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In 2018, it was estimated that around 357,000 Australian children aged 0–14 had some level of disability. That’s around 20 percent of people who have trouble dressing, finding clothes that fit, and owning their individual style.
Knox Gibson, aged 12, has experienced the challenge of dressing with ease since a debilitating accident at the tender age of three saw him lose an arm.
Knox, known as Captain Knoxie on Instagram, was in a tragic accident involving a lawn mower which resulted in his right arm being amputated below the elbow.
Now he wants other kids like him to know that there are ways to express yourself through fashion thanks to some pretty incredible adaptable fashion companies here in Australia.
At age three, Knox was at his grandparents place while his older brother and sister were at school.
Knox was helping his grandfather with the big lawn mower when tragedy struck and little Knox got stuck.
The horrific aftermath meant that Knox’s mum Kate and father Jack had to meet Knox at the hospital and make the difficult decision, as advised by their doctor, to have Knox’s arm amputated.
The devastating accident could have been so much worse, but fortunately the little boy’s boot actually saved his life by getting caught and stopping the wheel from doing any further damage.
Knox and his family consider themselves lucky the accident was not so much worse.
Kate says that there have been tough times of course but they’ve been lucky in many ways.
The positive family speaks how since Knox was so young simple tasks, like learning to write, he could learn using his left.
However for Knox getting dressed has been a particular struggle. Like any normal child, independence is gained through the act of dressing. For Knox as he grew older it was a task that was always a little bit of a challenge.
This remained a challenging task until the Gibson family was contacted by an online marketplace called EveryHuman that stocks adaptive clothing and works with brands to make adjustments to mainstream fashion which has greatly changed this difficulty.
While kids like Knox benefit from adaptive fashion, there is still a staggering figure requiring specialised clothing.
Mainstream fashion has historically been slow to address the needs of differently-abled people and children, but hopefully we are seeing change occur now. Adaptive fashion is specialised clothing that blends fashion and function to make getting dressed easier, pain-free, and convenient for differently-abled people.
“For Knox the shoes have been particularly good as he can’t do up shoelaces, so being able to slide them on makes them so easy!” says Kate.
Knox also struggles to do up buttons, so Kate has been looking into shirts that are easy to put on and that contain magnetic buttons.
Now having the ease of dressing himself with confidence has only added to Knox’s independence. Knox is a budding young athlete with a talent and passion for rugby and swimming. Before covid-19 Knox was swimming seven days a week whilst also balancing rep rugby and cricket.
Now his talent, strength and confidence in the pool or on the field matches Knox’s ability to dress!