Clothing Doesn't Feel Good

by Debbie
(Pittsburgh, PA)

My 4 year old (just turned 4) has always had an issue with clothing/socks/shoes not feeling good, but over the last few weeks it has gotten much worse.

Getting her ready for daycare in the morning is a HORRIBLE experience. When it is time to get dressed, the crying and tantrums start. Her underwear, pants, shirts and ESPECIALLY socks and shoes do not feel good when she puts them on. She will change clothing up to 5 times to find something that "feels good" while throwing a fit during this time. Then finally, when we have clothes on, we have to try to get socks and shoes on.

Over the summer, it wasn't as big of an issue, because she tolerated wearing sandals. But now that she has to wear socks and shoes, she is miserable. I have purchased seamless socks over the internet, thinking this would solve my problems, but she doesn't like those either. Of the 15 pair of shoes she owns, there is only ONE pair she will wear. And sometimes it is embarrassing because they don't go with a lot of her outfits.

She also does not like her hair brushed or to put barrettes or pony tails in her hair. When she is at home, she likes being naked from the waste down. Other problems we have with her is that she is a very picky eater, but the clothing problem is much more serious right now. If there is any advice you can give us, it would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!


I know this is a very, very common and difficult problem for our kids. What makes me feel a bit better is knowing quite a few adults that have some mild form of this, so I often wonder if S.P.D. has been around a lot longer than everyone has expected.

Has your daughter received a diagnosis of SPD? Any other defensiveness issues? Does she get OT? (occupational therapy) OT would definitely be the place to address the underlying sensory defensiveness. If she is in OT, make sure they are addressing this. If she isn't, please try to get her there!! The picky eating, the clothing issues, hairbrushing issues... all sensory defensiveness that needs to be addressed through a good sensory integrative approach. Meanwhile...

In our home this is also a big problem. I have managed to get around it by finding stores that sell tagless, seamless undergarments (Target carries them; and other stores linked to in article referred to at the end of this answer). As for them not matching? Hmmm, maybe buying the kind she likes and dying them? Some specialty stores carry socks: have you asked the company who makes the ones she likes if they sell colored socks? Sometimes all it takes is for you to ask.

I have started to try and make garments softer before I even give them to my son. I will get a 5T & 6T and then wash the 6T everytime I was washing the clothes (6-10 times usually works), then put them away. The hard part? Remembering you have said 6T jeans/shirt! I will also run his clothes through the wash & then through the rinse cycle just so he does not have that fresh smell; A LOT of SPD kids do not like the smells of detergent and this can sometimes be the main problem.

A way to soften clothes quickly so they are not stiff and are w/o detergent is to use the dryer balls (I use the bumpy balls from Target or Walmart)... they are in the toy section, not the laundry section, and cost a fraction of a dryer ball (can also be used as a sensory tool when you run it over a sensory seeking child). Just add 2-4 balls to a wash and then the whole load to the dryer and you will be amazed at how soft and comfy jeans, t-shirts, jammies become.

I'm not sure about the buying a bigger sized shirt, I am pretty lucky to be able to do that, I am not sure if a lot of other people can or not. Maybe an exchange w/ a neighbor who might have an older child that has "gently used" clothing?

Are there any parents out there who have any other ideas? Anything you have that works for your child? Any other store you have found seamless/tagless clothing?

Hope that helps.

Take care,
Heidi Washington SPD Parent SHARE Host

One particular newsletter may help too... SI Theory To Help Solve Problems At Home newsletter. Here are some of the suggestions you will find there:

Child is bothered by the feel of some clothes.

1. Use a body suit under clothes.

2. Provide socks that are tight around the ankle.

3. Wear silk/lycra underclothes.

4. Seamless socks (or turn socks inside out).

5. Tagless pants, shirts, and underwear.

6. Get used clothes at a second hand store... they are usually well broken in and softer.

7. Use plenty of fabric softener when washing clothes.

Also, this article should help a lot! Touch Sensitivity (Tactile Defensiveness); When Clothes Hurt. Includes explanations and reasons why they have a hard time, clothing resources and stores for seamless/comfortable underwear, socks, etc.

Giving your daughter some good deep pressure input and compression will help decrease the defensiveness too. Use weighted blankets at night, roll a therapy ball over her before she gets dressed, do some deep pressure lotion massage, bear hugs, anything that "squeezes" her, etc.

And, shoes? Have you tried moccasins? Tight socks with the shoes?

But, her defensiveness sounds significant enough that she needs to be treated by an OT... can you get her to one??

Anyone else have some ideas? Input?

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Mar 12, 2015
Had this problem as a child and still do
by: Anonymous

When I was a little girl, I HATED anything tight such as elastic on the sleeves of dresses or shirts and "itchy" tags in my shirts. My mom would cut the elastic so I would tolerate wearing the dresses and just remove the tags. I'm in my 50's and to this day, I don't have tags in any of my shirts. I prefer to go in sandals, flip-flops, or barefoot and wear loose t-shirts, shorts or sweats around the house.

Feb 28, 2015
All Seven Senses
by: aecf

My daughter is almost 11. Her intelligence is beyond scales and is considered by most who meet her "an old soul". So when I speak of past struggles to parents that are going thru it now, it's hard for them to comprehend. All seven of her senses were severely compromised. From not being as to walk out of the house because of the sunlight to vomiting in a violent response to smells to scratching her skin off as she peeled back the layers of clothing I had put on her or even pulling her own hair off in an effort to remove hair clips. She even ripping her earrings out of her ears. Everything in her world was assaulting her senses. It was heartbreaking to witness. To lower her tactile sensitivity input, I purchesed nothing that had or was made with denim, lace, Velcro(only shoes) zippers, polyester, metallic threads, tulle, harsh seams, embroidery, buttons, glitter or embellished in any way possible. I invested in a seam ripper. And before I paid for anything I rubbed the clothing or the seams around my neck area. Stretchy cotton was the way to go.

