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Bras for Daughters with Disabilities
Advocates recommend a professional bra-fitting at a department store or specialty shop to girls and teens with disabilities, to help find an appropriate, well-fitted bra that matches the preferences of and lifestyle of the young woman who wants or needs one, and has features to accommodate physical challenges and personal issues. This can be a wonderful and exciting time for mothers, aunts and sisters supporting teens whose bodies are changing and developing into young women, and for those who encourage girls with disabilities eagerly anticipating crossing that threshold.
Some families of preteens girls with developmental disabilities prefer to shop for simple sports bras that are comfortable and easy to wear. Young women in their teen years often prefer a combination of styles that includes front closure bras that are more manageable for even for those who benefit from a Bra Angel or other aid that helps hold one end of a bra so it can be fastened using one hand.
There is as great diversity among young women with disabilities as among their mainstream peers in self-awareness and taste, so reliable advisors and trustworthy shopping companions may need to be recruited. Some mothers prefer that girls get used to wearing bras to encourage modesty and help their daughters to understand or report inappropriate touching. Others wait until their daughters express an interest or physically develop, or their classmates and girlfriends have started wearing bras. Girls deserve to enjoy childhood while they are children, and to enjoy growing up as they enter adolescence.
Transitions in emotional maturity often lag behind physical development. Asserting independence and seeking control over their own decisions are important developmental milestones for girls and teens and should be respected. However, media representations and advertising have a powerful influence on young people and their classmates. Parents may need to establish rules as well as bring in allies to counteract or moderate their daughters' impulses. Grandmothers may be invaluable, as they remind mothers of the decisions they made in early adolescence.
Having a multi-generational bra-fitting session can be a tremendous bonding experience, and result in two or three generations buying comfortable, appropriately-sized bras. Young women need to know that all women have unique bodies and it's natural to have different tastes. There is no guarantee that the same size in a different style or by a different manufacturer will fit, and we don't know what works until we try on what appeals to us.
New styles come out regularly, so women have the option of buying multiples of bras that fit, and also face the reality that our bodies change during adolescence and adulthood so those 'extras' may not fit when it is time for a replacement. Getting sized increases the likelihood that a bra ordered online or from a catalog will work, and some companies have better return polices.
Browse at your public library, local bookstore, or online retailer, for books like: Terri Couwenhoven's 'Teaching Children with Down Syndrome about Their Bodies, Boundaries, and Sexuality' and 'The Girls' Guide to Growing Up: Choices & Changes in the Tween Years'
Content copyright © 2015 by Pamela Wilson. All rights reserved.
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