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Monday, April 16, 2012

Althletic Clothing for Sensory Needs....Look Great, Feel Better

Because April is Autism Awareness Month, I thought I would take some time and infuse that part of my life into this blog. We work with many wonderful companies here, and I want to be sure to let all of our readers know that some companies just go beyond the ordinary. It can be tough to find the right products to fit in with autism, but when you find a company that has high standards, and that results in ease of symptoms to my child....well, let's just say that I am so grateful, that I want to shout it to the world! This time, I would like to share with all of you how great I think MPG Sport is.

My family has a member with autism. My son, a young man, (now 15), was diagnosed at age 7. For the past 8 years, every part of life for us has changed. The struggles at times can be pinpointed to sleep issues, sensitivity problems, digestive issues, and so on. But, one of the "big picture" struggles for us has been trying to grasp normal.

What do I mean? We know that we are living with a disability, and we actually feel very blessed by it. We would not change it for anything. We are not trying to BE normal, but rather show that we ARE normal. Isn't it true that everyone, whether diagnosed with something or not, has a variation in their lives? With that in mind, please read about how something as simple as clothing is a challenge with autism, and how I found that MPG Sport has helped us be included with typical society by way of typical design.

"Inclusion" to those of us raising children with autism, is about educating our children along side of typical children. You may have heard it called "mainstreaming". Instead of separate classrooms for kids with a diagnosis, we educate them right with everyone else. What about other areas in our lives? If inclusion works for education, shouldn't it work for other things?

Let's look at clothing. We all wear it. For the person with autism, it isn't simple. Buttons, zippers, tight elastic, tags, and seams can all be a nightmare. People with autism often lack the motor skills to zip, button, and snap. On top of that, my son, like many with autism, are both hypersensitive and hyposensitive. There are some things that bother his sense of smell, sight and touch so much that they seem intolerable (that is hypersensitivity) and then, there are smells, sounds, and sensations that his body doesn't recognize at all (hyposensitivity). Cotton T's and light wind pants seem to be all the skin can stand touching it, because he is hypersensitive. This struggle left me outfitting my child in sportswear. Every day, my son wears a compression shirt, a T-shirt over it, a hoodie, and a pair of athletic pants. While these items are in plenty supply at retailers, they fall short in some areas. I have to search for stitching that doesn't irritate, compression that isn't too tight, and breaths right, and their cannot be a tag at the base of the neck. If I can meet all of those goals, I am doing alright. However, we have always had the struggle of the exposed backside. In short, this means that the shirt rides up, and the pants come down. Most of the time, my son can't tell this is happening, because he is hyposensitive. I think for typical people, this can be an issue when working out.
With MPG Sportswear, I feel I have finally found the right feel and fit that meets my son's needs.

We have highlighted MPG in this blog before. We believe that it is a fantastic company that provides high quality clothing for those of us who believe no ordinary fitness wear will do. When my son's wardrobe needed a little updating, I went back to MPG to see what I could find for him. Luckily, the people at MPG allowed us to review a few pieces from the Men's Spring Line. I involved the expert in this review: my son. Usually, he will shy away from the spotlight. He can't stand people noticing a new haircut or shoes or clothes. I was super surprised to hear that he went to school and pointed out to teachers that he "had something different" that day. He not only looked great in his new clothes, he felt great. He felt great enough to communicate with others. For those who do not know, communication deficits are part of the autism disability. WOW, this mom saw a communication break through because of clothing.....yeah, it's that good.

EXTRAORDINARILY ORDINARY-That's what this mom calls companies who are just going about their business, promoting a product for the typical world. But, because of their high quality, attention to detail, and excellent customer service, they go beyond ordinary and become extraordinary in the life of a person with autism. Again, I am grateful. I am sure you will be too.

*MPG Sports gave Cathy products to review. She was under no obligation to write a positive review, and her opinions are her own.


  1. This is a great story. As I have sensitive skin, although not as hypersensitive, I'll be sure to check them out!

  2. When a situation in your family is different, you grab whatever you can to help. How great for you that this clothing line/company has items that work so well for you and your son. It makes life a little easier and that is always welcome.

  3. I love this review! By the time I got to the part where your son actually brought up about his new clothes, I cheered! You gave a good description of what it is like to try to find things that are acceptable for your son. I'm glad you found a manufacturer that is supportive, too.


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