Feb 14, 2015
My 4 year old finds long sleeved clothes scratchy
by: Paula steppat

I thought I was the only parent going through this sort of thing but after reading this page I see there are a lot more going through the same thing as me. My four year old daughter hates wearing long sleeved tops or jackets that have fleece inside the arms. She gets herself so worked up when I try to put a coat or long sleeved top on her that I just don't bother as I hate seeing her so upset. I just worry when it's really cold and she doesn't wear warm enough clothes that she will catch pneumonia or a bad chest infection. She was also funny about wearing pants and socks when she was younger but has thankfully grown out of that now although at the moment she prefers to wear tights to socks at least I know her legs will be warm it's her top half getting cold I worry about. Wonder dose anyone have any ideas about long sleeved tops or is it maybe that it's a stage she is going through and will grow out of it ? Appreciate any feed back thanks :-)

Jan 28, 2015
54 year female still struggles with sensitivity
by: Anonymous

Because of this condition, I have an abundance of clothes. Some days it is so hard to get out of pj's and find something comfortable and appropriate for work. It's either gotten better as I have grown up or I know what I can stand. Very hard but it could be worse. As a child no one understood. I try things on at the store and hang on to the price tags in case I have to return. One learns to find clothing that is cut right to not constrict and as soft as possible. Summertime is so much easier, maybe I should be in a warmer climate all year long. Hang in there and try to understand the children when they just can't stand it.

Dec 14, 2014
by: Tasha Bennor


I am so thankful that i do not feel alone any longer!!!! My daughter Hope has what i have always described as "sensory issues". It began when she was about 3 1/2-4 . She has always had trouble with socks. She HATES the feeling of them touching her toes!! I would always pull them away from the foot or buy a size larger to accommodate her. Shoes have never been a problem except for sandals. She REFUSES to wear a flip flop type sandal because they hurt her feet. Again, i have accommodated her.

When she was about 4, hope started complaining about her underwear. She was constantly pulling them away from her body. She would literally sit on the sofa and cry crocodile tears because they were touching her body and she wanted me to make them stop. I was in tears because i was at a loss on how to help her. I finally bought her a bigger size underwear that was actually too big. She feels more comfortable in those.

Now she is nearing her sixth birthday. My daughter is very tall for her age and wears a girls size 10/12 for the length. She has been in leggings from day one because they were soft, easy to grt up and down, and she has a sensitivity to anything tight on her legs or seams. She has no problem wearing sweat pants. I am going to be buying her a pair of jeans soon because her body is taking shape.... (if you know what i mean ladies....) and i want her to still look like a little girl. I like the idea of used jeans. I was searching for some with a little bit of a spandex in them to make them less stiff feeling.

I am so grateful that there are so many other moms out there dealing with this!!
Pleas email me at if you want to further explore this. I could really use the SUPPORT!

Nov 11, 2014
Madeleine Paige
by: Anonymous

My daughter wears all her long pants and some shorts inside out. We've learned to just let it go. Your instinct that she is just being obstinate is wrong...

Nov 11, 2014
I have something that might work
by: Madison Paige

I have the same problem, if you turn your clothes inside out you can't feel the pain. You also should try on clothes at the store to make sure they feel alright. there is a website called smartknit for seamless socks, and you might want to turn a tight shirt inside out then put a right side out shirt over it. If you're stressed, it might become worse, but i hoped this helped :)

Nov 09, 2014
by: Anonymous

My post is the one before the OT post. We took ours to an OT, who (of course) said she would likely benefit. After 2 years of appointments (2 per month), I have to state my belief that it was of zero usefulness. Over a 2 year period, any child at that age (I think she was 5-6 at the time) develops, learns, advances and improves. In particular, her maturity and coping mechanisms improved and everything became less of an issue. So it is impossible for me to say with certainty that the OT didn't provide some benefit, but I really believe in our case it was just the normal development that occurred over two years that helped her. That's certainly not to discourage people from looking into it and making their own analysis/decision.

However, I would reiterate for everyone my belief that this issue, while it certainly hasn't gone away, has become much more manageable as the child gains maturity and gains desires to do specific things (e.g. play soccer, go to a roller-skating birthday party, etc.) that can balance against their inability to wear shoes/socks or other clothing.

In addition, they learn to balance it against the desire to "fit in". Our daughter (who just turned 10) still won't wear panties (and possibly never will)...but she has learned to tolerate those athletic shorts that have built in "netting/underwear". She will likely never wear jeans, but she has learned to wear very soft long pants (although rarely does...unless the temperature is under about 20 degrees). She wears only crocs....unless she's skating or playing soccer. They're technically not allowed to wear crocs at school, but she's learned that if she gradually begins testing the rule, no one ever notices....

Nov 05, 2014
An OT eval may be helpful
by: Pediatric OT

For parents that are describing issues with their children having difficulty with wearing clothes and shoes, it may be beneficial to get your child evaluated by an OT (occupational therapist) trained in sensory processing and sensory regulation. There is a program for addressing tactile defensiveness/ and other sensory strategies that can help address the issue. I know tactile issues can be frustrating. Hang in there.

Oct 25, 2014
by: Anonymous

Your 5 year old sounds EXACTLY like mine was at 5....the shoes and seat belt were never tight enough. She would tie her shoes 10 times, each time trying to get them tighter. She would put clothes onst the store and say she liked them but then would refuse to wear them once we were home. We made a rule that she had to wear them in the store for 10 full minutes...that solved the problem. The reason she was saying she liked them was because she knew she could then remove them and we wouldn't make her try on more. I wish I could have a phone conv with you as there are so many things here.

