By Aura Altamiranda
Day-to-day, we engage in all kinds of activities—tasks so much a part of our routines, we run on auto-pilot and don’t give them a second thought, like eating or getting dressed in the morning. According to Bloomberg’s Nicole Ostrow, running on auto-pilot isn’t an option for more than 3.5 million Americans; this represents the approximate number of individuals who suffer from autism in the United States alone.
According to Autism Speaks, Autism Spectrum Disorder “(ASD) can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues…persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art.”
There’s no clear evidence of what causes autism, why varying degrees of the disorder exist, and there is no universal list of specific symptoms; only behavioral treatments and tools exist to improve quality of life. Former CNN anchor Lauren Thierry has lived with this knowledge for at least 17 years in caregiving for her own son, Liam. When Liam was 4 years old, she decided to leave her profession of 10 years and channel her efforts toward finding a way to somehow improve the his lifestyle and those of other children like him. She launched a clothing line that blends in with modern styles, creates more autonomy, and minimizes the difficulty among autistic children and families. Independency Day Clothing was created from Lauren’s vision and feedback provided by “500 middle-to-high income households having a family member with autism” as described on the Independence Day Clothing Facebook page.
Because children with autism often don’t have the necessary cognitive skills to perform regular tasks, these clothing items aim to significantly reduce the amount of time it takes them to get dressed. Often, a big challenge for families is guiding them rather than doing it for them and sometimes leads to clothes worn the wrong way; because of this, Lauren made sure the clothing is reversible and does not include seams and tags that can create additional distractions, hassle, and frustration for these children while getting them from point A to B on their first try. Lauren says this turns a 30-minute task into a 3-minute task. She tailored this line to achieve comfort, especially knowing that children with autism have a hard time with sensory and motor skills. The clothing also comes with optional GPS trackers as a safety measure for families—Lauren offers this feature acknowledging that caregiving is a 24/7 responsibility.
Lauren’s goal is to physically and mentally enable children with autism to be more independent, give them more control of their morning routine, and significantly save time.
Lauren is working on expanding her audience to include “kiddie and grown up sizes” along with more styles; for now, Independence Day clothing can be found on http://www.independencedayclothing.com/