Families often say to us that it would be nice if their child could be more independent when they get dressed, or when they put their shoes on. These are tasks that ABA can help with, and that can be taught at home.
The best thing to do before you start teaching these skills is to think about exactly how you want to teach it. Where does the child get dressed in the morning? Will there be somewhere for the clothes to be laid out? Will the child have somewhere to sit when they put on their shoes?
Once you have answers to these questions, you can think specifically about how to teach the skill. As with other skills, it will need to be broken down into many smaller steps. For example, if teaching a child to put on a jumper it might look something like this:
Pick up the bottom of the jumper using two hands
- Lift the jumper
- Put jumper over head
- Pull jumper down
- Push head through the head hole
The way that it is taught will look different for every child
For example, some may find it easier to put the jumper on when the back is rolled up slightly. This will make it easier to distinguish which part to pick up.
When teaching a child to dress themselves, you can physically help them put the items on, and then, gradually fade the support you provide, until they are able to complete all of the steps without your help. If you have questions about how to do this, please get in touch with the link at the end of the blog.
When the child has completed the task, make sure that something really fun happens afterward so that it remains to be a fun task despite being a little difficult while they learn!
The main thing to remember is to teach one item of clothing at a time
Once the child is able to put on a jumper when asked to, and with no other support, you can then think about doing the same for the t-shirt, dress, trousers, hat, scarf etc etc
When the child is able to put each item of clothing on individually, you can teach them to put two items on, three items, four items, etc until they dress themselves independently after swimming or after getting out of the bath.
You can then think about teaching how to orientate the clothes so that they go on the correct way around. And then, of course, how to do up and undo buttons, belts, and zips, which colours go together, which clothes are worn in which weathers etc.
This is a very broad topic, so if you have questions about where to begin, how to fade support or how to teach subsequent skills, please do ask.