Bad news is she still has similar issues... Good news is she has learned lots of coping issues so that aside from dressing strangely....basically soft cotton t-shirts and shorts every day year round...she is otherwise outwardly a typical kid. She is extremely particular about everything including her bed sheets and blankets being perfectly made up and wrinkle free even when she's in bed. Just accommodate her and let her do what she needs and she will adapt. Never push her to tears. Let her wear inappropriate clothes for the weather. Don't make her dress up for special school events like "western day" or "hat day" if she is unable to find something she can tolerate. She will want to try but when she fails just let her. She'll slowly find things she can tolerate and tricks for enduring when she really has to. Ours will now wear tennis shoes for soccer only. The rest of the time it's Crocs only...we leave 20 minutes for getting tennis shoes on for soccer and once they're on distract her quickly..the more she focuses in them the more she gets upset...

Oct 17, 2014
5 year old daughter, major issues with clothez
by: Anonymous

My daughter is 5 and since the age of 3 has had issues with everything not being right enough. Adjustable waist bands pulled so tight to the point of leaving marks on her hips. Shoes and socks are another issue we encounter every single school morning. We can't get the shoes tight enough and she only insists on wearing a certain pair of socks. When we attempt to help her, she bursts out in tears and the meltdown begins. There have been mornings I've had to send her to school to let them dress her. Her teachers assure me that once she is there, she is a wonderful, well behaved child. Everything has to fit snug, even her seatbelt. Our mornings are torture and I'm at a loss on what to do. She even tries on her clothes at the store and loves them. As soon as we get home and it's time to wear the clothes she picks out, there is always an issue and she refuses to wear any if then. She very sensitive and cries over little things. Trying to get her thoughts across upsets her to no end. It's breaking my heart. Where do I start to help her? Her other two sisters have none of these issues, so this is so foreign to me. Any and all help would be appreciated. I feel her self esteem is very low and I don't want to break her spirits anymore than they already are.

Sep 10, 2014
Sudden Onset of "SPD" or OCD
by: Anonymous

This could be PANS/PANDAS with an infection or virus based trigger. Google this autoimmune disorder. Your child may need antibiotics or high dose IVIg treatment.

Aug 27, 2014
Clothes for Picky Kids
by: Jorgesons

Jorgensons has clothes for children who are very picky about the way they feel. It's a small company run by a Mom and Dad who have had to deal with these issues.
Children who haven't been able to tolerate other clothes love these!
They have a line of tee shirts made of super soft bamboo rayon with flat seams and, of course, no tags in back. They do have a "fidget tag" at the hem in front that allows children to fidget discretely for some positive sensory input.
They also carry easy-to-fasten belts, seamless socks, and no-tie shoe laces.
See for their complete line.
And see for tips on sensory issues, parenting, and special needs.

Aug 21, 2014
Adult going through this
by: Anonymous

I am an adult who is dealing with this still to this day. This is not something just children 'go through'. It's an actual condition and I don't feel that it has been researched enough for anyone to really know about it. There are days when I can't get myself to put on my bra because I cannot stand the feeling of it. Cannot stand the feeling of anything touching me or being that close to my skin. You parents out there who said you aren't doing enough are making me sick. The only way to make your child comfortable is to either get a bigger size of all the clothes or to stretch the clothes. They do not want the clothes to be tight on them. They feel restricted. Get a shoe size on bigger and get a wide size. Try this and you will see a difference. Make sure all their clothes are extremely soft. If they are not this will cause aggravation as well. And make sure nothing shrinks.

Jul 17, 2014
11 yr old daugheekster hasn't left house in 8 w
by: Anonymous

My 11 year old daughter has always struggled with closing sensitivities - it's been like "Whack a Mole" - but 8 weeks ago she had a breakdown of sorts and refuses to wear underwear. She won't go out of the house without it on, and she won't put it on - so we are completely stuck.
She is also getting very depressed and struggles with anger and defiance daily.

We have had a few therapy sessions in the home (because she can't get out to appointments) - but she always agrees to try their suggestions when they are there, but won't when they leave.
I met with her psychiatrist yesterday who recommends that we get her to emerg by ambulance if she won't come with us, so that she can be admitted. She seems to be a very broken person, and yet there has been no trauma to have caused her to shut down like this. She missed the last 6 weeks of school and is now losing her summer too. She can't go anywhere! She won't go to the doctor in anything - we would have let her go without underwear - believe me! We are desperate and so concerned about leaving her at the hospital and what might happen to her there. Every single person I have read about seems to struggle with clothing in some way, but they still seem to get out of the house sometimes. My daughter has basically lost her life. We MUST get her some help!

Is there ANYONE who has gone through this severe a case? By the way - she has been diagnosed with OCD, not SPD - which doesn't really make sense to me!

May 27, 2014
problems with wearing shoes
by: Anonymous

My son is 5 years old and over the last few months its been a great ordeal getting him to get his shoes correct and socks to a point he has screaming tantrums.

It is also effecting him at school now saying his shoes are always to loose even though they wont go any tighter.

I can fasten them 10 times over but still doesn't make a difference.

I am know going to consult with our doctor to try and get him referred to see someone as it makes you feel you don't want to go out as the problem seems to get worse.

Apr 11, 2014
Shoes TIGHT....
by: Anonymous

Like the post below from March 14, ours likes her shoe laces very tight that she breaks the laces when trying to tie them, and she has to tie her shoes 4-5 times to get them tight enough. Before shoes, it was her car seat. The straps had to be so tight that we almost had to break them every time we put her in the car. Also like the post below, once she's "forgotten" about the shoes, it's all over (for the day). One trick is to get her talking about something she really loves...

Bizarre stuff, but it sounds very similar with a lot of these does seem to get better, though mine still has "bad" days, where she can't get those shoes and socks on. And we gave up on panties years ago....No reason to fight that battle, as no one can even tell.

