AdobeStock 87284052School uniforms and ET

With only weeks to go until it’s ‘back to school’ and the start of a new term, parents and children will be looking to buy a new school uniform and clothes for PE.

For people who suffer from essential tremor this may not be such a simple task. In some children, the tremor may worsen upon performance tasks. Hand tremor may cause difficulties with dressing, and find that certain clothes are difficult to put on with fiddley buttons and laces that are hard to tie. At school with other children around this may cause embarrassment.  

However, by accepting lifestyle adaptations and focusing on what your child you can do, will enable them to continue to complete everyday activities and enhance their enjoyment and quality of life. 

It is advisable to ensure teachers are aware of your condition and you may need to make modifications to your school uniform.

We have come up with our suggestions to help choosing a school uniform and dressing.

Getting ready for school

  1. Get them to sit down to dress their lower half first, especially putting on trousers, socks and shoes
  2. Experiment with other positions for dressing, for example lying down to put on trousers.
  3. A dressing stick and button hook can help with getting clothes on and fastening buttons. Use t-shirts and jumpers instead of shirts and blouses as much as possible if fastening buttons is a problem.
  4. A ‘reacher’ or pick-up stick is useful for picking clothes up, or pulling up and removing underwear or trousers.
  5. If your child has difficulty getting your coat on, try sewing a loop with tape or ribbon inside the armhole you find hard to reach as this may make it easier to lift onto their shoulder.

School uniform

  1. School ties can be elasticated to avoid having to keep tying them.
  2. Fiddly zips and buttons can be replaced with Velcro® for easy fastening (Velcro® is best washed with both surfaces stuck together to prevent them picking up fluff and losing their stick).
  3. Front-fastening garments, such as dresses, are easier than those that fasten at the back.
  4. School trousers can be bought with elasticated waists. Stretchy materials are easier to get on and take off. 
  5. If your child is required to wear a shirt, they may have option of wearing a plain white T-shirt instead.
  6. If your child uses a wheelchair try to have smooth materials to sit on, avoiding pleats that may cause pressure sores. Breathable fabrics such as cotton are also advisable to minimise the risk of sweating caused by the plastic seat of many wheelchairs.

Shoes

  1. Slip-on shoes, or shoes with elasticated sides or ‘tongues’ or with zips are easy to get on.
  2. Elastic shoelaces are available and much easier than conventional laces that may become untied.
  3. Sock and stocking aids are available to help with putting these on and with removal.