The REAL link between Masks and Autism – SchoolMaskPack™

The REAL link between Masks and Autism

Photo Credit: Ourrobinsnest

Wind back to late 2019 and the world we knew was slowly starting to re-shape itself. What initially seemed innocuous, soon ground everything we knew to a halt and left us wondering, how on earth did all this happen?!

Fast-forward a few a months and we had a HUGE new problem to face; how do we protect everyone? After a quick brainstorm with some caffeine-fueled office elves, the Crayola mask hit floor as the front runner.

However, we soon realized the initial concept of an easy-clean 5-pack, with some funky patterns wasn't even close to the answer. It was a start, but it only touched on a tiny percent of the NEEDS of parents.

We had to think like a mom... Thankfully, we had A LOT of help! Parent's from all over the world flooded us with thousands of ideas for designs, colors, and styles. Every idea also had a pattern, they always led back to comfort and safety.

Parents found the 5-pack concept great for practicality, but it was only ever a bonus feature to their primary concern, "if they have to wear a mask, it has to be the best". That made us think; what would make a mask, the best?

We started to listen more carefully to the answers and look deeper at the reasons why. The 'what-they-want' answers were the easy ones, we just tick all the boxes, anti-fog, adjustable, 100% cotton, etc. The second part was a little more tricky...

The parent's who reached out, were doing so because they had children with sensory issues and were worried that they wouldn't adjust well to wearing masks.

This was invaluable, and also became the wire-frame to the Crayola masks you see today! If we can make them fun, practical, and importantly, sensory-friendly, we can try to make an already difficult situation, slightly better, for everyone.

We had a group of motivated moms and a platform to help! Here are 5 things on the Crayola Mask, you didn't know were designed to specifically help children with sensory difficulties:

  1. The Color Choice
  2. The Ear Design
  3. The Mask Design
  4. Matching comfort
  5. This mask belongs to...

Have a read through and let me know in the comments which of the features your child LOVES the most! OR, if you have any new ideas you'd like to see included in future developments, we'd love to hear about them!

The Color Choice

Photo Credit: Pink Salt and Sunshine

The idea of a multi-color pack was a request that came up many times. The primary reason being that parents needed an easy way to see clean from dirty. Other reasons included matching masks with different outfits, and also that it makes it all little more fun.

There was also another very noticeable reason too, parents wanted their child to be able to choose a mask depending on how feel. After a few follow up questions and a little more sleuthing, we finally got to the bottom of it, the requests came from parents of children who had sensory issues.

These parents were concerned that if they introduced their child to something out of routine, the request could become very distressing. Giving their child control of choice could give them the opportunity to positively reinforce their decision and make wearing a mask in the future less stressful.

We listened. The whole range was adapted to include different colors, and as a result, we also have a line designed by you! We asked a mom group with sensory-sensitive children for their children's favorite colors, we tallied-up the most popular 5 and this became the Cool Color range!

"We are so excited for our new face masks from @schoolmaskpack and they are super cute and come in fun designs and colors. They are comfortable and each pack comes with a washable laundry bag, masks for each day, and a calendar. One of my favorite things about the masks is that they are adjustable to fit your and your little ones needs."


The Ear Design

Photo Credit: Family Education

Our parental super-stars have given us some amazing feedback so far, so why stop at the 5-color mask set? Well, as I'm sure you have guessed already, we didn't!

One of the most frequent request from all the feedback we received, was to ensure any extra-sensitive ears were well looked after. This was particular high on the list of parents who had children with sensory issues.

To ensure we got this right, we re-visited a group of mega-moms that helped to design the 5-color concept and asked them guide us through their child's specific sensory needs. And it worked!

Now, as each child is unique, the goal wasn't to meet every need as some would naturally conflict with others, but to get enough information from the mommy super-squad to help us elicit the major pain-points and create a workable design to eliminate as much stress as possible.

As a result, all the adjustable beads, soft loops, and the CPSIA compliant bead-lock mechanism all came from the group's feedback! Most of our positive feedback comes from the unique design, comfort, and versatility of the ear loops.

Way to go mommy group!

"My favorite feature is the adjustable ear straps. That’s been our biggest struggle when Ryder needs to wear a mask and these fit AMAZING! My little sensory seeker actually is completely comfortable in these, so I feel safer now when I need to take him to a public place."