Apr 11, 2014
you are not doing your best
by: damirah

You should try to go to different stores like childrens place that is about it try it

Mar 14, 2014
Socks & Shoes
by: Anonymous

My soon to be 6 year old daughter screams when putting her footwear on (say footwear because it's socks, boots, sneakers, sandals). Some mornings she's fine, puts them on without any issue, I never know which time she is going to have the meltdown. I try to get her to put her shoes on 20 minutes before we need to leave so there is enough time to address an issue. She needs the laces really tight but then can wear the 'ugg' like boot which is not a snug fit. She'll walk slowly to school as if there were cement in her shoes, but once she's there and with her friends it's as if there was not a problem at all. Thinking it's more of an attention thing as opposed to SPD, but really not sure, I'm about at the end of my rope with this. Suggestions?!?

Feb 23, 2014
We're over it...well enough
by: Anonymous

One thing we noticed with ours (which can help with YOUR anxiety over the clothes issue) is that even though they ONLY have 1-2 shirts and 1-2 pants or 1-2 socks they can wear, we quickly realized that our daughter ALWAYS WILL have 1-2 of everything she can wear. If one shirt is torn, or lost or becomes way, way too small, then suddenly, magically, she finds herself "able" to wear a different shirt. The upside of this is that if YOU can learn to deal with the fact that he/she is always wearing the same shirt or pants every day, then you can at least lose the stress over the possibility that one day you might wake up and find that there are NO clothes she can wear. That was always our fear--what might happen if she refused to get dressed at all.

Our daughter is now 10. She wears the same tiny sports shorts to school probably 3-4 days a week, even if its 23 degrees outside. She wears crocs to school every day, even though the official rule of the school is "no crocs, except on Mondays". (We spoke with the counselor, and she said to just let her wear them). However, she has gradually improved. She can wear socks and cleats to play soccer, although the first few years that involved 15-20 minutes of putting them on and taking them off repeatedly, sometimes crying/melting-down. She can and does occasionally put on a pair of soft-fabric long pants if it is 20 degrees outside. She doesn't melt down anymore, she just dresses herself. We encourage her to dress differently, and to accommodate us she will sometimes wear a different pair of shorts (actually identical, just different colors, but she swears they feel different). She's going to be fine...We decided it was very helpful to relieve HER anxiety over the clothes by just letting her wear what she may be slightly inappropriate, but even at her age of 10, none of the other kids have really seemed to notice. And I'm guessing when they do, she will adapt (as slightly as she can get away with).

Feb 19, 2014
by: Anonymous

I have a child with the same problems. But, He has gone into having OCD from NOT being able to passify his sensory problems. He still only wears 1 to 2 pairs of pants(cords) and only 1 shirt. His Anxiety levels are very high now too. I suggest getting some Anxiety help first cuz it seams if we went that route first maybe he wouldn't have gotten the OCD. Makes me so sad , It's a terrible thing to have get out of hand. Good luck to all who must deal with this issue. I hope they find real help for it soon!

Feb 04, 2014
kid hates sneakers and socks
by: Anonymous

Omg my kid is the same. He is 4 he fights about clothes underwear pants shirt but especially socks and shoes..he goes thru so many pairs and Crys about it kicks shoes and socks off..woo..tried bigger seem to be his favorite and most comfy..but every morning. Same fight with the clothes and he Crys and screams ..says noo I hate these I want other ones...he tryns on alot then gives up n has a tantrum glad to know others who are I the same situation .. im trying to get input to find out whats wrong exactly

Oct 01, 2013
Gifted Children
by: Anonymous

My daughter has been complaining for years about the way clothing feel on her. I just found out she is a gifted child, and this is common in gifted childered, its called Tactile sensitivity. Hope this helps

Sep 20, 2013
Catholic School
by: Anonymous

I posted a couple of years ago about our daughter who has very similar (almost opposite) problems. She wants everything TIGHT (not loose). She (now age 9) ties her shoes so tight she breaks the laces repeatedly. She could never have gone to Catholic school and worn a uniform, so I'm glad we didn't have to face that. Slowly, things have gotten much better. Instead of becoming feral and convulsive when she has to wear something she doesn't like, she tries it, again and again, sometimes with some success. She wont' wear long pants, but we just let her wear shorts in the winter. She doesnt' mind and we have figured out the fight just traumatizes her. All I can say is that she's not being "defiant" or "disobediant". We found that punishment or anger were 100% counterproductive. When she's upset about clothes, the thing that gets the best results is taking a break from it and hugging her and tickling her arms and legs (something she's loved since an infant, which also seems to be sensory related, but in a POSITIVE way). Things do gradually get better, as she develops better coping mechanisms, and as peer pressure slowly builds to dress a little more "conventionally". Ultimately however, you can't force someone into clothes that send them into have be flexible--she can't.

Sep 19, 2013
5 year old with same problem
by: Anonymous

My daughter has had issues with her clothes, shoes and hair since she was 2. It has come to a point now we're it is affecting her grades in school. She hates to wear socks and her shoes have to be a size bigger. All of her clothes has to be stretched out and at times even that doesn't help. The only shoes she tolerates are Cross. She goes to Catholic school and has to wear a uniform everyday. She hates it. I don't know what to do anymore. She's also being very defiant. I have no idea if it all correlates in some way. Have had a parent/teacher conference already because of her behavior. Please, any suggestions on how to help my little girl?

Jun 11, 2013
AdHd Mood Disorder
by: Anonymous

My daughter was recently diagnosed with AdHd, but I had known since she was 2years old that throwing shoes at me wasn't normal.

Everyone kept telling me she was fine and that she would grow out of it, but a mother knows when there is something wrong. Trust your instincts single moms and dads especially. You have to be sensitive and open that there might be something wrong.

She is now 8 years old and finally on grade level.
She has started turning her own socks inside out as a self-comforting method. She still screams about shoes. I had to donate all the ones that I didn't want her to wear when she was at school. If she doesn't see it, she won't know its missing.
I have taken parenting classes for how to manage a special needs child.

She started wearing a body suit to help with the feel of her pants and she cuts the tags out of everything herself.

