Therapists and families made inc kid happen
Therapy is part of our life.
Our therapists are an extension to our family. We talk about what they are eating for dinner, what their pets are called, and often talk about their kids.
Setting self dressing goals for ourselves, even before inc kid was born - were were consulting with our therapists on features for adaptive clothing for our own needs. Loops sewn into pants, chunky pulls on zips and the like. So it was a no brainer that our therapists would be involved in product development once we eventually took the dive into creating inc kid.
We began with our therapists providing input on what their clients families and kids needed to enable them to make dressing easier. What styles to design, materials to use, and which accessories like zippers, velcro or magnets we should use.
We thought it would also be important to chat to families directly too. And we are so glad they we did! Because we got some fantastic insight. Chunky handles ‘outside’ the pants on the waist band would be much easier for my son to pull pants up with, says one mum. We tested different enclosures in the openings on the legs - zips, velcro and magnets. There was pretty consistent feedback. Velcro is too hard to align. Magnets gets stuck to playground equipment (ouch!), washing machines and twist inside the seams. A preference for chunky zips with pulls to encourage autonomy was unanimous!
A team of Child First Therapy paediatric occupational therapists (OT's) led by Prue Nix were involved in the development process. Paediatric OT Kate says ‘All my kids have different abilities and I think its important to make sure there are different zip pulls to help with various abilities such as finger isolation and pincer grip’. As a result, we experimented with many different materials and pre-made plastic/ metal pulls. Some materials were too slippery, not wide enough, not chunky enough.. the list goes on. With this input, we quickly realised that we needed different solutions for different kids.
Paediatric physiotherapist Eliza, helped us define our styles. Treating many AFO wearing kids, she echoed the frustration of many families like ourselves who could not find pants, and especially jeans to fit AFOs. Eliza helped source the different types of denim - noting that it had to be extra soft and stretchy. And most importantly enable ease of movement. Thats where the drop crotch design came in. Serving a double purpose for kids who wear nappies. Many kids dislike wearing jeans because they can’t move freely in them. Movement is extra hard for little bodies with weak or tight muscles. This was a major factor in driving the design of our jeans. Eliza says ‘I’m really excited that my friends can now look cool, feel confident and be more independent thanks to the awesome features incorporated into inc kid clothes. There's nothing I love more than cool, adaptive kids clothing that helps kids dress themselves.’ Prue Nix, echoes this sentiment 'kids can really struggle to develop independence with dressing skills when clothes don’t accommodate their orthotics, prosthetics or reduced grasp and strength. It is great to see clothing that gives a solution to these challenges'.