Autism and Clothing

When you have autistic children, you are likely to come across all sorts of oddities with clothing.

Common quirks include chewing or sucking on sleeves, having great discomfort from elastics and labels and wanting to take their clothes off.

And then of course, there is that embarrassing habit of touching their genitals.

Or worse, some suffer from fecal smearing syndrome - an aspect of severe sensory disorder.

One tip I keep hearing from parents of children with autism is that their kids find it much more comfortable to sleep in one piece pyjamas.

It may well be the lack of elastic around the waist, since the belly seems to be especially tender for many with autism.

Clothing designed to meet the quirks of autism can make night time much more comfortable.



Happy to let you know that I've been working on solving this problem.
And we have solutions for both day and night in our Special Needs Products US store.

There are two daytime solutions - onesie style bodysuits.

The first children's onesie is here.

The second solution is a onesie bodysuit barrier - available in sizes child through adult XXL.

Here's the night solution:
back zippered pajamas
Youth Sizes: 8, 10, 14, 16, 18
Colors: Grey, Navy Blue

Click below to order:
US Orders - Click here if shipping outside the US.

Reasonably priced - save even more when you order two or more.
Rewards points too!

Comments for Autism and Clothing

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pulling off diaper
by: Carol

I have a friend who's little girl aged 4 - is autistic.

She pulls off her pj's and then her diapers which causes alot of mess.

Has anyone come up with a solution to this problem. I'm sure she isn't the only one doing this.

I'd appreciate hearing back from you. Thank you.
Carol C.

by: karen

i need some help finding clothers for my son who is 5 he hates t-shirts or jumpers i dnt know why but he becomes very distressed when i try to put one on him but he cant keep going out with no top on please some one help

How to keep kids dressed and away from their diapers
by: Anna

There is a solution that many families have found works quite well.

You can get them here.

The idea is to use these one-piece footed pajamas with the zipper worn on the back. The kids won't have access to the zipper, so can't constantly undress, and can't get access to their diaper to cause any mess.

Our kids loved the garments because they are so comfortable - made of polar fleece.

We not only used them as pajamas, but also as day clothing. (You can also buy pants only).

One feature that I really like is the fold-over foot, that acts like built in socks.

One child has really poor circulation, so his feet are often cold, but he has a lot of trouble keeping socks on. With this fold-over "sock", we could finally keep his feet warm.

And, it is super convenient for getting his foot inside boots as well.

I can recommend these with confidence.

Choosing the right clothes
by: Anonymous

These children and fond of chewing or biting their clothes. But don't you know that conventional clothes have chemicals such as formaldehydes, resins and dyes which may harm these children? I recommend to parents with autistic children to use organic cotton clothes. They are safe, 100% organic and very comfortable to wear.

Won't Wear Clothes or Diaper
by: Sad Grandma

It's a comfort to find others going through this too, there is such despair when we feel so alone in these problems! My 3 1/2 year old grandchild suddenly began hating her clothes a few months ago, and pulling off her diaper and leaving piles of pee and poop smeared everywhere. We watch her, and sometimes she sneaks off to do it, but will also do it right in front of us. We've tried switching clothing styles and blends thinking it was a sensory thing, but it doesn't seem to matter much. If it's clothing, she hates it. And the house smells. Our couches, her bed, the carpet.... after awhile, nothing gets out the toilet smell anymore. Yes, I'm depressed. And tired. We've looked everywhere for footies, onsies, or blanket sleepers, but it seems no one makes them in her size (5). The stores only stock them from preemie to 24 months. So now what?? I've joked that we need to move to a nudist colony, but we are really just plain out of ideas. Anyone know how to keep her clothes on? We'd let her run around in just her diaper except she wants to be naked even in public... and she's only getting older. What in the world will we do when she's 9? Or 14? It's overwhelming. Thanks for having this site. Hugs to all!!

Cannot keep daughter with autism in diaper
by: Anonymous

I don't know what to do. We have had this problem ongoing and have tried everything we can think of. Our latest solution was to put her in a sleeper backwards, with tights, followed by pants and then a leotard on backwards as well. It worked for awhile and now she is back to undressing, especially at night and smearing poop all over the place. It is so disgusting and I am all out of ideas. Im glad to know we are not alone in this but I have no idea how to handle this anymore. Anyone with more ideas please help!!!