I can relate to so many of the parents. My little girl has been in behavior therapy and started 10mg of adderol. Things are getting better little by little.

I am finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Her underwear still bothers her, and her socks, and her shoes, and her pants, and her shirts don't do what she wants them to do, but the tantrums get less and less.

Dec 29, 2012
Can't stand how the clothes feel!
by: Anonymous

Problems with clothes...
-younger yrs would only wear one pair of underwear and pants, very obsessive had to burn them to change to new ones.
-had to wear cheer shorts under all pants to "feel right".
-puberty changes in body, disgusted, need to hide changes, felt like wrapped in sarah wrap.
-thick seams are not tolerated, so jeans are not worn unless broken in and then never washed unless absolutely necessary.
-can't leave the house some days because clothes aren't comfortable. When not comfortable become extremely agitated and anxiety that skyrockets.
-And other problems, OCD (doubting thoughts, its "not right", shouldn't look like this thoughts) and body dysmorphic symptoms.
Anyone else experience these issues?

Dec 28, 2012
Adult with clothing issues
by: Sherry

I am a 59 yr old female and I have always had some problems not feeling physically comfortable; but it seems to have gotten quite a bit worse lately.

Has anyone else heard of this condition in adults. I know my granddaughter has had some problems with this; but is much better now. She is 11.

I need some ideas for adults.


Dec 20, 2012
I have been a terrible mother
by: Anonymous

I don't know wether to laugh or cry. My 11 year old has been unable to get ready for school since preschool. I have been known to discipline her for not getting ready and throwing such a fuss over her clothes. If it were not for a random woman at a Christmas party last week I would have never even looked in to this behavior as anything but devience on my daughter's part. On the weekends and in the summer she is fine-no problems with clothes. The minute school starts everything hurts and we are late due to full on meltdowns 3 times a week. I used to take her nearly naked to daycare because she could not get dressed. Now I am reading that noises and sound may be a trigger and I am thinking I have a form of this as well. Is this something that can be part of family history? We have to look very hard when shopping for only the softest clothes with barely any many mornings we have both been in tears not understanding 'why' the clothes hurt. Now, where to go from here?

Dec 06, 2012
Growing up I had a severe case of SPD
by: Jessica Ball

During my childhood I suffered a horrible case of SPD, I was so hypersensitive to touch that I was potty trained by 9 months because I could not stand wearing a wet diaper. I was constantly stripping my clothes everywhere I went and my parents were accused of sexually abusing me because of this. I could not stand having my hair brushed and my poneytails always bothered me. When I was in 1st grade my mom sent me to school with 2 poneytails and I came home with one, during school I had cu one off because they felt uneven and it bothered me. I could not stand wearing shoes because I always felt that one shoe was tighter than the other so I was constantly readjusting them and it never seemed to help. I remember one time my mom took my family roller blading and the entire time we were there I was fidgeting with my skates because they never felt right and it bothered me so much. I went to catholic schools and could not stand the feeling of my uniform so I had to be measured and have special uniforms made for me, they were really soft so that helped a little. There was only one type of underwear that I would wear and they were silk, one year when I was little the company was shutting down, and my mom wrote them several times because she was desperate to keep ordering from them since that was the only kind I could bear to wear but they never responded. Alot of the time I had to be taken out of school early because fighting with my clothes would get so severe and my mom is a nurse and would leave work to get me and have to take me back to work with her, where I would lay naked on a bathroom floor crying because I could still feel the clothes on me even after I took them off. My mom spent alot of time and money and stress and tears trying to figure out what was wrong with me, we went to therapists, physiatrist, she tried "brushing" me which is a therapy they suggested, medication, everything and nothing worked.

Thankfully I have learned how to cope with it as time went on and I am doing well. I still have a little trouble with clothing sometimes but it is very mild. SPD is just something that I had to get use to and I hope it works out for everyone the way it worked out for me.
The only thing I suggest for children who have this is Silk or seamless clothing.
Dress as comfortable as possible, soft fabrics and shoes that mimic slippers.
You can only do so much to help these kids but as time goes on it will get better


Dec 05, 2012
Soften her clothes with salt water
by: Anonymous

Ou can try softening her clothing first. Soak her new clothes in 2 quarts of water with 1/2 cup of salt for 24-48 hours and then wash on gentle cycle. This will give them that vintage feel. My daughter used to hate the feel of new shorts and socks. This worked out well for her. I've even tried it with some of my shirts and am happy with the results

Jul 27, 2012
There are options
by: Anonymous

There is an awesome clothing line that will really help!! Made for kids with tactile sensitivities, organic, made in usa and women owned and operated.

Mar 20, 2012
to the 10 year old girl who posted pbelow
by: Anonymous

To the 10 year old girl, please talk your mom and dad, or to a teacher you like. It is important to get help and not get stuck in a situation to make you feel bad. This will get better if you get some help. It will all be ok.

Feb 29, 2012
clothes bother me
by: Anonymous

I am an 10 year old girl and clothes bother me and I was wearing almost the same clothes everyday people would talk about me I would just cry so please what should I do.

Jan 04, 2012
this may help
by: Anonymous

my daughter needs a ot.She goes to early childhood center nassau boces in levetown.before she started it was a fight to get her dressed.she is having an issue with her tights they are a little bump on the sides.

Nov 29, 2011
it gets better
by: Anonymous

I have 5 children and 3 of them have or had issues with all items they wear.My second girl had clothes issues.She refused to wear anything that was to close to her body.Especially underwear.It got to the point where we couldnt push her any further.She only wore loose stretchy pants,no underwear,seamless socks,and boots that were bigger than they should be.Shirts could never be passed down because she would stretch them so far out they would rip in the arm pits or around the neck. This started when she 1 years old.She is now 13 with no issues anymore.She even wears underwear and jeans!Not that mother nature gave her much of a choice, but she wears them now and they do not bother her.My 4th,a son,cannot handle certain smells, he will literally throw up, even in restaurants or stores.We carry a water bottle at all times which seems to help.

