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21-07-2021 | Original Paper Open Access

Clothes, Sensory Experiences and Autism: Is Wearing the Right Fabric Important?

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Chrysovalanto Kyriacou, Rachel Forrester-Jones, Paraskevi Triantafyllopoulou
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Supplementary Information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10803-021-05140-3.

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Tactile defensiveness in autistic individuals is the least investigated sensory modality. The current multi-component, explorative study aimed to understand the experiences of ten autistic adults regarding tactile defensiveness and fabrics, using semi-structured, one-to-one interviews. Participants were asked to discuss the effects of seven provided samples of fabrics and were also asked to bring their ‘favourite’ fabric (s) and express their thoughts about their choices. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and Content Analysis, the findings showed that some fabrics can impact individuals’ reported wellbeing. Participants’ experiences with several stimuli appeared to have helped them implement coping strategies. By understanding tactile defensiveness, society could move towards increasing autism-friendly approaches with appropriate fabrics. Recommendations for future research, policy and practice are also discussed.

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