Four in five children who suffer with autism (81%) say their mood is directly impacted – by the clothes they wear, a study has found.
More than 1% of children in the UK are diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, with the condition affecting social interaction and the ability to understand the feelings of others.
It can also leave youngsters feeling overwhelmed and suffering sensory overload from bright lights, loud noises, or more.
But a poll of 517 children with autism has revealed that 73% say that wearing familiar clothing can help them regulate their senses.
And three-quarters of those polled, by stain removal brand Vanish, say that consistency is “important” to them when it comes to the look, smell, and feel of their clothes.
One famous autism advocate who can relate is model and TV personality, Christine McGuinness, who was diagnosed with autism two years ago, at the age of 33.
In Christine's case, it affected her ability to cope with change – leaving her feeling anxious or upset.
But she turned to particular items of clothing – such as a beloved hoodie – to give her the consistency she needed in order to get through unfamiliar situations.
Christine, 35, said: “I have a grey hoodie which is particularly important to me because of the way the sleeves pull over my hands to comfort me.
“And because it has a deep hood, which is perfect to hide into, when it gets too noisy while travelling.”
She spoke about her experiences after teaming up with Vanish and its charity partner, “Ambitious About Autism”, to promote a new campaign, “Me, My Autism & I”.
An exhibition will take place at [email protected], from March 29 to April 2, following the launch of the new campaign, which raises awareness of autism, and shows the importance of clothing lasting longer to autistic people.
Christine added: “I struggled with autism for the majority of my life without realising it, but there was something consistently present – I didn’t like change. It’s something I noticed from the clothes I was wearing to the routines I was keeping.
“Every autistic person is unique but for many of us, change is a big deal, and clothing can make or break the day-to-day for some autistic people when we rely on it for consistency and familiarity.”
Cigdem Kurtulus, of Reckitt, makers of Vanish, said: “Making clothes last longer matters for us all, but for some it really matters.
“Clothes aren’t just an item, they’re a lifeline for many people’s everyday lives, helping them feel comfortable and safe.
“As a brand, it’s our ongoing mission to ensure clothes stay true to new for longer, extending the garments’ life after washing.”
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