But I didn’t think I should interview Jessica again – that seemed like it would be overkill, right? So I had to come up with another idea. And sure enough, the inspiration came to me – from Jessica herself.
Jessica and Soft Clothing strongly support many different charities (all of which can be viewed here) and she has a special place in her heart for children with sensory issues at school. After all, she was a special education teacher before she launched Soft.
I was recently telling her about some of the kids in my son Matthew’s Developmental Preschool class that have sensory issues. Ok, I don’t *know* that they have sensory issues, but wearing your Pajamas to school inside out every day sure is a hint, don’t you think?
What impressed me the most is that Jessica jumped on board to donate clothes to these kids – across the country in a public school that will give her no press and no advertising. Why does she do this? In her words, “I worked for two years in a special needs daycare in the basement of a housing project--and the kids had a lot of sensory issues--it's part of where the inspiration for Soft comes from so I am always, and will always be looking for opportunities to help in this way.”
It was then I realized that I didn’t need to know more about the clothes or about Jessica; I am already impressed by those. Now, I need to know more about the kids who are benefiting from them.
I’d like to introduce you to Darius and his mom Kathleen.
Welcome Kathleen to HLW3B – so great to meet another family like mine! Can you take a minute to tell us about your family and the kinds of sensory struggles Darius has?
Hi and thanks so much for getting to know us! We are also a 3 boy family!
Darius is my oldest and has been expressing his sensitivity to clothing since pretty much birth. He was frequently uncomfortable even as an infant and preferred to wrapped in loose blankets or the softest of sleepers. As he grew, he was adamant about picking out his own clothes and removing all labels and trying to find the most seamless socks out there. I knew instinctively his problems were severe and tried my best to accommodate his comfort.
As the years progressed, his ability to tolerate clothing became more and more restrictive until he wound up with what became know as “the uniform”: loose fitting pajama bottoms in thin flannel or slinky material, usually found in the ladies lingerie department and altered to accommodate his tiny waist and height, but left billowy throughout the leg. The top would be the most washed and worn softest cotton t-shirt belonging to my husband, worn inside out. These beauties frequently feature under-arm discoloration, stains and a hole or two for good measure!
Of course, all parents think that their child is the most attractive child in the world and I am no different. So you can imagine how difficult it was for me to get over feeling judged by other parents when I would take this handsome young boy out looking like a homeless bum in the streets.
Darius also has severely sensitive hair, and finds haircuts, shampooing and brushing almost intolerable. It was not easy to avoid the glares from those who thought I didn’t take care of my son, when in truth, I was doing the best I could as a parent to make my son as comfortable as possible. My other 2 sons do not experience any sensitivity issues at all beyond the occasional itchy tag, and the contrast in their appearance was often dramatic.
So many of my readers can relate to morning clothing battles! What was it like trying to get Darius ready in the morning before Soft Clothing? What would he wear?
Oh boy! Well, let’s put it this way-our local public school has uniforms.
I tried desperately to find something that work for him, but nothing did. Kindergarten was non-uniform, so that went ok, but first grade also coincided with his ADHD diagnosis and reading delays.
In all its genius, the school district decided to put my highly verbal, extremely hyper son in the English as a Second Language classroom. It’s kind of a no-brainer that “behavioral problem” would ensue.
Darius lasted all of 22 days there, ending with us engaging in a law suit against our school district and Darius becoming a home schooler. Home schoolers can wear whatever they want, so that’s a pretty good example of the severity of issues he was going through and how we managed to dodge that particular bullet!
Hunting non-stop for the ‘right’ clothes is exhausting! How did finding Soft Clothing change your life – and Darius’?
Can you say revolutionize? I spent countless dollars on clothing before Soft trying to find things he could tolerate. I would often buy whole lots of used clothes on Ebay (already broken-in for you !) just to be able to utilize one pair of slip-on pants or a well-worn t-shirt.
At holiday time when I would take the kids for pictures with Santa or the Easter Bunny, we would have to do a reconnaissance mission to see which malls had the Santa set up as close as possible to a bathroom, so we could slip in and change into an uncomfortable outfit and take the picture, rush immediately back to the bathroom to get back into the “uniform” and pick up the picture.
This is no longer an issue since I am proud to have my son photographed in Soft Clothes! I only have to worry about which mall has the Easter bunny and Sephora this year. : )
What do you want other families with sensory-sensitive kids to know about Soft Clothing?
Run, do not walk to softclothing.net and place your order! Everyone is feeling the pinch of this economy, but you cannot put a price on your child’s comfort. It changes the whole experience of their day. I liken it to a woman wearing high, pointy heels. By the end of the day in those shoes, Johnny Depp could be professing his undying to love to you, but all you will be thinking about are how badly your feet hurt and when can you take the dang shoes off!! That is how these kids spend their days, thinking about the discomfort. Try to build a new wardrobe slowly, one item at a time and see what a difference it make. I hope you will give Soft a chance! Thank you so much for reading our story!
Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your family and how Soft Clothing has made a big difference for Darius!
Before I get to the free part -- isn't Darius adorable!? I love the 'before' and 'after' shots -- especially the yellow crocs!
OK, Jessica has generously agreed to give a free outfit to both a girl and a boy. Please be sure to tell me in your comment which outfit you'd want (a soft dress for the girl, and a pair of pants with a tie t-shirt for a boy).
Here is how you can win:
1. You will need to follow this blog (publicly through Google located on the top of the right navigation) and
2. Answer the following question as a comment to this post (click on the word comment below my signature):
"How will having Soft dress clothes make special occassions better/different for your family?"
Once you have joined and answered, you are officially entered. As Nick would say, "Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy." The contest will run from Thursday 03/18/10 to Thursday 03/25/10 and will end at 7pm PST.
Jessica will pick her favorite answer for both a boy and a girl. I will post the winners here no later than Friday 03/26/10. You will have until Sunday 03/28/10 to respond with your address (email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org) or we will choose an alternate winner.
That's it--thanks again to Kathleen and Jessica!