He also will only wear athletic pants underwear are a chore and on weekends wont wear underwear,just pants.His shirts are always oversized and short sleeved.We were lucky enough to find a sock that he will wear.Thinner socks always seemed to work the best,not thick socks.He wears his shoes out fast because he barely ties them,but at least he wears them.He is getting better.My last child and a boy also has started also with the clothe issues about a year ago.He is now 6.He has trouble with all clothing, school mornings are awful.He cannot stand the feel of clothes being on his skin at all.He will wear seamless socks on good days,and only boots.His pants are a size to big and hemmed so he does not step on them or pull them down.His shirts are always bigger than they should be.One thing I have learned from all of the kids is that they may go to school wrinkled, but I put there clothes on before they go to bed.

Most of the time it works but not always.Or I have them wear them for awhile before bed and tell them this what they are wearing the next day and we fold it up and put it on the table for school the next day.It can drain you beyond belief mentally.But I now know as I see with the older ones that it gets better as they get older.I have come to learn that they may not match, they may get picked on, but if they are happy and comfortable they are able to concentrate at school better.Some days are always harder, or I have to help them think of something else while they are getting dressed.I give them something to do that seems exciting to them so they will get dressed without thinking right before the bus comes.Like walking the dog because she wants you to walk her to the river quick before the bus comes.If you want your dollar to spend tonight we have to take the garbage out quick (even if its not garbage day) which sometimes helps but sometimes it doesnt.

My other children have grown out of most of it so hopefully this helps, it does get better.A lot of patience,hair pulling on our part,and love. Because our children are our life.

Nov 16, 2011
Clothing Issues
by: Dad

Our 7 year old daughter has had similar issues to the ones described here from the age of about 2...always hated shoes (and to this day will only wear crocs, always hated socks (and to this day will only put them on for the time it takes to play one soccer game), will NEVER wear long pants, and will only wear three pairs of panties (which are size 4 and she's had and worn since she was 4 years old). Shirts are "relatively" easy--she'll wear short sleeved, soft, slightly over-sized T-shirts, but not long sleeved shirts. Fortunately, we've found ONE coat that she will wear...otherwise, she'd wear crocs, shorts and a T-shirt even if it's 15 degrees and snowing.

She also seems to always want the sensation of pressure. She LOVES hugs, snuggling, and having her arms and legs softly tickled (not enough to make her laugh). Most pants and shorts, she claims, are "too loose". She always says they are falling off when, in fact, they are appropriately sized. She used to cry and scream that the straps on her car seat were "not tight enough", and when she moved to a booster, she always demanded that we "pull the seatbelt TIGHTER!!!" No matter how hard we'd pull it, it wasn't enough....the trick was to hold it in place, very tight against her body, for some time (maybe 30 secs to 1 minute), then very gradually release the pressure. When she's already upset, agitated, or tired, it takes longer before she concludes its' okay. Similarly, even today when she wears regular tennis shoes (only for soccer games), we have to tie the shoes 4-6 times, each time trying to pull the laces TIGHTER!! When she doesn't feel it's tight enough, she kids her legs, flails her arms, cries/screams, and begins's almost like a seizure. We did OT for about 1 1/2 years, and it may have helped her with some basic skills (balance, etc.), it did little or nothing for her clothing issues.

We live day by day with this...often on weekends, we stay inside all day long because she doesn't want to get dressed, and won't wear anything except her pajamas (no panties), which she wears inside out. Occasionally we capitulate and let her wear her pajama shorts (inside out again) to go out to the store or even to eat. (Sometimes she agrees to wear a soft skirt over the pajama shorts).

I would love to hear from some of the other parents who mention some of the similar characteristics to our daughter (for example, those requiring "tight" clothes, etc.)...

Aug 27, 2011
Maybe this will help with the pants issue?
by: Anonymous

I would make sure his pants fit and I wouldn't let him wear the pants with drawstrings for fear of him doing bodily damage, and honestly if old enough to understand explain why I was taking those pants out of his wardrobe. Sounds like he may have fear of them falling down and maybe getting embarrassed. I hope it gets better soon for you, my son is finally wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts!!! Yay, we use to wear only long sleeves and sweat pants and during summer would have to hide clothes!! Hope this helps , and wish you the best of luck with dealing with the clothes!

Aug 27, 2011
My 7 year old son
by: Anonymous

My son 7 year old has always had slight issues with the socks and shoes but recently the severe problem has become his pants. They all feel "weird." Everything has to have a drawstring or belt loops so that he can pull it sooo tight that it is painful for me to watch. He is now in the second grade (first week of school) and every morning has been a nightmare. I don't know what to do and my husband and I are at a loss. What we don't understand is how it became sooo extreme sooo quickly. We aren't sure how to handle him when he refuses to leave the house. Do we punish? Do we coddle?? Please help.

I appreciate any advice.


Feb 16, 2011
Two Girls With Clothing Issues
by: Mom of Two

I have two daughters - 4 an 6. The six year old would not wear shoes for the first 4 1/2 years of her life. She only wore Robeez (soft moccasins). This was great in snow. Then she only wore crocs. She ended up playing soccer in crocs instead of cleats because she would have a major melt-down if you put any other shoes on her. She refused to wear coats - or gloves and people - especially old people would comment all the time. For two years she only wore sweat pants. We went through a naked phase (a long one) and well, we went through a pink only phase too. Luckily for me when she went to school and teachers would put on her tennis shoes for me and she adjusted. Now she actually looks normal when she goes to school - jeans, tennis shoes - wow - never thought it would happen. Still very sensitive to hair brushing - I have to use baby shampoo, conditioner and spray on detangler - but the hairdresser can do stuff and she dosn;t say anything.

