory-friendly fabrics for autistic children?
People with autism are especially sensitive to their environment, especially certain fabrics and textures around them. Many parents are still unaware of the resources available to them when it comes to this information, causing their children to deal with non-sensory-friendly materials that irritate their skin or cause other problems. Parents can avoid this scenario by choosing materials that will not irritate or overwhelm their children. The following six fabrics are considered some of the best sensory-friendly materials for children with autism:
If you have a child with autism, try selecting clothes made from cotton. It is a natural fiber and breathable so it is better for their sensitive skin. You can also consider bedding with a soft cotton cover or sheet sets with organic cotton covers. Organic cotton is grown without harsh chemicals so it will not irritate your child’s hypersensitive skin.
When choosing cotton clothes, pick colors that are soothing to help your child relax when they get home from school or after a long day of therapy sessions. Stripes, spots, and even nature-inspired prints in darker colors are great choices for sensory-friendly clothing for your child.
Silk is a gentle fabric and perfect for children with sensory issues because it’s smooth and lightweight. This fabric also resists wrinkles and static, which makes silk vintage style children’s clothing an ideal choice for kids that need softer materials. Silk fabrics are often given softeners that can irritate sensitive skin, so you may want to test silk samples by rubbing them on your skin before purchasing larger pieces of clothing or bedding.
Keep in mind that some silk garments feature synthetic fillers to make them less costly or lightweight for travel purposes. These fillers don’t stretch as well as pure silk fibers, which means they can be uncomfortable against bare skin. Avoid this by searching for clothing made of pure silk.
Even though it’s not typically considered a cotton alternative, wool can be incredibly soothing to those with autism. Similar to cotton, wool is naturally hypoallergenic, meaning it reduces allergy symptoms for individuals who are prone to them. This fabric also draws moisture away from your skin, keeping one cool in warmer months and warm in colder months. Moreover, because wool is more robust than cotton, there is no danger of tears or holes forming if your child has an accident while wearing it.
Polyester is a strong synthetic fiber that doesn’t wrinkle easily and dries quickly, making it another great sensory-friendly choice. This fabric is breathable and allows air to flow through clothing and sheets, which is great for anyone living with sensory sensitivities. Polyester clothing can also resist staining, which makes them ideal for younger children.
One potential drawback of polyester is that it traps heat easily, so you may need to take extra care when dressing your child if they get hot during the day. Parents should keep in mind that wearing too much clothing can be uncomfortable for children with sensory sensitivities, so take care when dressing your child in polyester.
Nylon fabrics are another popular choice for sensory-sensitive school uniforms and other children’s clothing because they’re easy to clean, hard-wearing, and durable. Nylon clothes come in a wide range of colors and styles that appeal to a variety of children. In addition, this fabric is naturally hypoallergenic and resists bacterial growth. Likewise, this material can be worn during high-intensity activities without being too hot or cold.
Fleece, or furry fabric, is a great choice for babies and kids with autism and other sensory issues. Fleece is light and comfortable, and can also provide a lot of texture to help soothe children who need the extra input. The soft fabric also makes fleece easy to care for as you can just throw it in with your regular laundry loads.
If you’re looking for something even softer than fleece, try microfleece. This material is designed specifically for children who have sensory sensitivities or who might be prone to chafing or rashes from traditional fabrics.
The best sensory-friendly fabrics will help your child feel comfortable in the clothes they are in. Use this guide to navigate what types of materials to look for when shopping for your child.