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?
Dressing workbook by CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research