Kid #2, now 4 - going through a naked phase. The only clothes I can get on her are snug fitting leggings and shirts what fit snuggly. Loose fitting clothes drive her up a wall. One big tip - if I put lotion on her before I dress her the clothes and lotion bond together a little and she adjusts better than just clothing on skin contact. Luckily no shoe problem with her. Took a while to find the "right" clothes that she liked.

Anyway, kid #1 had really big issues and they seem to have subsided (after 6 years) so good luck everyone and sometimes they do get over it!

Feb 15, 2011
How to deal with SPD, some days just have a sense of humor!
by: Anonymous

My daughter was about a year old or maybe a little younger, when I started having problems getting her to stay dressed in certain clothes. Luckily for me, I was already familiar to SPD because of my sons, and believe it or not, my mom. Didn't know what it was till my middle son came along, growing up got quite used to my mom not liking certain fabrics, not wanting hugs or touches. My older son acted like my siblings and mom and wasn't that severe, then my middle came along and o my goodness, from the get go with him, we had issues with him screaming all the time. Had no clue, called it colic and went on. As we got older it seemed to be worse but he was nonverbal for so long, due to autism, which we also didn't know at the time. He stayed naked or well almost most of the time, my other son preferred to be that way, so didn't bother me, then came time to go to school. O my goodness, I hated mornings till I was asked to see a behaval specialaist and he was diagnosed with SPD and started seeing an OT!!! It has made a world of difference! There are ll some things he don't like, for instance tall or tight socks, but my other SPD child is a tall sock child. It takes time to learn what they like and don't, and school shopping can be a pain! Thrift stores are wonderful because the clothes are inexpensive and if he doesn't like something I buy, then I just redonate or give it to someone else!! I learned to just give ourselves a few extra minutes in the morning and relax. Some days they just aren't going to match! LOL

Apr 13, 2009
Compression Clothing update
by: Dan Whitaker

Just an update on our study. Wonderful comments are coming in now. The clothing is "soft as a cloud", feels "like I'm naked", yet the wearer feels "like I'm getting a hug" all the time. The less verbal have made it known that they like these suits too. "suit....suit....suit" little Maia says. Other kids carry the clothing wrapped around their hands and arms even if they're not wearing them.

I'm sure we can't solve every clothing problem, but so far the feedback has been completely positive. Soft is excellent, but we've added the benefit of compression, wicking away perspiration, tagless, and much more!

Please visit my site and get a suit for your child (or adult). The material we use is far better than anything you'll find at retail stores and costs a little more as a result, but it is well worth it. Thank you! Dan

Mar 25, 2009
some hope on the horizon?
by: Anonymous

Hey, My son has tactile defensiveness--we are patiently awaiting the launch of this company: Soft! It's designed by a mom and a special educator--produced by a dad of a child with Autism. They are doing everything seamless, tagless, organic, etc...

Mar 24, 2009
Handling this emotionally.

My daughter is 7. She was diagnosed with tactile defensiveness at 3 1/2. I wish that I began this affirmation at the beginning. I have recently begun saying to myself and occasionally to my daughter, "I love you. I accept you. And you are beautiful." While we as parents naturally get frustrated with our kiddos, we have to remember that they did not ask to be this way. And that they are doing their best to cope with daily life and stress just as we are. If they know that you accept them no matter how they feel, then those times when you feel like blowing up can be turned into a moment of peace.

I tell my daughter that "It's okay to feel bad, but it's not okay to fuss. We will try again (another shirt or sock) until we find something that feels right." Try the affirmation and see if it helps you and your child. There is nothing worse for a child than feeling uncomfortable and having a parent resent them for that feeling. Much Luck!

Mar 20, 2009
Compression Clothing
by: Dan Whitaker

I have a Naturalistic Descriptive Study being done at this time with our new Compression Clothing line for people on the Spectrum. So far, the results are really amazing, even for many who aren't Tactile or Sensory challenged. Please, please see my website for all the information.

I'm getting feedback from so many moms, doctors, and others with sweet stories about the calm, focus, relaxation these kids are getting from these clothes. Wearable therapy; certainly not a "cure", but does make life better for the child and the family! Thanks! Dan Whitaker...303-641-6635

Dec 14, 2008
Relieved to know I'm not alone!
by: TAH

I got online this morning to search for some sort of answer to my five year old daughter's symptoms.

1. socks and shoes on and off at least a dozen
times - minimum of 30 minutes
2. clothes don't feel good ever... especially
in the car, she complains about her
underwear or the seams in her pants, etc.
3. she doesn't like her hair pulled up
4. she seems more and more frustrated and fussy
5. also, she continuously complains that her
feet are achy

The socks and shoes issue started when she was probably around 3. Until reading this page, I was completely oblivious to the invention of seamless socks. I have looked everywhere but never thought to look online. In your opinion, do the seamless socks help?

After reading the comments on this page, I realized that I wasn't crazy for being concerned. Not knowing what is wrong with her hurts me in a way only a parent can understand. I now realize that her behavior is something bigger than normal defiance. Any suggestions at all - to make mornings easier, to help me handle the situation in a way that is beneficial and not harmful to her - will be appreciated. Thanks.

Nov 20, 2008
Clothing Issues
by: Whitney

I have the same situation at home. My daughter is now 7 and this all started when she was 3. It may not have been evident earlier because I stayed home with her. She really struggles with underwear, pants, socks and shoes. After a year of O.T. work and psychologist we are having more better days than not. She keeps it all together all day at school but comes home like wild banshee.

Find an O.T. and get her evaluated before it continues to get worse. There are also some great books out there. I liked the RAISING A SENSORY SMART CHILD and THE OUT OF SYNC CHILD and THE OUT OF SYNC CHILD HAS FUN. An O.T. is the best for helping you know what direction your daughter needs help. I look forward to hearing an update.

