Helping Your Child Get Dressed By Themselves

Sponsored by Zappos
Slip-on shoes are easier for kids to put onWhen you are a parent to a child or children with special needs, you might dread developmental milestones. The newsletters that come about what goals they are meeting get tossed aside because your child’s milestones are different. Whether it’s walking, saying their first words or when should your child get dressed by themselves, it’s not the same as a neurotypical child.

Learning to get dressed is a basic “Activity of Daily Living”. It’s a life skill that allows a child to learn how to become more independent and successful. A child learning to dress themselves also learns about balance, body and spatial awareness, coordination, and so much more.

Getting dressed even helps children learn about sequencing! You have to put on socks before you put on shoes! The challenges begin with buttons, snaps, zippers and even putting on clothes “the right way” for a child with other struggles, a simple snap can lead to great frustrations.

I understand these frustrations all too well in our house. Whether it’s buttons on shirts, or zippers on jeans (that also rub), or laces on shoes, Edison and Sebby want nothing to do with clothing that is uncomfortable or difficult to put on.

At first, mornings were really challenging because I was spending time dressing them instead of them dressing themselves. That’s not super great for their confidence.

Wear Zappos to school!

So I went searching. I had ordered a pair of slip-on Vans for Sebby from Zappos. I love Zappos for their fast, free shipping, 365 day return policy, and world class customer service.

Slip-On Vans are great for him, he can get them on and off without help, and I’m not worrying about tying his shoes for him, a motor skill he hasn’t mastered yet, at 9, due Sebby’s Autism.

But I learned something else. Zappos is offering adaptive shoes and clothing that are BOTH functional and fashionable – for kids like mine with Autism, but also for adults too!Adaptive clothing helps your child get dressed by themselves

Zappos Adaptive: Functional and Fashionable Products to Make Life Easier

“Zappos truly believes that mainstream fashion can be adapted to a wide variety of special needs, minimizing mistakes when dressing. Two key adaptive brands are offering specialized clothing; 4way – a Zappos private label brand, and Independence Day Clothing. The array of offerings is expanding, but for now Zappos is focusing on 4-way reversible clothing, which gives a solution for dressing – anyway the clothing is put on, it’s on right, and easy access to shoes with alternative closures (no laces), such as hook-and-loop, slip-ons and bungee.”

Sebby loves his new adaptive clothing from Zappos. I’m sure Edison will too if I can ever get him out of his pajamas (that’s another milestone goal for us to tackle!)

Here are our Zappos picks for adaptive clothing

4Ward Clothing Short Sleeve Jersey Shirt
This soft shirt has flat seams for sensitivity, a tear-away water soluble tag and is wearable frontwards or backwards or even inside out! It comes in long-sleeve too!
4Ward Clothing Four-Way Reversible Shorts
Like the shirts, these shorts are fully reversible, ending the battle of pants on backwards, a trick Sebby is known for. They have pockets and are a modern, slim cut.
Columbia Kids Silver Ridge Pull-On Pants
The rib-knit waistband and nylon fabric make these pants easy to pull on, which is great for helping your child get dressed by themselves.
Vans Kids Classic Slip-On
These slip-on canvas shoes are a staple in our house. They are easy shoes for kids to put on and take off, they come in a ton of stylish looks and are affordable.
Adaptive clothing: 4 way shirts, elastic pants, slip on shoes
Seems simple enough doesn’t it? Getting dressed seems like it should be something that would be taken for granted, and that’s not the case. But with adaptive clothing, it just got easier for my kids. T-shirts can be put on backwards or inside out, no tags, pants that can pull on and soft, sensory friendly clothing. Adaptive clothing means my kids with special needs can master the important life skill of self-dressing.

Adaptive clothing helps children and adults gain confidence in this simple life skill that many people take for granted. It makes their life easier.

Zappos Adaptive is comfy

About Kerri Jablonski

Kerri Jablonski AKA The Maven lives in Seattle,WA with her 3 kids (2008, 2010, 2013), husband, cats and backyard chickens. Two of her children have special needs. Kerri enjoys cooking, travel, movies and spending time with her family.


  1. My AJ is also autistic with all the same issues. Since most kids with autism also have dyspraxia, tying shoes might never happen. AJ is 13 and still struggles.

    Thank you, Kerri. I’ll share with my autism group.

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