Editor's Note:

Just wanted to let you know that some parents have tried using a safety pin at the top of one of these one-piece footed pajamas worn backwards (ie. zipper at back), and they have had success with that.

Also, have you tried making her responsible for doing the laundry and clean-up? That was a big help for me.

Hope that helps.

PJ's still come off
by: Anonymous

I have been able to buy footed blanket sleepers but prefer to buy the un-footed called union out growing his size 8, still in great condition. I have a big 6yr old. We use to use overalls backwards and worked for awhile. Especially if you could get the shirts with the shoulder loopes for the straps to go through. Now he wears union suits and zipper in back. (Bad advice using safety pins, it could be swallowed or pop open and stick them).
He has learned to get out of sleepers totally zip and snaped,(he does not know how to snap so he did a Houdini) So with heavy packing tape we start in the back covering the top of the zipper and , across both shoulders around the waist and around the lowerhips. He will reach up the leg to pull off poopy diapers, if we don't.This works ifr you do not skimp on the tape. To save on cost of tape Someone suggested wet suit? anybody tried it?

nighttime clothes removal - solution
by: Anonymous

we take footie pj's and cut off the feet, turn them around so they face the opposite direction of the zipper and sew up the collar so it does not stretch. cheap alternative to buying special pj's.


Editor's Note:
You can find the sleepers here:

Practice nudism for Aspergers?
by: Kate

I know, I thought it was crazy too!

After doing some research, I found out that nudism (also called naturism) can be extremely beneficial to autistic children.

My son has Aspergers. When he was a baby, he would do everything to try to get out of clothes. Once he got older, he started taking off hi clothes. My husband and I tried to stop him but to no avail.

After doing research, talking to my husband and getting some books on the subject, we decided to try it.

It's been 2 years now and we have never been happier. I never knew that it was such a relaxing and wholesome family activity.

I really want a study done on this so more people can know how being without clothes can help someone with autism.

Go to the AANR web site to learn more.

Clothing removal
by: Anonymous

At last I feel as I am not alone in the fecal smearing urinating world we have tried it all as well we now use tape and tape his diaper works roughly 95% more than backwards clothes but we have used tape and backwards clothes plus extra tape on outside just for double protection during night sleep and we wake up with a much better smelling home :)

Clothes Houdini
by: Anonymous

My son is 2.will be 3 in a couple months.I'm tryin to find ways to keep him in his clothes...mostly at night.he was wearin just the indie footie pajamas...but those alone we're we started using under armor type pants and shirt that the dr recommended and puttin his footie pajamas on over it.unfortunately he does not use the zipper to escape,he pulls it off by puttin his arms out the neck then pullin it off his body.any one have any ideas???

struggling with autism
by: Rivkah

how about a wet suit?
my son's 8 and does the fecal smearing thing. this is what i am gonna try next.
good to know we're not alone - it feels like it.

4 year old SWEET boy
by: Anonymous

I have been taking undershirts reinforcing the necklive and arm holes with twill. Sew the undershirt to boys long legged briefs cut open the croch and add snaps. When this sweet little boy strips he has on cut underclothing. He can't reach his diaper and it's easy to change. He's just in a big boy oneises. Noboby can tell. So far it's been great.

by: Anonymous

I agree don't use safty pins But do use diaper pins they are so mudh safer They might be hard to find. We ordered ours on line.

the wet suit
by: Anonymous

If you try using a wet suit, I would try a larger one. They are difficult to get on "use lots of baby powder" and then to take them off when there is a full diaper is very difficult. If the diaper rips you are going to wish it was a nice loose fitting garment that would just drop to the floor.

Good Luck !!

Adolescents removing clothing
by: Anonymous

I work in the schools with students who have autism. I have noticed that several students will remove their clothing when they get upset. We approached the situation from a sensory perspective, but it appears that clothing removal is how they respond to emotional overload (and not a sensory overload). We also discovered that this behavior is impossible to ignore (and extinguish via ignoring) and engenders all kinds of emotional responses from adults and other students, which may be adding to it's potency as a reinforcer.
What we have tried is to have the student in clothing that is very very difficult to remove, and bring a blanket when student is out of the classroom to wrap around them and remove the hysteria from others. One student quit taking off his clothing after 2 months, another student is allowed to do this in the bathroom for 20 minutes, a middle school student hasn't gotten very upset since a uncaring student aide was fired, and yet the only female student who removes her clothing still persists even while wearing coveralls over her clothing. We will continue to work on communication with students and looking for environmental influences that may contribute to frustrations.
any other ideas?

