M&S launches Easy Dressing range for children with special needs

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UK high street retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has unveiled a new line in school clothing designed to help children with sensory and physical needs

The Easy Dressing range was developed in collaboration with The National Autistic Society after customer research revealed parents of children with a wide range of special needs wanted clothing that was affordable and accessible.

I got in contact with The National Autistic Society to get a better understanding of sensory sensitivities and what the most common issues were. They linked me up with the Helen Alison School, an autistic school in Kent and there I was able to spend time with the children, observing how they interacted with the clothes, looking at where they had issues with internals and trims, and listening to the challenges they face when getting dressed in the morning or after P.E.

Said, Kidwear Technologist Charlotte Hunt in a blog on the M&S website.

Hunt returned to the school with samples of the initial designs to get further feedback.

We received some good constructive feedback and the overall response was really positive.

she said.

The range consists of a girl’s and boy’s shirt, trousers and a unisex polo, all modified for greater accessibility. The shirt has a strip of soft Velcro concealed in the button placket all the way down to the fifth button. The trousers have been simplified, removing zips and buttons and some inside pockets, and ‘pull-up’ trousers are now available through to age 16. The polo has long sleeves and a stand collar so that it can be worn with a tie.

The company says that 10 per cent of sales of the new range will go to The National Autistic Society to support its work.

It’s been fantastic to work with The National Autistic Society on this range, their passion to help people understand autism is inspiring and as a team we’ve learnt so much from this experience. Whether autistic, physically disabled or with no special needs at all we really hope these simple changes to our school uniform will help getting dressed easier for children.

Hunt said.

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Special World, from Inclusive Technology, is a free website linking 125,000 special education teachers, speech therapists and occupational therapists in 150 countries. Special World readers and contributors work with children who have additional needs or special educational needs including those with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties and disabilities.

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