Clothing for ‘special needs‘ kids used to only be available from small, niche suppliers with an emphasis on the practical rather than the fashionable. But increasingly mass market retailers are looking carefully at this growing market.
Not only are we living in a more ‘inclusive‘ society where difference is celebrated rather than disguised, but there is a realization that design features that children with sensory issues prefer, also benefit regular kids too!
High street retailer Marks & Spencer has become the first mainstream store in the UK to launch an ‘easy dressing’ line, designed for children with sensory or physical disabilities.
The childrenswear range is called Adapted for Easy Dressing and caters for children aged from newborn to teenage. It has been in development for more than two years and was conceived, designed and developed in partnership with customers including parents from three specialist schools.
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, recent information suggests that approximately one in six children, or 15% of children ages three- to seventeen years of age are affected by one or more disabilities impacting their physical, language, learning, and/or behaviors. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, rates have increased sixteen percent in the past decade Some research suggests that numbers are up simply because there is now a more clear understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders its theories that its not simply that it's just the number of diagnoses that has increased, and not the number of actual cases of ASD.
And just to show kids with disabilities enjoy dressing up just as much as any others, M&S’ models are the real deal too!
by Dawn Carrington
Dawn Carrington is Creative Director and designer at kiddithinks.com design studio dedicated to all aspects of children's design. Go to kiddithinks.com to find out more.
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