Nov 18, 2008
I understand your pain!
by: EWG

This is about the age my daughter started to present signs of SPD but of course we had no clue what that was until about a year later. We just thought she was being extremely defiant. You can have an O.T. evaluate your daughter for SPD. I highly recommend that you do this sooner rather than later, than try to see if it is just a phase like I did. Sorry to say it, but it also sounds like you have the beginnings of some defiant behavior since she will put the pants on for the teacher. The defiance goes along with the tactile defensiveness.

Nov 15, 2008
by: Anonymous

Hello I have a 2 1/2 yr old who refuses to wear pants, socks, tennis shoes and will not let me brush her hair or teeth. We actually have to hold her down to get this done. As for getting dressed in the morning, she will only wear shorts and crocs and now its getting cold and she still refuses pants. (we've tried all kinds) It's the worse tantrum you have ever seen if i even try to put the pants on.

The weird thing is when she gets to daycare, and I leave she allows the teacher to put her pants on. So I don't know whats going on, I have never heard of SPD, how do I know she has it?? Any advice would help. Oh and she love to be naked at home too, most of the time she will wear just shorts and when in the car she ALWAYS takes her shirt off, then allows me to put it back on when we get to our destination.


Aug 28, 2008
Underwear and Socks
by: Whitney

I have bought my daughter the Hanes panties that are 95%cotton and 5%spandex. They don't have the rubbery waist band the waist band is enclosed in the material. I found these at Kohl's and they have helped for a while. If she is have a rough day then nothing really helps with getting clothes on but on good days these are working!! Socks that she has liked are the athletic brand at Walmart in the boys section. I had bought these for her brother and when she needed to wear them she said they worked better than her own. I notice that the seemed to be snug in the arch and the ankle. We have not found a solution for sneakers. Daily shoes for school are the canvas flats that are found in Walmart she typically wants them a size smaller. Sometimes when we think we have it figured out she changes on us. Anyone that wants to chat one on one can email

Aug 25, 2008
I feel like you are describing my child!
by: egumpman

I can fully relate to your child's clothing issues. My 6 year old daughter was diagnosed with SPD at 4 1/2 and we still struggle daily with underwear, she refuses to wear them with pants and when wearing dresses she barely has them covering her bottom. She still refuses to wear any kind of pants other than knit ones. We have been in O.T. for 1 1/2 years and she has improved but we still struggle daily. I too was dreading the start of school. My daughter had to be physically carried into school on the 2nd day as she refused to wear panties with shorts and once the school guidance counselor talked her into wearing them she apparently went into the bathroom and disposed of them! Our afternoons have been full of meltdowns. It is comforting to know that our child is not the only one that comes home and strips down once in the door.

If anyone has any suggestions for underwear choices, we tried ALOT of brands, I would love your imput.

Aug 25, 2008
You are not alone
by: amyk

I feel your pain. I have a four year old daughter also that does the exact same things. I am dreading school starting next week and have just posted a question about shoes and sock before I saw your post. I would love to chat with you more and pick each others brains for ideas and solutions.

I did shop for her this year and before I let her try anything on I put it in the dryer with tags attached with dryer sheets. That did make everything feel softer and more broke in. I returned what ever she didn't want. I had an aha moment break through with underwear. I bought every kind out there and brought them home, but she still wanted her old ones [2t-3t] which are still big. I inspected all of them side by side and found that the ones she favors have a very narrow crotch that does not bunch up. They are a name brand called wee essentials. Some of the newer ones [haynes: hannah montana} were almost 2 inches wider in the crotch which bunched up on her. I do keep her hair in a short bob for less tangles and ouches. I use some shine sirum on it first to help release the tangles and make the brush glide through the hair and that really helps.

As far as shoes and food we are still only eating dry cereal, poptarts and wearing flip flops all year round. You are not alone.
I hope for a better future with my daughter and one for you and yours

Apr 30, 2008
Excessive tight clothes
by: Whitney

Wow there really are other families out there going through what I go through. I thought my 6 year old was just my defiant child for years. She would go to get dressed for preschool and would be screaming and throwing tantrums about her clothes not feeling well. People would say "let her pick out her own clothes." I had been letting her pick out her own clothes long before this and she still had problems. And even with my background being in education I had not experienced this before and my pediatrician was not concerned unless she was OCD.

It wasn't until she went to kindergarten and would come home and completely melt down and take all of her clothes off did we truly see how miserable she was in her own skin. This year has been a struggle especially for us as parents to find information on it. We have started seeing an OT and doing the Brushing and Pressure and as much Sensory Diet as we can. I can see a difference when we do the activities.

She needs things to be excessively tight (jeans will cut into her hips and still not be tight enough). She has a favorite pair of velour pants and they have a thick waist band (it is tight but stretches because of the elastic). It is also a struggle for socks and shoes. When we find something that works, like the pants, we try our best to keep it clean. Sometimes it is the only way she can get dressed.

We have 3 other children and we have struggled with how misplaced she looks when we are dressed for church, but her happiness and comfortableness is much better than looking great. My recommendations are finding what they can handle wearing and then trying to accomodate to that as much as possible. Please let me know if you have come up with any new strategies.

Jan 04, 2008
Feeling your pain!
by: Kristin

Hi Debbie! I have an 8 yr old and a 5 yr old that suffer from SPD. Both cried when I brushed their hair. Try Goody's ouchless hairbrushes. They are a pretty good product and have taken SOME of the fussing away, but not all. You have to remember your daughter's nerve ending are on overtime! Try to be really aware of tags on clothing,... scratchy stitching around the neck and armholes... try to choose the softest fabrics. I relaize it is cold outside right now... I bought a cashmere duster sweater for my girls. It cost some, but it was more important to me to keep them warm and comfprtable.

If I think of other ideas, I'll let you know.

PS. When my girls are home, I simply put them in an oversized T-shirt without tags so they can run around and be comfy.

Hang in there!
Kristin (TX)

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