Specialized Adaptive Clothing for Special Needs


Finding just the right clothing for children and adults with disabilities can be difficult.

Manipulating buttons, zippers, and snaps can pose quite a problem for many individuals with special needs who would like to become more independent by being able to dress themselves.

Likewise, parents of children with disabilities and special needs who may never be capable of dressing themselves, often find trying to dress their children in clothing designed for the non-disabled to be difficult and cumbersome

Others who have sensory processing disorders sometimes find standard clothing irritating and uncomfortable.

Seams, certain fabrics, and tags can all make traditional clothing a nightmare for people with sensory processing issues

For such individuals, adaptive clothing may prove to be very helpful!

Adaptive clothing is specialized clothing designed with the unique needs of individuals who may not have full range of motion, the ability to dress themselves, have feeding tubes, or who have sensitive sensory systems.

Modifications made to  traditional clothing designs could include:

  • Replacing buttons and shoelaces with velcro
  • Placing closures on the back rather than the front of garments
  • Front closing bras
  • Side opening pants
  • Clothing made with special fabrics
  • Seamless socks
  • Tagless shirts
  • Weighted vests
  • Compression garments

If you or someone you know could benefit from adaptive clothing and would like to purchase some specialized garments, here are a few tips to keep in mind while shopping:

  • If you are shopping for someone else, be sure you know what types of modifications that person needs and wants, their size, and color preference.
  • Also, try to take that person along with you if possible, so they can pick out clothing that appeals to them.
  • Make sure the items you choose are similar to the popular styles you see people wearing today.
  • Be sure the article of clothing is sturdy and made to last, so look for high quality fabrics.
  • Look for soft fabrics

*(The following link is an affiliate link.)

Sometimes, we can even adapt regular clothing to be used as therapeutic clothing!

My daughter Bethany, loves how tight fitting clothing feels against her body.

We discovered this fact quite by accident when she refused to wear the wet suit I bought her to swim in, opting instead to wear it all day long around the house!

In fact, she loves her wet suit so much that she now has four pairs in different colors and funding to purchase more when she needs them has actually been written into her individualized supports and services plan!

Bethany wearing her yellow wet suit!

Below are a few resources for Adaptive Clothing:

For a list of special needs clothing resources please see this list on The Disability Information and Resources website.

For a list of special needs fashions for children, check out the list on the Children with Special Needs website

Adaptaware: Clothing for Care (UK)

Rackety’s: Clothing for children and adults with disabilities

Adaptive Clothing Showroom: Clothing for disabled adults and children

Tommy Hilfiger’s Runway of Dreams: Adaptive clothing for kids

Tummy Tunnels: Clothing for kids with feeding tubes

More resources for kids with feeding tubes

Silvert’s: Wheel chair clothing for men and women

Kozie Clothes: Adaptive medical and sensory clothing

EZ Sox and Undeez: Socks and underwear for sensory kids

Independence Day Clothing: Adaptive clothes for teens, tweens, and young adults

*(A version of this post first appeared at the Firefly website.)

2 Replies to “Specialized Adaptive Clothing for Special Needs

  1. Have you tried underarmor? They have tight fitting clothing like pants and shirts. Its meant for sports or to be worn understuff in winter.

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