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Resources

For people with Down syndrome, family members, caregivers and professionals.

Adaptive Clothing

December 2021 | Katie Frank, PhD, OTR/L - Occupational Therapist, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Dressing can be difficult for some individuals with Down syndrome, in part because bilateral coordination and dexterity skills can be challenging for many individuals with Down syndrome. I have shared information about adaptive tops & pants, belts, and shoes & shoelaces below. 

 

long sleeve shirtTOPS & PANTS

There are (stylish!) options to promote independence with dressing.

Options may:

  • Eliminate the need for fastening or zipping closures, which may speed up dressing and alleviate frustration

  • Provide easy-close alternatives

  • Be available in petite sizes or short lengths

  • Resemble standard clothing including shirts, sweatshirts, pants, jeans, khakis, or other tops and pants

 

While not an exhaustive list, some examples of tops include:

  • Pullover shirts or t-shirts

sweater_pullover
 
  • Shirts with magnetic and/or Velcro closures

magnetic_closure_jean_jacket
 

magnetic_buttons

  • Attaching Velcro to existing shirts (i.e., over buttonholes)

shirt_with_velcro

 

While not an exhaustive list, some examples of pants include:

  • Pants with an elastic waist

elastic_waist_pants
 
  • Pull-on pants, jeans, or khakis

pull_on_pants_with_elastic_waist

  • Pants with magnetic and/or Velcro closures

magnetic_closure_jeans
 
pants with magnetic and velcro closure
 

The terms in the lists above may be helpful to use in search engines or when online shopping. Prices, fabrics, and availability vary, although options can be found at many common retailers such as Kohls, Target, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Amazon.

Some specific lines and brands include (listed alphabetically, not in order of preference): 

 

pants_with_beltBELTS

Two "buckle-less" belt options are: 

 

beltbro

myself_belts
 

shoeSHOES & SHOELACES

Many brands offer adaptive styles (prices and availability vary). Some features of adaptive shoes include: 

  • No tying required

  • Wraparound zippers

billy_shoes

 
  • Adjustable straps

shoes_with_adjustable_straps

  • Slip-on

adidas_slip_on

 

The following are several examples of adaptive shoes (listed alphabetically, not in order of preference): 

 

Rather than buying a new pair of shoes, adaptive shoelaces can be used with an existing pair of shoes. They replace or attach to standard laces and turn lace-up shoes into slip-ons. Options include: 

hickies_lacing_system

magnetic_shoe_closures

 

**Please note: We are sharing information about these products for educational purposes only. The Adult Down Syndrome Center does not receive financial support or compensation for sharing information about these products.

Please note: The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a medical, psychiatric, mental health, or behavioral evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment plan by a qualified professional. We recommend you review the educational material with your health providers regarding the specifics of your health care needs.

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