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image of a young boy sleeping in a bed, wrapped up in compression bedding - fidgetbum

Does compression clothing help with autism?

Autistic children with sensory needs often find deep pressure and compression to be comforting. There are many methods of applying compression; be it with your hands, a weighted blanket or special needs clothing. Compression clothing is great for children with autism who find the sensory feedback from deep pressure helpful.

Whereas you can provide your child with deep pressure through touch, compression clothing can be worn all day and be a constant comfort when they are both at home and out and about. It can also be used during the night. Most compression clothing provides what could be described as a tight hug, however, you can also buy weighted items of clothing that provide deep pressure.

So, what are the benefits of compression clothing?

  • It can help to relieve stress and anxiety when a child is feeling overwhelmed.
  • It can help to increase focus.
  • It can help to reduce frustration and improve behaviour.
  • It can reduce hyperactivity.
  • It can help to improve posture.
  • Most importantly, it can comfort your child and make them feel happy and secure.

Types of sensory clothing and accessories available

With a better understanding of autism and sensory needs these days, there are many items available. Some examples of items you can find online are socks, tights, vests, shorts, leggings, t-shirts, arm sleeves and pyjamas. These pretty much cover all areas of the body. If your child is conscious of appearing different to their peers in terms of what they wear, compression vests are ideal as they can be worn underneath your child’s clothing, not making their sensory needs obvious to others, if this is something that they worry about. Compression vests often help children who seek compression all over their body and can help to decrease other sensory-seeking behaviours that they have.

In addition to clothing items, it is worth noting that you can now find a range of compression items online, such as cuddly toys, cushions and neck wraps. A product that SpecialKids Company recommends is a compression bed sheet called Fidgetbum. Fidgetbum is a sleep aid for children with stress, sensory and sleep issues which is recommended by Occupational Therapists. It helps to keep covers on your child at bedtime and can be hidden discreetly under the covers helping them to feel comforted whilst they sleep.

Would your child benefit from compression clothing?

Generally if your child demonstrates any of the below behaviours, it might be a good idea to try compression clothing.

  • Melting down in the morning about clothing choices
  • Displaying an extreme preference for certain textures or pieces of clothing
  • Preferring tight clothing like bathing suits, old clothes that are too small, tight leggings or leotards.
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