08 February 2012

Achieving Everyday Milestones: Dressing and Undressing

Natan Gendelman D.O.M.P  |  www.healthinmotionrehab.com  |  www.enabledkids.ca

From a young age, children are taught essential life skills which become a part of their everyday function. For any parent, fostering this kind of independence is crucial because it motivates and encourages a child to strive for goals and personal development. However, teaching him how to perform these functions successfully can be challenging, as no two children will have the same personality or the exact same condition. In the case of a child with a neurological or developmental disorder, what he can and cannot do at his stage of development may affect how you teach him and what this may entail.

The Importance of Explanation

In the case of teaching your child how to dress and undress himself, how you demonstrate and explain the action to your child is very important. As one of the key factors in the process, you will need to teach a child everything from A to Z. If he does not know how his body functions, explain to him what the head, neck and other parts of are for. Using clothes that are easy to put on and remove, show him where each piece goes and what it used for before demonstrating how to put them on and take them off. Break each movement into small steps before combining them. Then, explain and repeat over and over again. Reinforcing and repeating each action will eventually help a child understand the goal of the action. Despite any difficulties you come across, keep in mind that for any child, the acquisition of new skills is something that happens one step at a time. Be patient, and know that your child will eventually begin to follow.


In this process, remember that your own attitude and mindset are crucial factors in your child’s success. Believe in what he can achieve. Changing thoughts such as “my child is disabled” and “he needs things done for him” to “my child is abled” and “he can do things” is an important step, because nothing can be built on disability and doubt. Rather than have him adapt to his condition, we want a child to overcome his difficulties and come to know how to function on his own. While it may take time, know that any achievements that you child makes will be worth it in the end. Dressing is just a small part of the daily routine which he will have to perform. Make sure you stay positive, and eventually you can show him how to do everything which you would like to become a part of his daily living.
In this way, dressing and undressing can become independent or close-to-independent activities which your child can perform on a day-to-day basis. By taking each challenge one step at a time, you will be able to see just how much your child can accomplish.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to message me or leave me a comment down below. I’d love to know: what are your experiences with teaching your child how to get dressed?

Additional Resources:

Dressing workbook by CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research

01 February 2012

The first steps to improving a child's drooling

By Natan Gendelman D.O.M.P | www.enabledkids.ca | www.healthinmotionrehab.com

For many parents of children with special needs, drooling is a common yet difficult issue to address. When a child is young, it is normal for him to drool as teething stimulates the glands in the mouth. However, drooling later on in life is a bigger problem which may occur due to several reasons including swallowing abnormalities, difficulty moving saliva to the back of the throat, and instability of the jaw. Depending on the cause, available treatments range from medications and surgeries to therapy and treatments. However, it is important to receive an ear, nose and throat examination and identify the cause before deciding on the best way to improve your child’s condition.
Among parents of children with neurological conditions however, many have the same question: how can I improve my child’s drooling without using surgery or medications? To be able to answer this, as mentioned in our previous article you can’t just look at and treat one aspect of your child’s condition. Whether it’s a child’s drooling, vision or limb function, these are issues which cannot be successfully treated without looking at the child’s general condition. From this overview, you will be able to see how an impairment in one area will inadvertently cause impairment in a child’s other functions. Without addressing these issues, a child may fall into a roller coaster of compensatory functions, which will then start snowballing into a series of more serious and complex problems affecting each part of his body.

The importance of trunk control

So what are the first steps to addressing this problem? It all starts with the trunk, which is the core of the body. When looking at ways to improve drooling, one of the first areas to check is whether the trunk has developed properly. With trunk control, a child is able to gain control of his neck, thereby leading to improvements in their facial expression and facial control. By reducing tension in the neck and face muscles, it improves a person’s control of his lips, tongue and drooling, opening the possibility for other treatments, like speech language pathology, to succeed.
For these reasons, it’s important to really look at the global picture of what is happening with your child. Teach him everything, and don’t just be stuck on improving his drooling, speech or hand movement. In taking this approach and going from a general to a more specific perspective, you’ll be able to better address your child’s needs and improvements.
If you have any questions, leave me a comment down below or feel free to email me. Thanks everyone!
So what are the first steps you have taken to improving a child’s drooling?

For more information, visit http://www.scope.org.uk/help-and-information/cerebral-palsy-and/drooling-and-cerebral-palsy