Back-to-school clothes shopping can be a headache. But for Jordan Fankhanel of Edmonton, Alta., it’s irritating from head to toe.
That’s because Jordan, 10, has sensory processing disorder (SPD), a condition that’s not clinically recognized as its own diagnosis but manifests as a hypersensitivity to certain textures.
Regardless of the weather, Jordan can only tolerate wearing soft, short-sleeved T-shirts and prefers Adidas pull-on athletic pants that don’t have buttons or zippers that dig in. He always wears his cotton socks inside out and loathes shirts and jackets that cover his arms.
His mother, Lori Fankhanel, typically brings home heaps of different clothing for him to try on, in the hope that he’ll find something that doesn’t scratch his skin.
“I’d say that, out of 100 per cent of the clothing that we buy, 98 goes back,” says Fankhanel, who is also founder and president of SPD Canada. “So once you find that two per cent, you go back and you buy every colour you possibly can.”
These days, however, Fankhanel may find that she and Jordan have a little more choice: Thanks to a small but increasing number of specialty companies, including Soft Clothing, Teres Kids and sock brand SmartKnitKIDS, children with sensitivities related to sensory processing disorder, autism and attention deficit disorder are being catered to in greater numbers and with greater (and handsomer) clothing options.