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Massachusetts-based accessories brand Rafi Nova has launched a sensory-friendly face mask designed for people with Autism and sensory sensitivities.
Made in partnership with Easterseals Southern California, a disability services and support organization located in Irvine, California, the mask was developed by therapists and tested by individuals with sensory processing issues.
“A face mask introduces new stimuli like texture, pressure and moisture and creates another barrier to social communication and connection,” said Rafi Nova CEO Marissa Goldstein in a press release. “Sensory sensitivity is an issue for many families and can present a challenge when it comes to children and mask-wearing. To ensure everyone can be masked, we created a style that reduces any additional stimuli and is both expert and wearer-approved.”
The result is a protective three-layer design with limited seaming and a soft Mulberry silk lining to minimize friction against the skin. It also features a breathable cotton exterior, adjustable jersey knit straps with clasps behind the head to prevent ears from getting pinched and an adjustable nose bridge for customizing the fit. (This tight seal can also help prevent glasses from fogging up.) What’s more, the mask can be lifted from the mouth for easy on and off access and even comes with a visual story guide for children to help them understand the necessity of wearing masks in public.
It’s available in sizes for kids aged 5 to 13, as well as for adults, and comes in four solid colors and a space-inspired print.
Rafi Nova is one of a handful of brands that offers sensory-friendly face masks, helping to create more options for people with sensory processing issues and encourage other labels to follow suit. According to the Autism Society, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the fastest-growing developmental disorder in the U.S., with more than 3.5 million individuals on the spectrum in America.
For each sensory-friendly mask sold, Rafi Nova will donate up to 25% of proceeds to Easterseals to support its work for individuals with disabilities.
Rafi Nova also carries a clear-paneled face mask called the “Smile Mask,” created for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Founded by husband and wife duo Marissa and Adam Goldstein, the brand specializes in colorful face masks, mask accessories, handbags and even a diaper mat. In addition to being sustainable, the brand stands by fair trade practices. Select products are made with textiles from skirts once worn by Hmong women in Southeast Asia and sourced from local Hmong artisans.