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

No comments:

Post a Comment