Autism-friendly kids’ clothes at Tesco 

National Autistic Society partners with Mattel and F&F Clothing on range of Thomas & Friends branded autism-friendly clothing for sale until April 29. 

Autistic people can often be sensitive to the feel and colour of materials, including their clothes. Some clothing is even painful to wear. A study conducted by the National Autistic Society in 2001 of 1,500 parents with autistic children under 16 found that the biggest considerations in choosing new clothes included factors such as easy dressing, pull-on clothes without labels or buttons, and with Velcro fastenings. 

Bright, colourful dress and t-shirts branded with Thomas & Friends

Photo courtesy of National Autistic Society

These factors have been incorporated into the new F&F Clothing range of soft fabric, loose-fitting T-shirts, jumpers and tracksuits aimed at autistic children aged 1-6. The clothes feature the popular Thomas & Friends brand, through a continuing partnership between rightsholder Mattel and the National Autistic Society. F&F Clothing will donate 5% of full retail price to the charity. 

The autism-friendly range is already on sale exclusively at F&F Clothing in selected branches of Tesco and will remain on sale until April 29. That means it will be available all through World Autism Acceptance Week, which runs from Tuesday, April 2. 

Peter Watt, Director of National Programmes at the National Autistic Society, says: ‘We are delighted to be partnering with Thomas & Friends™ and Tesco F&F to create such an important range of clothing for autistic children. 

‘Parents and autistic young people often tell us how sensory sensitivities can mean that autistic children struggle with certain clothes. For some, a label on a t-shirt, or a particular fabric could be incredibly itchy, distracting or even physically painful. Finding the right clothing can make shopping difficult, time consuming, and stressful. So, it’s really great to have the chance to develop this autism friendly collection.’ 

Claudia Caron, UK Marketing Manager of Thomas & Friends™, adds: ‘Thomas & Friends is an inclusive brand that invites all of our fans to celebrate friendship and teamwork. But, we are especially proud to be supporting our Thomas & Friends™ community of autistic fans and continuing a great partnership with the National Autistic Society and Tesco F&F to offer more choices and accessible clothing.’  

India Hyatt Mailes, from Brands and Licensing at F&F Clothing, says: ‘We here at F&F are really looking forward to launching this very special collaboration between the National Autistic Society and Thomas & Friends in line with World Autism Acceptance Week 2024. We have worked hard with Mattel and the National Autistic Society to bring to life a range of sensory friendly clothing encompassing all the much-loved Thomas & Friends characters. We have recognised the importance of ensuring all sensory elements have been considered for the range including no back neck labels, the removal of drawcords and super soft fabrics and prints.’ 

In related news:

Safety valve funding protects SEND in four more councils

Autism research doesn’t prioritise what autistic people want – new study 

Childline gets 40 calls a day from unhappy children


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