Cure for diaper removal!
by: Anonymous

Okay I searched high and low and found the ultimate cure! I was at a thrift store and found a wet suit. Not the long legs its a short leg suit. it is perfect works perfect and my mornings are VERY CLEAN! My lil man is 5 yrs old 50 pounds and enjoys playing with his poop! every day no matter what there is poop everywhere the wet suit zipps in the back with a velcro strap over the zipper.... its not to hot and actually supports his sensory intergration disorder. If he drinks alot of juice water or milk his diapers can leak and he can wake up wet but I can handle a wet diaper anyday! just plop it in the wash machine and hang dry after several months of use we tested going without it worked for a few days than back off with the diaper its good to test once and a while please try this it makes life a lot easier for them and you! My lil guy is like the best escape artist and this he cannot get out of!

Sweat Shirts and Pants
by: MImi

I just bought sweat shits. I opened the shoulder added snaps and ran cording through the neck. On the inside of the shirt I put tabs with button holes attached along the ribbing. On the pants I put large buttons on the waist, not we can button the shirt to the pants and nobody knows. We can go out in publicand keep our sweet boy dressed.

Autism and clothing removal - New to Me
by: Anonymous

Just too cute!!! lol...Hope everyone got a good laugh on that one....we all need a laugh now and then. Life is really hard with an autistic child, I can tell. I kept an autistic child in the nursery last night who kept taking her clothes off. That's why I was here to see if other autistic children did this. I had to just keep lovingly trying to keep her clothes on her. I have never had to go through this before and I have taught 32 years now in public schools. She finally got distracted with a toy after I prayed really hard!!! lol..I will now continue to pray for the parents of these beautiful children for they as well as their children are special parents!!

for parent whose kids like their poop
by: dawni kissler

Hi I just wanted to comment on the children who seem especially intrigued by their bowl movements. I am a parent of a child with aspergers and hold a master in Special ed from Johns Hopkins. I wanted to let you know that often time playing with poop can mean a couple of things, The child may need increased stimilation in their "smell Glands" :) try buying bottles of a high quality essential oils and let they child explore their favrite sents.
Also, if the child is smearing poop on the walls, this may be an indication that the child has been in a certain environment too long, sort of way of asking for a change of scenery.
Peace to you and best wishes.
Dawni Kissler

Try athletic sources for skintight one-piece suits (cycling, track, rowing, diving)
by: Anonymous

Athletic sleeved skinsuits (cycling) / sleeved speedsuits (track & field) / sleeved unisuits (rowing) may offer more options. Usually custom built to order with significant wait time though, but its the only way to get a skintight shorty. Skintight full suits are better off from athletic sources, but dive shops offer them also (dive skins), though they are not as fabric sensitive. unsleeved / short legged singlets (wrestling) / speedsuits (track) / unisuits (rowing) are easier to find without wait times (eastbay). Wrestling variants are often nylon (not as cofortable / fades gradually in direct sunlight). Fit is important and if they kid is overweight is overweight, will look ugly too, but if slim and the suit well fitted, will look somewhat nice by itself, but regardless it goes under clothing nicely. Well fitted skintights may even work well with clothes haters as they can be very cofortable. Bad fit will likely be disasterous though. Smearers will need back zip obviously. Track/cycling suits tend to be front zip, but back zip can be ordered.

Clothing remedy for autistic children.
by: Angie

I have a 4 year old autistic grandson Dougie, who started to undress himself a year or so ago. Finding him totally naked in the morning and his bed saturated or soiled was frustrating my daughter. After reading up about it, I bought all in one sleep suits, sewed up the fronts and fitted zips in the back. This works really well. I also made him several all in one overalls with zips in the back and he has not been able to take them off! The material is really soft inside and not scratchy, no labels to irritate and Dougie seems much happier.

