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SENSORYA: adaptive sensory clothes and accessories

Clothes and accessories for sensory therapy adressed to teens with autism and anxiety during the post-Covid

  • Main render of a hoodie with attached silicone moulded fidgets

  • Initial sketches of a hoodie

  • Silicone fidgets rendering featuring 4 different forms for motor sensory actvity

  • Chew pendants rendering

  • Mockup photos of a hoodie and chew pendants

What it does

Sensoria is a collection of adaptive clothes and accessories designed for sensory therapy. The project is addressed mainly to teens with sensory activities.

Your inspiration

During the COVID-19 lockdown the anxiety level has increased significantly, especially for children and young people with autism spectre disorder. Clothes and accessories become the fastest way to recieve the needed sensory experience. My brother was diagnosed with ASD in the early 2000s, so my mother and I have been making DIY therapy devices for him, as we couldn’t find any in Russia. Nowadays, Russian children may get traditional therapy, yet still little is made for teens and young people who are seeking also for social inclusion. I believe that design could be a great instrument in connecting people and making a social change.

How it works

As a result of surveys, we identified several general limitations and desires in clothing - greater freedom of movement, the ability to cover the face or part of the face. The basic model design - cotton jersey raglan sleeve sweatshirt with a deep hood - is detailed with silicone moulded fidgets. Fidgets feature 4 different forms, that enables different interactions, depending on person's individual sensory needs. The moulds are attached to Velcro and can be changed. The hood can be adjusted and cover a lower part of the face. Chew pendants and necklace resemble the sugar sweets appearance. Two different sizes of sugar beads made from chew-safe silicone.

Design process

An attempt to investigate how differently sensory decorative elements might look has led to three different directions on how this might develop in this way. This could be an additional element that increases the space around the clothes and forms a security barrier - pumped sleeves. Another idea features the sewn-on patches made from different tactile materials - faux fur, Velcro, canvas and metallic. This resembles the sensory boards that are used for sensory therapy in Russian kindergartens and schools. Finally, we could use Velcro based silicone patches and fasteners. This allows you to remove and change tactile elements depending on your wish, while the base model remains unchanged.

How it is different

People with sensory fatigue, including children with autism spectrum disorder, have specific dress requirements and restrictions. We have conducted surveys of family members with children and adolescents with ASD in the Sverdlovsk and Tomsk regions in Russia in January 2021. It was important for me to preserve the functionality of adaptive clothing, but at the same time to offer more flexible and practical solutions than other projects have; moreover, many details can be changed, which allows a person to adapt clothing to their specific needs.

Future plans

At the moment the project has already first draft prototypes, and is in search of the possibility of creating the first series for new field experiments, futher marketing and sale research


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