Former clothing designer Mindy Scheier knows first-hand the difficulties of finding fashions for kids with disabilities. As a mom of a 10-year-old son with muscular dystrophy she is well acquainted with the struggle to find pants that will fit over his leg braces, have an adjustable waistband for his scoliosis, and look stylish enough for a kid to want to wear around his friends.
Instead of wallowing in her shopping blues, Scheier decided to take matters into her own hands and began adapting popular styles to fit her son. Scheier also realizes that there are many kids with special needs that can benefit from adaptive versions of trendy styles, so she started a non-profit organization called Runway of Dreams.
Today reports about how Runway of Dreams advocates for popular clothing companies to consider adapting some of their styles to fit the unique needs of disabled kids. Scheier points out that adaptive clothing is nothing new, but they currently come in styles that most kids would scoff at and are not very affordable. She says, “It [wasn't] anywhere close to what their typical age group was wearing. It wasn't current, it wasn't mainstream, and, to be honest, it wasn't even quite affordable. It was actually quite expensive.”
In an effort to show retailers the need for adaptive clothing, Scheier surveyed parents who spoke of the difficulties of shopping for their kids with cerebral palsy, autism, dwarfism, and muscular dystrophy. Some of the ways she creates easier fit clothing are to replace buttons with magnets and extending zippers so that kids have an easier time getting themselves ready in the morning. Scheier explains how the simple act of getting yourself dressed can be a big deal for kids with disabilities. She says, “To give that freedom and that sense of independence is life-changing.”
What do you think of this mom’s mission to convince popular clothing lines to offer more adaptive clothing for kids with disabilities?
Do you think more retailers should consider offering adaptive clothing?
I would like it if the stores would to the world , little people, big people (extended sizes 3,4,5,6 x ) tall people, children and aduts with disablities and keep the cost down. These big stores knock the smaller store out and then they do not accomadate or they charge you double. Everyone would like to be in fashion. This mom is great. The designers need to open their eyes to the whole world.
I am a high school Special Educator and believe me...my kids are no different from those without disabilities when it comes to fashion and trends. Some dress just as sharp as the fashionistas walking down the hallway, while others, with more complex issues, would have difficulty dressing that way...which doesn't mean they wouldn't like to. Great idea!
Great idea! My son has joint issues and zippers and buttons were hard. Now that he's 19, he has gotten better at using the zippers/buttons on his jeans as his day program director insists he wear jeans instead of elastic sweats. He never learned to tie his shoes due to the finger joints issue, so having velcro sneakers or slip on shoes is wonderful for him.
Awesome idea. I have a nephew who is quadriplegic - stylish clothing adapted to disabilities would be awesome - and helpful for both him and his caregivers. He's 27, he wants to look cool too! Very much needed!! Great idea, kudos to her and I hope the fashion world hears the message and responds positively.
Oops meant heck yea sorry
Hell yea. Props to her. I love this idea. Wish we had something like it here. I work as an Employment Consultant for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. And there is a lot of clients we work with who aren't given fashionable or trendy clothing items and choices, with some of the resonance being the group homes don't know what to pick out for them or only offer them functional clothing over trendy. Other reasons being that clothing companies most of the time only cater to a specific demographic which doesn't include people with disabilities. I think this is a wonderful idea. Hope it spreads across the country.