So far this works for us - one piece pajamas worn backwards
by: Anonymous

We have a 4 year old and a 2 year old who like to undress in their beds. We purchased one piece footless pajamas from The Children's Place, turn them backwards, and then put long sleeved button up dress shirts on them backwards over the sleeper. This way they cannot undo the buttons on the overshirt and get out of the zippered night suit. The only problem this does not prevent is the reaching up the leg of the suit to touch diaper contents (our 4 year old has Asperger's). I am currently looking at the footed version of these
But they don't have them in stock in either of my sons' sizes.
I could put tights on him, but I don't think that would be comfortable (and he's a boy- I feel funny about tights on a boy). Anyway, thought the ideas might help!


Editor's Note:
Wearing a one-piece outfit backwards does seem to do the trick for a lot of families. I recommend this style because the convertible-foot feature makes it very easy to wear backwards. The garments are also good quality and durable (we've home tested).

UPDATE: Thanks to feedback from site visitors, we have arranged for a limited production run of Back-Zip pajamas with a convertible foot.
Sizes available: 8-10-14-16-18.

International shipment available. Just look for the International Checkout button at checkout.
You can even pay in local currency for over 30 countries.

Taking off clothes and diapers
by: Angie

My daughter has also had this problem with her autistic son Dougie stripping off during the night and finding pee and poop everywhere in the morning! She now puts on the nappy backwards at night and I have been making all in one sleep suits with zips at the back for him, so we are finding this is working. In the daytime, he has all in one overalls which I make with zips in the back.

onesies under clothes always.
by: Anonymous

I have found that wearing a sleeveless onesie under regular clothes at all times has stopped my son from smearing. He is 6 and they are so difficult to find in his size.

some thoughts on the subject pf clothing removal problem
by: Anonymous

The chemicals in the clothing from dryer sheets,detergent, or fire retardant could explain why this is happening. Also the child can feel burning in his/her privates and trying to fix the problem. Often a naturopathic can help you figure it out.

how to keep diapers on
by: Anonymous

I work as a carer for adult disabled people. one person I care for requires pads. he wears overalls which have a zip in the back to stop him taking the one piece outfit off and this work well.


Note from Editor:
Thanks for your input!

Just want to let you know that we will soon be offering back zip outfits as well...

Stay tuned!

Sensory disorder
by: Edna

My Grandson is 10 years old. he has a sensory disorder. he chews on all his shirts. school thinks it may be seizures. has anyone heard of this. he walks on his toes a lot. he is very smart. but has a lot of arm movements - jumping a lot.


Editor's Note:
Hi Edna.

Thanks for writing in about your grandson.

A lot of the symptoms you are describing often appear with autism.

The hand waving is a way to deal with over-stimulation.

Try creating an environment that is very calming, and it may help his symptoms.

Think of things like a calming room color, painted in a solid color, without patterns. Also, reduced clutter, few things on the wall and clutter free floors will help.

Some kids also like to have quiet or very soft playing music. Some respond well to classical music, or easy-listening modern music.

Lastly, a regular schedule, so that his day is predictable may help. Many people use a picture agenda that is displayed on the wall to help with this.

You may find this autism symptom checklist and DVD useful for a big picture perspective.

Hope that helps.

Clothes removal and PDD
by: Anonymous

My son is 13 and was diagnosed with PDD at 2 years 9 months but I knew something was up long before then. As long as my son has been able to he has taken his clothes off.

Even as a little guy he has understood that he needed to have them on when he is out; but the minute he comes home he wants to be naked.

It has caused quite the uproar with his father/ my ex husband and my mother. My ex has finally come to terms with that he wants to sleep naked.

It seems to help with accidents?? It sort of grosses out his older sister but she also warns her friends before they come over that you never know if he will get naked or not.

I thought it was just a thing he did; it helps a lot to know that he is not the only little nudist in the world.

He had his stepdad and I laughing one day. He put a cape on and was running through the house calling himself " Super Naked Man" :)

At wits end!
by: Anonymous

My 2 yr old son, almost 3 has many symptoms of autism. He ALWAYS walks on his toes, doesn't talk, gets lost in his own world, etc. But the newest and most frustrating habit that he does now is eat his clothes. He picks at the strings so he can eat them. His whole goal is to eat the threads in the clothes he wears, leaving holes everywhere.

