Guest Author - Monica J. Foster
In 1993, Susan delivered her first born child, Ross Daniel Kleiman. As a surviving twin, he was born 11 weeks prematurely with multiple complications resulting from a lack of oxygen in utero. Ross suffered a stroke due to twin to twin transfusion syndrome. But that was only the beginning of Ross' journey for survival and Susan's initiation into the ranks as the parent of a child with special needs.
With a list of challenges, including cerebral palsy, a visual impairment, seizure disorder and cognitive delays, Susan had to gain a new set of skills to cope with the complexities of raising a child with multiple disabilities.
Ross is now 16 years old, and Susan has spent the past 15 years helping her son beat the odds through non-traditional therapies, education and socialization. Inspired by a need to find fashionable, comfortable and breathable socks for Ross’ ankle-foot orthotics, Susan launched Ross Daniel Adaptive Apparel in 2009 to bring much needed fun, stylish and comfortable clothing options to kids with disabilities who just want to be recognized for being kids.
Clothing manufacturers have overlooked a large and growing population. There are more than 20 million children and teens with disabilities. They deserve and require clothing and accessories that accommodate various quality of life issues that also celebrate their status as being youth.
Ross Daniel Adaptive Apparel's fashion philosophy, Susan says, "is what drives our business to provide clothing that is trendy, upbeat and unique, so young people who are physically challenged can creatively express themselves just like their mainstream peers."
In November 2009, Ross Daniel Adaptive Apparel's announced the launch of “Cool Clothes for Toes,” the first creatively styled sock line for children and teens who wear ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs). Their line debuted at the World Congress on Disabilities conference in Jacksonville, Florida.
This product holds a special place for Susan, because her now teenage son, Ross inspired the creation of the adaptive socks. “Ross is a 16 year old with special needs, and in my struggle to find him a sock that was comfortable, breathable and fashionable for a teenager, 'Cool Clothes' took hold, and I decided to form a company to help give people with physical challenges fashion and dignity," Susan said.
Browsing Ross Daniel Adaptive Apparel's online store at www.rdadaptiveapparel.com, shoppers will find adaptive socks with butterflies, argyle, peace signs, fashionably bright colors (like purple -- this editor's fave color) and much more.
A parent in New York, whose son is 11 and has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, ADHD and learning disabilities, said her son "has been wearing splints since before he could walk. I love the socks because they add some fun and style. I do not know how much longer he will let me put the braces on him so anything we can do to make it more fun is great."
“Cool Clothes for Toes” are made from 80% cotton and 20% nylon. They are seamless, machine washable, and breathable to reduce perspiration. Reasonably priced between $12.95 and $14.95, the socks range in size from medium stretch to large stretch for boys and girls. “Cool Clothes for Toes” are currently available on the RDAA website at www.rdadaptiveapparel.com.
Site visitors may also visit the site's blog at PossAbilitiesBlog.com, as well as catch Ross Daniel Adaptive Apparel on Facebook (Ross Daniel) and Twitter @RDAAinc.