By Gena Mann
My son Jasper loves wearing a jacket with a hood so much, it will be 75 degrees in April and I will finally have to hide his winter coat (and his Uggs for that matter which he also won’t give up—transitions are hard) in order to move him into spring clothes. I suppose there's something about the sensory input of a cozy hood pulled over his head zipped up to his chin that makes him feel secure….or not…who knows….all I know, is that I put a lot of thought into choosing a fall and winter coat for him each year as I know I'm going to be seeing a lot of it.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a jacket for your sensory-sensitive child:
1. Hood or no hood? For years Jasper wouldn’t come within 10 feet of a hat on his head, but as soon as he put on his first fleece with a hood, he was in love. Kids with sensory issues often have strong feelings one way or the other about hoods and hats. Keep this in mind when choosing a coat because we lose heat from our head if it's not covered in the winter. For those kids who seem to have a superhuman ability to never get cold while playing outside (another glorious side effect of autism and sensory processing disorders), it is important to make sure you can at least cover their heads in below freezing temperatures.
2. Puffy or thin? There are so many options for down these days! My active boys have always preferred thin jackets because they found they could be more easily mobile, but there is something kind of cozy and compressing about a big puffer that some sensory seeking kids might like.
3. Zippers or Buttons? Last season i went through three jackets because the zippers broke! Jasper always zips all the way up to the top. After years of going to an OT to learn how to zip, I'm proud of Jasper, but his less than gentle fingers have him yanking pretty hard on that zipper, and by February we are typically onto jacket number Two. Snaps or velcro might be easier, if they are available. Which brings me to…
4. One or Two? Buy a back-up. I choose a price point at which I can buy two coats, since one will get spilled on or it will get wet after a long day out in the snow, and you cannot leave the house in winter without a coat they love, so try to have a backup at all times.
Here are some of our favorites jackets in store right now:
BOYS: Zara Basic Quilted Jacket $35.90 USD / The North Face 'Moondoggy' $149.00 USD / H & M Padded Winter Jacket $34.99 USD / Uniqlo Boys Light Warm Padded Parka $39.90 USD / H & M Padded Parka $49.99 / MOLO KIDS Sherpa-Lined Denim Jacket $130.00 USD / Boys' Lightweight Synchilla® Snap-T® Hoody $99.00 USD
GIRLS: Zara Furry Hooded Coat $65.90 USD /OMAMImini Draped Jacket with faux fur lining $76.00 USD / H & M Padded Ski Jacket $69.99 USD / Zara Star Camouflage Cape 49.90 USD / J.Crew Polka-dot marshmallow puffer jacket 116.00 USD / H & M Padded Ski Jacket $69.99USD / Gap Heather puffer parka $108.00 USD / Old Navy Frost Free Hooded Jacket $36.00 USD
Please visit STYLE, for more sensory-friendly styling ideas.