Meet Malachi Rucker – the 11-year-old who devised an ingenious fashion hack to help those dealing with autism and sensory processing disorders. Malachi is fed up with being bullied because of his autism and sensory processing disorder.
At age 3, he was diagnosed with autism and had to face numerous challenges, including difficulties in certain environments and heightened sensitivity towards textures and fabrics.Â
Unfortunately, this made him an easy target for bullies in middle school. Malachi was bullied because of his emotional responses to triggers in the environment, which often made him overwhelmed and prone to meltdowns.
Malachi’s struggle with Bullies
The bullies took advantage of this and continued to torment him, making his school experience a nightmare. For those unfamiliar with what happens to students with SPD, when a child is bullied, oftentimes they may lean towards their hood, take their shirt to cover their ears, or act out as a defense mechanism.
The problem is, the hood are made of fabric that triggers them, and the feeling of their clothing against their skin can be even more distracting. Perhaps the fabric is too soft, causing them to feel every tag or seam irritating their skin. These sensory sensitivities issues are quite problematic for autistic children.
Instead of feeling defeated, he took charge and came up with a solution to help not only himself but others struggling with similar conditions.Â It all started a year ago when Malachi had the genius idea to create a clothing line specifically designed for individuals with SPD and autism. He named it Divergent Clothing and its main feature is the hoodie.
Rucker stated in an interview that the older he got in school, the more he resented being made fun of for his fidgets and comfort clothing.
He was looking towards creating a solution that allow him to feel confident & be able to soothe himself in public.Â His genius fashion hack involves a specially designed hoodie that has fleece lining on the inside and strings to play with. This allows for discreet self-soothing and provides a calming sensory experience for the wearer.
Not to mention, these hoodies are of high-quality Pima cotton – soft and breathable, making them perfect for all-day wear. And with the added option of customizing with chenille or logo patches, customers can truly make their hoodie unique to their style and personality. Additionally, the “support your sensory seeker” option offers a sense of inclusivity and support for those who may not be sensory-seeking themselves but want to show their support and love for someone who is. One can access the hoodies Malachi’s website, DivergentClothingCo.com.
Illinois Autism Center
Apart from sensory accommodation channels such as Malachi’s, organizations like Illinois Autism Center are also working towards creating a more awareness on Autism and proper treatment options.
IAC offers services such as behavioral intervention to help those struggling with autism and other developmental disabilities.