April is Autism Awareness Month & April 2 is Autism Awareness Day. Easterseals Southern California has teamed with socially conscious lifestyle brand Rafi Nova, pioneer of the clear Smile Face Mask, to develop Sensory Friendly Face Masks to benefit children and adults with autism and other disabilities or anyone who finds wearing a conventional mask uncomfortable.
Did you know?
- About one-in-54 children has been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- About one-in-six children aged 3–17 years (17%) were diagnosed with a developmental disability as reported by parents, during a study period of 2009-2017. These included autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, blindness and cerebral palsy, among others. The Autism Society
For individuals with autism and other sensory processing challenges or disabilities, mask wearing can be difficult. A face covering introduces multiple new stimuli, including the fabric’s sensation, the pressure of tight elastic bands and the heat and moisture from breath inside the mask.
The premier New England mask maker partnered with ESSC to design a mask with reduced stimuli to address the concerns of people with sensory sensitivities, consulting more than a dozen of Easterseals’ therapists and other licensed and certified staff and working with people who receive services from ESSC, as well as their families and other community members. Over a three-month period, multiple prototypes were tested and revised to achieve a maximally beneficial mask—soft, structured, safe, secure—that provides both comfort and function.
Commented Dr. Paula Pompa-Craven, Psy.D., ESSC’s Chief Clinical Officer,
There’s little in the marketplace to accommodate people with sensory sensitivities. This soft mask is an outstanding option not only for the autism community, but for all children and adults who I believe will find it uniquely comfortable.
The Sensory-Friendly Mask retails for $14 (child sizes) and $16 (adults). Available in light blue, light pink, hunter green, black and “Over the Moon” (kids sizes only) at: https://rafinova.com/products/
A portion of each purchase will be donated to Easterseals Southern California when you use code: ESSC
Features of the Sensory Friendly Face Masks Include:
- Softness: 100% Mulberry silk lining reduces friction and adjustable jersey knit straps clasp behind the head instead of pinching the ears.
- Structured: Minimal design and limited seaming.
- Secure: Adjustable nose bridge ensures the perfect fit and decreases glasses fogging.
- Safe: Special construction lifts the mask off the mouth and highly breathable cotton is used on the exterior.
- Durability: The mask has an antibacterial layer and is reusable and machine washable
- Ease: A clasp on the back ensures ease of putting on and removal. When not on the face, the mask may safely remain on the person and not be lost thanks to an extra strap feature that fastens it behind the neck.
- Social Story: Comes with a visual storytelling designed by therapists that helps children understand mask-wearing necessity.
If you have or know anyone with sensory issues, send them over to https://rafinova.com/products/sensory-friendly-mask, to get one of these masks. While we don’t have sensory issues ourselves, we have used them and definitely find them extremely comfortable to wear. The lining especially is very nice and since they are constructed so that there is room between the mask and the face, it is much easier to talk and breathe. If you do decide to purchase, don’t forget to use the code ESSC, so Easterseals benefits.
For more than 100 years, Easterseals has been an indispensable resource for people with disabilities and their families. Each year more than 1.5 million people benefit from Easterseals services across a network of affiliates in communities nationwide. Easterseals makes profound and positive differences in people’s lives every day, helping them address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals so that they can live, learn, work and play in our communities.
For more information, visit: https://www.easterseals.com/southerncal