Tips to helping deal with sensitivity to textures and clothing

Many children and adults with autism and other neurodiversities may be sensitive to specific textures.

Some children/adults find that:

  • Labels on clothes uncomfortable or irritating.
  • Stiff or scratchy clothing may be irritating.
  • Certain textures or types of clothing may be avoided.
  • Some children or adults may even decide to take off their clothes that they find uncomfortable.

Tips to help

  • Start by considering clothing you choose – consider soft, cotton, breathable fabrics, without clothing tags. Avoid tight elastic bands, metal fastenings.
  • Washed and very worn clothing may feel more comfortable for some children and adults.
  • If the child or adult has to wear uniform, they could wear a soft cotton vest underneath and/or cotton jersey leggings or tights under trousers or a skirt.
  • Let your child choose what they prefer to wear where you can. If they prefer to have minimal clothes but it is winter time, take with you, if you are leaving the house, additional clothing they can wear if they are getting cold.
  • Think about socks and underwear that are comfortable with minimal seams, tags or areas that could be potentially irritating to the child or adult.
  • Consider clothes that won’t bunch up or fold that may become irritating e.g. socks that will fold together in a shoe; bras that don’t rise up.
  • Discuss what is also socially acceptable – you could show pictures in different settings and if the child/adult is old enough and point out/discuss what and why others are wearing certain clothing in specific settings e.g. in winter; when playing sport; for an interview
  • Always consider safety as well- it may not be safe to wear flip flops in the middle of winter or if playing games outside.