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Why Marks & Spencer’s adapted clothes range means so much

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To mark National Inclusion Week, Sky News has asked people from a range of backgrounds to explain why inclusivity is important.

Here, Sky News reporter Hannah Stott writes about how much it means to her that Marks and Spencer have just introduced a clothing range for children with disabilities – helping to bring 10-year-old son into the mainstream.

I had a spring in my step all day after seeing Marks and Spencer’s new “easy dressing” range for children with disabilities online. I really did, I actually felt elated.

The move by the major high street retailer brings children like my 10-year-old son into the mainstream. Only a little bit, but it’s a start.

The thing is, almost everything is harder to access for a person with disabilities.

The new M&S range has already proved popular online. Pic: Marks & Spencer
Image:
The new M&S range has already proved popular online. Pic: Marks & Spencer

First of all, you need to figure out what is needed in the first place. Then it needs to be sourced.

Hours of internet searching often leads to confusing websites or dead ends.

Once you do get somewhere, often representatives for products become involved – or occupational therapists when it comes to equipment.

So what a joy to go online and order my little boy, Curtis, some life-changing clothing with the click of a button.

I sound hysterical about this, I know, but we have to sow all his pyjamas together because he takes his clothes off at night and is still in nappies. Some pretty unpleasant scenes have awaited me in the past.

The bodysuit vests, normally available only to babies, are going to change the stitching together of clothes.

Curtis often has red marks from sitting for long periods while wearing a nappy. Now there are jeans with extra room to help that discomfort. Tops with Velcro at the back to aid the slipping on and off are also available.

Two other points worth noting here is the clothes are cute and – more importantly – inexpensive. Usually anything that is in any way adapted comes with a hefty price tag.

For the first time while online shopping, I was delighted to see products were out of stock or low in stock.

Retailers, take note. The world, take note. There are loads of us and we need you. We need good quality, nice stuff, easily and cheap!

With National Inclusion Week has come many important stories of people living outside of the norm and the hardships that goes with that.

Caring for a child or adult with disabilities comes with its obvious challenges – and the not so obvious.

A baby vest for a 10-year-old being a life changer perhaps is less obvious, but the everyday problem solving is very real.

And tonight Curtis doesn’t need to be zipped up into his PJs.

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