Clothes, Sensory Issues and People with Autism: is wearing the right fabric important?

C. Kyriacou, Rachel Forrester-Jones, P. Trantafyllopoulou

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Introduction:Many people with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) experience sensory irregularities, but the tactile modularity is the least investigated.

Methods: The current multi-component, explorative study aimed to understand the subjective experiences of a purposively drawn sample of10 Higher Education (all 18 yrs+) students with
ASC regarding tactile defensiveness and fabrics, using semi-structured, in-depth, one-to-oneinterviews. Participants were recruited via advertisements placed onuniversity social media as well as through the institution’s disabilitysupport unit. Seven females and 3 males agreed to participate. Seven ofthe 10 participants were undergraduates, 3 were post-graduates. All wereprovided with 7 samples of fabrics and asked to explain the effects thatthese may have had on their life. They were also asked to bring their‘favourite’ fabric(s) to express their thoughts about their choices.

Results: Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis andContent Analysis, three main themes were delineated from the data:Awareness of Fabrics; Body Sensations; and Coping Strategies. Some fabrics can impact individuals’ reported wellbeing. However, students’experiences with several stimuli appeared to have helped them implementcoping strategies.

Implications: By understanding tactile defensiveness, society shouldbe able to move towards increasing autism-friendly approaches withappropriate fabrics. Recommendations for future research, policy and practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-665
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2019
EventInternational Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSID) World Congress, Glasgow, UK 6-9 Aug 2019: IASSID Future4All - Scottish Event Campus (SEC) Glasgow, Glasgow, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Aug 20199 Aug 2019


  • Austin
  • Fabric
  • Clothes
  • Comfort


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