He also has a habit of picking at his diaper and eating it...wet or dry it doesn't matter. Clothes are a big problem right now. At first I was putting a onsie over his pj pants. That really helps, as well as the one piece sleep ware sets. But now he is out growing the indies, and living in Texas, the flannel one piece body suits he wares will be too hot come summer. Help! We are new to this and are just so lost! (He also scours the floor looking for hair to eat.)


Note from Anna...

Hi. I can definitely help with the clothing issues you have...

The first are bodysuit onesies for older kids. They are made of a very comfortable soft cotton with multiple strong bottom snaps. They can even be worn on their own on a hot day, since the legs are cut like short shorts. You can read more about the items here:
You can also buy them here, where there is more selection:

Second are back zipper pajama onesies, made of a lightweight material, that can also be worn as a jumpsuit during the day. They come in sizes 8, 10, 14, 16, 18. If your child doesn't fit in those sizes, there are front-zip footed pajamas in sizes from children's 4 to Adult XXL. Many people find that just wearing those backwards also does the trick.
You can find the back zipper onesies here:
Check the left hand menu for the front zip footed pajamas - again many of those can be worn as a jumpsuit during the day.

Lastly, if you have a really determined and difficult situation, you can now also buy bodysuit barrier outfits. These garments were designed specifically to deter clothing removal and access to diapers. You can buy those here:

by: Anonymous


Angry Ripper (clothes ripper)
by: Anonymous

I HAVE AN AUTISTIC/BIPOLAR DAUGHTER WHO'S 33yrs & like a child in the mind & she get's upset because she can't get her way or she see something wrong or she dose not understand something or u get on to her cause she's done something she should not have,she has a fit one thing she dos is rip her clothes,{in anger},she dos not have hardly any clothes,i need to find out if there's any special type clothes that can't rip easily & adult size{plus size},up to 5x,6x tops pants 4x,5x,is there such clothes ? if yes are in her size & are they Expensive,?,one of the reason for her anger now her Dad's not around{hard for her to understand that},HE PASSED AWAY DEC,15,2014,WENT HOSPITAL FOR 2 BACK SURGERY ENDED UP PASSING AWAY,{HE DID ALSO HAVE HEALTH PROBLEMS HEART D,DIABETES},SO NOW I'M A WIDOW DEALING WITH AN AUTISTIC DAUGHTER{WHO I LOVE},WHO'S BEEN ANGRY & HAVING FITS CAUSE HER DAD'S NOT WITH HER,IF Y'ALL DON'T HAVE THOSE CLOTHES OR HER SIZE OR THEIR NOT THE RIGHT PRICE FOR ME,THEN I WONDER WHAT I SHOULD DO,THANK U FOR ANY HELP ADVICE U CAN GIVE ME,GOD BLESS Y'ALL

help for carol
by: Mimi

Carol, the best thing I have found is to remake the PJs. I put a zipper in the back and sew the top and bottom together. Works great. I have been doing this for my grandson for the last 4 years. My grandson will soon be seven and it still works, plus he has lots oh cute pjs. If you don't sew I would take a look at the item on the site. We recently tried to put him to bed normal and SURPRISE he woke up naked-so back to mimi's pjs.

by: Eric

Yeah, I know hard it could be when it comes to selecting the clothing for an autistic child. There are a lot of factors that has to be taken care of while selecting the clothing for them, as there would be even minute factors that would disturb them.

school uniform
by: Anonymous

my son is 11 and will be starting high school this September.

he has a really big thing about trousers and will only wear black track suit bottoms.

primary school they excepted it but they and neither am i am prepared to compromise on the subject.

myself feeling that if i give in then i haven't set no boundaries and the he has to adhere to rules.

how do i get him into school trousers?

by: Anonymous

Seriously can't find any article of clothing that my 16 year old autistic son can't tear break or stretch his body out of. he is very strong and determined to get naked every night and the mess is horrifying. I've tried spending money on special needs products bodysuits....i feel that I am out of options and money...

by: Anonymous

Seriously why is it unethical to put them in a straight jacket at night?

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