Children with autism can be described as being “in their own little world.” It is an oversimplification, for sure, but it makes you wonder what that world is like. For parents and advocates, the challenge becomes all about how our world can be modified to make life easier for these children. All sorts of gadgets and devices are certainly available, but what might manufacturers of clothes, toys and furniture have to contribute? With that level of input, the quest to bring the world of special needs children to life has become far more plausible.
Wolf + Friends is a lifestyle platform that curates the sort of products you can purchase all over the world in mainstream, upscale and independent retailers. The lifestyle it caters to just happens to be one shared by families of special needs children who simply wish to make more informed buying decisions. Products ranging from home décor to specialized toys and furniture are vetted by a team of parents, kids, childhood development specialists and special needs experts. Their goal is to not only educate families about shopping for special needs children but to remedy a gap in the market for parents of said children.
This special company is the brainchild of Carissa Tozzi, a brand consultant who reacted to the news that her son might have “sensory issues” by scouring therapy websites for products that might help her boy. She was not impressed. This was not the world she wanted for her son. It inspired her to create a space online where parents like her would have options that instilled a hope that a more comfortable world for their children was attainable. Eventually, the idea drew like-minded professionals and an inspirational platform of fashion and design for children age 10 and under was born.
While Tozzi and co. create a shopping experience that caters to the world of the special needs child, an obvious effort is still made to represent the desire to just be part of this one. All of the products would be appropriate for any child. Each item simply features an explanation of its developmental and therapeutic functions.
Tozzi is a self-professed Pinterest enthusiast and it shows. The site’s brilliant use of images, along with its well-maintained blog, reveals social media savviness and a modern sensibility. With the help of Wolf & Friends’ CEO Gena Mann, also the mother of a young child with autism, Tozzi continues to look for ways to incorporate children with disabilities into the wider community.