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Did you know that autism occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups?
After all, around 1 in 59 children get identified with an autism spectrum disorder. The estimates come from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network.
If your toddler has special needs, you might need to give them custom toddler shoes. It’s especially important when they have sensory issues like the aforementioned autism. It helps ensure maximum comfort while tailoring it to their needs.
So, how do you shop for shoes for kids with sensory issues? Read on and find out more today.
1. Find the Right Shoe Tightness
One of the most common foot problems occurs because a person wears the wrong shoe size.
When shopping for the right shoes, the first thing you need to look at is the tightness. Always consider buying loose-fitting sandals or something snug around the ankles. The latter is a better choice in most cases.
Depending on your toddler’s age, they might already have preferences on shoe types. There are times when your child might prefer high-top sneakers for the security it gives. Other times, your toddler might find the style too constrictive.
Allow your little one with special needs to take extra time. If they’re old enough, let them select and try on different styles at the shoe stores. That way, you can get them to pick one that gives them the feeling of security.
2. Desensitize the Feet
With Autism being a sensory disorder, you need to warm up their feet using a massage. A good alternative is to use a vibrating toy. Doing this before putting on the shoes or socks help desensitize the feet a bit.
3. Get the Right Pair of Socks First
The right socks will ensure that you get the right type of shoes for your child. The best type for children with sensory issues is seamless socks. The socks should feel soft to your kid’s feet while allowing free toe movement.
4. Choose Seam-Free Fabric Shoes
When trying shoes for your kid, you need to find a soft, seam-free shoe. In most cases, premium leather should be a good starting point. The shoe’s tongue should open wide, to ensure that your toddler gets the shoes on without pressing so much.
The shoes must be deep enough for your toddler. For maximum comfort, it should come with a round toe-box.
5. Elastic Heel Counter Is a Better Choice
Looking for a shoe that fits your special needs toddler? If so, stiff heel counters are out of the question. After all, it should have the means of giving good ankle support.
At the same time, it shouldn’t give too much contact or pressure on their feet.
6. Choose Lightweight Shoes
The shoes you should choose should be light and flexible, but avoid minimalist shoes. There are a lot of shoes out there that give the same flexibility but give more support. Otherwise, giving bulky and heavy shoes will make your toddler focus more on the shoes’ weight.
The more they pay attention to their shoes, the less they pay attention to anything else. That might put them in danger, especially when they’re walking around hallways.
If you need help with autism intervention, consider reaching out to APA therapy providers.
7. Choose the Right Size
It’s tempting to just buy your special needs child shoes with sizes bigger than their actual feet. But the fact of the matter is that there’s nothing wrong with spending a lot on toddler shoes. If you buy bigger shoes, you risk endangering their safety and impede their learning when they walk.
8. Choose Specialized Brands
Toddlers that have high sensitivity should stick to specific brands and shoe styles. As long as it’s comfortable and supportive, you can always rely on these to get your special needs child the shoes they need.
Here are some brand suggestions:
This brand’s design is for active lifestyles at any age—from infant sizes up to men’s size 17. For women, the size limit is at 12.
Most of the people trying this brand laud it for its supportive feeling. This comes without the stiffness usually seen in other, harder shoes.
This brand has stores across the entirety of North America. It’s one of the few brands that sells children’s shoes in sizes medium, wide, and extra wide. It caters from newborns to youth size 6.
These shoes’ purpose is to cater to early walkers. It supports the natural movement of your special needs kid while using eco-friendly materials. They have shoes for both newborns and children up to youth size 4.5.
9. Get the Right Orthopedic Shoes
There are a few brands that specialize in children orthopedic shoes. This will cater to children with various medical conditions. The materials on these shoes are flexible enough for accommodating custom orthotics.
Here are some examples:
These are custom orthopedic shoes for children that you can use as an alternative to orthoses. Each pair will take a few weeks to process. But the trade-off is the fact that it will fit your toddler’s precise measurements.
The Healthy Feet Store
This brand designs shoes for different medical conditions. They have pediatric post-operative shoes and sneakers that fit custom orthotics. The store also gives you a lot of resources for foot health products and socks.
10. Get Shoes That Work with Ankle-Foot Orthosis (AFO)
Children with AFOs should buy shoes a few sizes larger than their actual feet size. This ensures that the AFO fits without any issues inside the shoe. The shoes customized for AFO use should be wide enough without being too long.
Get Custom Toddler Shoes Today!
Getting special shoes for kids is much easier now. The main reason is the fact that companies are more inclusive of their products. If you’re not sure what to look for in custom toddler shoes, use this guide to help you get a better idea regarding what to buy.
But you shouldn’t stop here. We have a plethora of other useful guides. Check out this post and learn how to pick the best socks for sports.