Asda launches school uniform for children with specific needs including autism
George at Asda has become the first supermarket in the UK to offer clothing especially designed for children with specific or sensory-sensitive needs, such as autism.
The new range, called Easy On Easy Wear, has been specially designed as research from George has revealed eight in 10 parents of children with specific needs say that it is difficult to get their children dressed every day.
As such, nine in 10 say they have become "distressed or upset" trying to dress their children or watching them try to dress themselves.
Similarly, 90% say their children often get distressed whilst trying to get dressed.
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The research also found that it takes nearly twice as long (88% longer) for children with specific needs to get dressed.
Asda says this is due to clothing being designed with neuro-typical children in mind, for example with tight necklines, hard to do up buttons or non-elasticated cuffs, that aren't always suitable for children with conditions such as autism.
Instead, the new range will have features to make getting dressed quicker and easier, such as buttons with easy close fastenings and elasticated waistbands, as well as design details suited to sensory-sensitive needs such as softer thread on seams and care instructions printed on fabric instead of labels.
Despite these changes, the uniform items look the same as those sold in Asda’s regular schoolwear line.
Caroline Hicks, head of schoolwear at George, says given 71% of children with autism attend mainstream schools, the design team were aware that the children want to look the same as their peers.
"So we have designed the range to look just like the rest of the school clothing we offer," she adds.
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The supermarket retailer says there could be more of a need for specially-designed clothing given that around 2.5% of children in the UK are believed to have a learning disability.
Asda's research also found that parents of children with specific needs generally buy twice as many clothes while looking for suitable items, and six in 10 believe regular clothing just doesn’t work for their children.
Hicks says the brand has "undertaken extensive research with customers and charities to ensure our clothing is suitable for them".
“Our main goal was to create clothing that allows independent dressing and that is more comfortable, thus addressing some of the challenges with clothing not designed for specific needs children," she continues.
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Asda isn't the only clothing retailer that has been addressing the needs of children with specific requirements when it comes to dressing.
Marks & Spencer has previously won praise from parents for launching a clothing line designed specifically for children with disabilities and those who need extra help when it comes to dressing.
The range aims to help children whether they have feeding tubes, crutches, are in a wheelchair or are just in need of clothes that are easy to put on and are gentle on their skin.
Products from the range come with hidden care labels so they won’t irritate delicate skin, discreet openings for feeding tubes, as well as inside leg openings and to make dressing easier.