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Clothes, Sensory Experiences and Autism: Is Wearing the Right Fabric Important?

Kyriakou, Chrysovalanto, Forrester-Jones, Rachel, Triantafyllopoulou, Paraskevi (2021) Clothes, Sensory Experiences and Autism: Is Wearing the Right Fabric Important? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 53 (4). pp. 1495-1508. ISSN 0162-3257. E-ISSN 1573-3432. (doi:10.1007/s10803-021-05140-3) (KAR id:88016)


Tactile defensiveness in autistic individuals is the least investigated sensory modality. The current multi-component, explorative study aimed to understand the experiences of ten autistic adults regarding tactile defensiveness and fabrics, using semi-structured, one-to-one interviews. Participants were asked to discuss the effects of seven provided samples of fabrics and were also asked to bring their favorite fabric (s) and express their thoughts about their choices. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and Content Analysis, the findings showed that some fabrics can impact individuals’ reported wellbeing. Participants’ experiences with several stimuli appeared to have helped them implement coping strategies. By understanding tactile defensiveness, society could move towards increasing autism-friendly approaches with appropriate fabrics. Recommendations for future research, policy and practice are also discussed.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s10803-021-05140-3
Uncontrolled keywords: Autism; sensory differences; tactile defensiveness; fabrics; clothes
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Tizard
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Paraskevi Triantafyllopoulou
Date Deposited: 10 May 2021 15:12 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2023 13:57 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Forrester-Jones, Rachel.

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Triantafyllopoulou, Paraskevi.

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