In honor of THIS AMAZING SUMMER KICK-OFF GIVEAWAY from Soft™Clothing and The SPD Blogger Network, I am re-publishing my review from last Spring. Consider it the extended version of my telling you that the clothing included among the $250 worth of prizes really really really is worth setting your sights on, whether or not you’re lucky enough to win it. Unfortunately, end-of-school-year-chaos delayed my posting this, but you still have until midnight tonight (6/24/11) to enter! So go! Go now! Win the amazing collection of goodies and make me jealous! Shoo!
Our sensory kids face enough challenges. The rules of the world seem to keep changing on them and the rules of their own bodies and minds seem to keep changing on the world, all while they are already having trouble getting the three to get along! Imagine being that person, struggling just to make sense of the all the steps forward that require so much dedication and effort. Now imagine that while you’re trying to focus in school, the tag at the neckline of your shirt makes you feel like you’re constantly getting poked hard in the head. Imagine that while you’re being urged on in physical therapy, the bunching pockets of your pants make you feel like your thighs are on fire. Imagine that the seams in your shirt feel like razors cutting into you when someone hugs them against you, making you flinch away from the affection before the deep pressure can soothe you. You need to figure out how to function in the world, but you can’t even stand to get dressed to go out into it.
Now imagine that there was clothing available which was made from the softest, natural fabrics. Imagine that it had flat seams, no tags, and bulky hems and pockets — that might otherwise bunch up — had been removed. Imagine patterns cut to fit so that there was ample room for free movement, without so much excess fabric that it billows and twists around you. Better yet, imagine that this clothing was as stylish as it was comfortable, and didn’t add to the social challenges that come from your special needs.
While still working on their Now also offering seamless socks and soon to offer seamless underwear, this company provides a variety of sensory-friendly clothing for boys and girls, both long and short, casual and suitable for uniformed or semi-dressy occasions. The customer service is excellent, the quality is surprising (especially if you’re used to 5-times-hand-me-downs being the only clothing “broken in” enough for your child’s comfort), and the value defies the trend that products designed for a specialty market will priced too high for most of that specialty market to afford.
I wanted some for Ash. I wanted some BAD.
Luckily for me — and for Ash — I was given the opportunity to review their Nautical Striped Tee the same day that I won a pair of their “Jeans” in a giveaway! Both reached me at the same time, but the T-shirt got tested first, on its own. The jeans were both too wide and far too long on my skinny boy, despite my thinking that I’d picked the right size, and because there are no belt-loops, there was just no way to keep them on him. (So, if your child is in the 25th percentile for weight and between the 25th & 50th percentiles for height, like mine, keep the aforementioned in mine when choosing your pants size.) To the credit of the company, they completely took care of making sure I could get the smaller size instead. In the meantime, Ash wore the shirt for the first time….very soon to be followed by the second, third, fourth, etc. times. [insert the sound of the washing machine, here]
I decided to give the shirt it’s first test-run on a day we’d be going to the playground. Because Ash has started caring about what he wears from more than a tactile standpoint, and because I’m not any kind of masochistic, I lay out the Nautical Tee and another shirt, for him to pick between. He felt both, as he considered. Then (as if you haven’t guessed) he picked the one I was aiming to review. “Y’want the soft stripy shirt, Mommy!” — how fitting. Two hours of playground antics later, neither of us regretted the decision. Despite the activity between warm sun and hot metal and plastic, Ash stayed cool and comfortable in the shirt. He never ONCE tugged distractedly at either side of the neckline, or tried to adjust sleeves or sides that, if on most of his other shirts, would have been riding up, tugging, or twisting around him as he played. Oh yes, we had a winner. When we returned home and I discovered that the shirt had made it through these adventures without a single snag or stain, I was thinking more along the lines of a grand prize. It’s a good thing that I didn’t feel the need to prolong this wardrobe relief by immediate application of stain-fighting prowess, too, because Ash only regretfully took the shirt off at bedtime.
The normal jeans he had been wearing, on the other hand, came off the second we were through our front door.
Thankfully, it was not long before his new “Jeans” arrived. These ones fit just fine, with a small cuff at the bottom. In fact, it was novel to have a waistline that stayed on him without bunching around him. Back to the playground we went.
Normally Ash walks slowly to the playground, holding my hand, and occasionally asking me to carry him. He stops every few yards to shift around his pants, unsure of how to smooth the pockets, bending to scratch at where the seams rub against him, and then, inevitably, struggling to pull his pants back UP, as he’s managed to pull them half off of him while fussing. Not so, in these pants. He started off walking with me. Then, he was walking faster. Then, he asked for permission to run. Those pants stayed up, falling off neither on their own nor because he kept tugging on them. Pants — 1. Skinny boy with SPD — 0.
I wondered if the material of the pants — thinner than that of normal denim jeans — would protect him enough from the sun-blasted playground equipment. Ash tends to feel warm things against him, as being hot. He seemed to have no problems. I wondered if the material would hold up to the abusive friction put on them by a five year old that still crawls and scoots around, much of the time, the way a baby or young toddler might. They showed no wear. No stains, either. He certainly moved around in them, too! He might as well have been naked, for all that he paid attention to what he was wearing. The wonderful thing is that he didn’t have to be!
And, in direct contrast to the time he wore the shirt but normal jeans, THIS TIME, the “jeans” were not stripped off….not even asked to be stripped off….until bedtime.
I give the shirt (received for free, for review) 5 out of 5 stars. I give the “Jeans” (won in a giveaway) 4 out of 5 stars if they are for a girl, and 3 out of 5 stars if they are for a boy. One star is lost for the difficulty in fitting, relative to size charts. The other star is lost because they have an extremely slim fit, which passes for standard girl fashion more easily than it passes for standard boy fashion. Still well worth it, relative to the fight to get typical clothes on, and keep them on.