The Mask Design

Photo Credit: Laynee

This part got a little more tricky and was probably the most contentious. At the end of the day, we can't make a mask, without the mask itself, right? Something had to give...

The feedback was to create a mask which not only felt lightweight, but it needed to be easy to clean, made from natural fiber, and also cause the wearer the least amount of discomfort as possible.

For this, the topic of discussion focused on how it covered their face... and, oh boy... was that a discussion! There was a lot of very different opinions based on individual personal sensory experiences and how each had helped reduce stress for their child in the past.

Ultimately, a final mask had to be decided on. The result? A snug full-cover, 3D fit, with a nose clip to reduce fogging. The material, a wash-friendly, 2-layer, light and pure, 100% cotton.

The overwhelming feedback was to have a close-fitted mask to hug the contours and also prevent the spread of germs. This, combined with the mommy-designed ear loops proved a HUGE success.

We had the perfect mask! Now, let's get those other boxes ticked...

"I bought these masks for my son after our homemade ones broke. He is 6 and has a small face and these fit very well and were easy to adjust. They are comfortable for him which is very important because he has sensory concerns due to Autism. Now I hope they make more designs!"


Matching comfort

Photo Credit: Rattlesandpearls

Matching Mommy and Daddy's Double! This was more than just a cute alliteration thrown into the hat by the group... so they say...

Their feedback varied but remained on the whole consistent. Their own child seeing them wearing a mask could help positively reinforce the situation. A mommy-mask would also create key visual assistance to aid verbal communication and information.

Secondly, it could also help create a routine that they would both need to do together, a schedule for their daily mask selection. If the masks were to become a HUGE part of life, we needed to make the transition as seamless as possible and ultimately feel more so like an activity.

Initially, the Crayola mask concept was only intended for kids. However, after speaking with all the moms, we revised the range to include adults so anyone who wanted to match, could!

"My theme song lately is Drive by Incubus. “Whatever tomorrow brings I’ll be there..” ...with open arms and reliable facesmasks! @schoolmaskpack is easy to wear, care for and keep track of to help make masks less intimidating for daily use especially for our little ones. They are comfortable to wear and they have adjustable ear straps for children with sensory issues. Each pack includes a name tag to help keep track of you or your little ones masks and a tracker to keep track of use..."


This mask belongs to...

Photo Credit: Schoolmaskpack

Having a mask is great tool to keep you safer. However, it will only work if you want to wear it AND when you do, you are wearing your own mask.

This is a point our mommy group were very vocal about. They were a little concerned that since the mask is a new item, that it could be disassociated to them as a belonging and left. Alternatively, they could pick up another mask by accident.

The solution was fairly simple in the end. Firstly, a lanyard so they couldn't drop it, and secondly, name tags (so if they did) it would be easy to find the owner!

The say moms know best, and they certainly did! This great lanyard-mask combination has now benefited MILLIONS of children (and parents) across America.

"Absolutely love your masks. My son has sensory issues and will only wear the ones from Crayola, says they are the best ones!" - Maureen

"These masks fit my 3 yo and 5 yo perfectly! my 5 y/o has sensory issues and does not mind these masks at all. We get tons of compliments on them. Cutest ever!" - Lauren


Photo Credit: Pinhole Press

What a wild ride! What started as quick-launch project, soon turned into a huge development endeavor to create a perfect mask. And, we think we did it!

Since launching, over 8 MILLION Americans now wear Crayola. This is such an incredible testament to the dedication of moms!

Our most positive reviews and compliments have also come directly from the ideas our mommy-group gave during feedback. Their efforts to create a mask perfect for their babies, has in-turn helped millions of others.

The experience has also greatly inspired the company. Each development project since has centered on finding (and fixing) pain-points to make the lives of our customers better.

Do you have anything you know needs fixing? Feel free to Contact Us, we'd love to hear from you! Who knows, maybe you'll inspire the next, Crayola Mask!

Total mask solution and laundry bag

"My little sensory seeker is completely comfortable"

"My favorite feature is the adjustable ear straps. That’s been our biggest struggle when Ryder needs to wear a mask and these fit AMAZING! My little sensory seeker actually is completely comfortable in these, so I feel safer now when I need to take him to a public place."


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