kids

The story of a little girl with autism and her dress that's gone around the world.

We could all do with a friend like Deborah Price.

Price, from Staffordshire in the United Kingdom, this week tweeted a photo of a dress with a rainbow heart on it, and a plea on behalf of a friend.

“Friend’s [daughter with autism] only wears this dress. Don’t judge,” she wrote.

“Sometimes people can’t cope with certain stuff and it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things does it.

“Question is has anyone got this @nextofficial dress from three years ago in age 11plus, and if so can we buy them off you?”

Price further explained in another tweet, “She’ll eventually grow out of her fascination with this dress or not. Who cares. Doesn’t matter. It would just give her and her mum a bit of breathing space and make the dress stress less.”

Hopeful that someone would be able to help them out, Price never expected the response she received. At the time of publication, the tweet had 200 responses, 3000 retweets, and has been liked almost 8000 times.

The comments were immediately filled with strangers wanting to assist in any way they could, whether it be to try to re-create the dress, or offering the dress in different sizes.

The manufacturer of the dress, Next Official, also responded, explaining it was no longer being made, but they would see if there was leftover fabric. They also invited Price to reach out to them privately.

There was enormous support from parents of children with similar experiences.

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“I have four [kids with autism], I absolutely know the horror of growing/wearing out favoured clothes. Good luck with the search,” one parent tweeted.

“It changes your world.” Waleed Aly discusses being the parent of a child with autism.

Video by The Project

Another wrote, “No reason to judge – fabrics and loved logos/pictures are v important can be grounding for some/vital to some on spectrum. My son finds uniform tricky and it impacts negatively.”

One parent shared that it’s “Great that the good people in the universe got together to make this happen”, because they had gone through a similar situation with their son with autism when he broke his beloved ‘crocodile man’ action figure, and they searched the internet to replace it.

Many of the comments were simply about how heartwarming the response to Price’s tweet was.

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“It’s like Twitter used to be before the hate,” one person commented.

“This was a lovely, lovely thing to read,” added another.

Just one day later, Price was able to tweet success – the dress, in the correct size, had been found.

“STOP THE CLOCK! A girl called Mila found her age 12 dress which will be perfect, ” she wrote, adding a photo of Mila holding up the rainbow dress.

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“I told the mum to tell Mila how kind she is, she’s given my friend some breathing space and made her daughter’s day too,” Price added.

“Not only that but she’s said I can share this story because I think it totally restores your faith in human nature.”

In her thanks to everyone who wanted to help, and all the other girls who had offered their clothes, Price also shared a photo of Elsie wearing her old rainbow dress.

“You’re amazing and your mums are pretty amazing too for raising such lovely daughters,” Price tweeted.

“But mostly you’re great because you’ve made a little girl really happy to continue to be in her favourite dress.”

Kate Bell, Price’s friend and the mother of Elsie who needed the dress, later tweeted her gratitude for all who worked together to give the search the visibility it needed.

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“Totally amazed at the kindness that has been shown on Twitter. Thank you so much…This was an incredibly kind act from my friend to help my daughter,” Bell wrote.

“It has made mine and Elsie’s life massively easier.”

The story is reminiscent of when in 2016, Tommee Tippee announced it would make 500 blue sippy cups they had previously discontinued, for a 14-year-old boy with autism, after they learnt it was the only thing he would drink from.

Nama Winston has had a decade-long legal career (paid), and a decade-long parenting career (unpaid). Now a Mamamia Contributor and freelance writer, Nama uses her past experience as a lawyer to discuss everything from politics, to parenting. You can follow her on Instagram: @namawinston and Facebook: @NamaWinston.

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