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How to Get Started?

  • Get our children involved and do a talk about what you and they are doing, name a body part and sing while modeling or teaching them the steps.

  • Do it by sitting in a stable and comfortable position either sitting on a chair or on the floor depending on how easy they can reach their feet and keep their feet supported while wearing clothes.

  • It also can be done in standing position but ensure that the support balance is enough to avoid them from falling with them standing against a wall for better support.

  • Make it easy and convenient to avoid them from getting frustrated and escape from the training. Start with easy steps such as getting undressed and use loose clothes.

  • Give them plenty of time for the training, not too short or long time for each step to let them explore and learn the steps and to avoid them from getting frustrated if it is too long for them to get it done.

  • Keep the training and routine consistent. Written down or use pictures as visuals prompt our children in memorizing the steps while training or practicing.

  • Praise (“good job”, '' well done”, etc.) and reward (hug, kiss and hi-5 and gift of what they like such as cookies or toys). Should gradually decrease the reward system to avoid them from depending on the system.

Skills Needed for Dressing Activities

To develop dressing skills, there are some skills needed to get mastered first for our children. The skills involve as followed:

  • Motor skills: ability to move their limbs and body in a full range of motion where this needs muscle strength and flexibility.

  • Coordination: ability to have coordinated movements by using one arm and both arms as well as need to control their hand movement involves fine motor skills (fastening buttons).

  • Fine motor skills: ability in reaching, grasping, and releasing objects in completing tasks include holding the clothes or buttoning.

  • Perception: ability to understand sizes of clothes and arm holes and shapes of buttons.

  • Stereognosis: ability to feel their way without depending on sight such as finding arm holes or fastening buttons behind at the back.

  • Balance: ability to balance themselves while changing in sitting and standing position with both eyes open and closed.

  • Body schema: ability to tell right from left and difference between legs and arms.

(Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, 2011)

Ways of Learning Dressing & Undressing Skills

  • Identify various body parts and tell right from left activity.

  • Pick up clothes from the wardrobe. Use a picture to represent the clothes and get them to pick up the clothes in the picture from the wardrobe.

  • Musical dressing up (a variation of musical chairs): children need to put on clothes from a pile until the music stops, the winner will have the most clothes on.

  • Dressing dolls give good practice opportunities (Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, 2011).

  • Backward chaining. It is implemented as we start the task and the learner (children) complete the last step of the task, then gradually add the previous step one by one once they successfully complete the step after.

Step to follow: Putting on a T-shirt

  1. Let your child pull their t-shirt down from their shoulders after you have helped them put their arms in the sleeves.

  2. Let your child put one arm in the T-shirt after you have helped with the other arm.

  3. Let your child put both arms in the T-shirt after you have pulled it over their head and neck.

  4. Let your child pull the T-shirt down their neck to shoulders after you have put it on their head.

  5. Let your child put the T-shirt on their head and complete all steps themselves.

Step to follow: Taking off a T-shirt

  1. Let your child remove the T-shirt from their head.

  2. Let your child remove T-shirt from their neck.

  3. Let your child remove T-shirt with one arm in and one arm out.

  4. Let your child remove the T-shirt with one arm in and one arm half out.

  5. Let your child remove the T-shirt with both arms in and T-shirt pulled up to shoulders.

  6. Let your child remove the T-shirt.

(Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, 2021)

  • Forward chaining. This technique needs us to teach the learner (children) to complete the first step of the taskonly initially. Then, once they can complete the first step independently, the second step is needed to be includedtogether with the first step and continues by adding the steps once they complete the previous steps independently (Najdowski, 2017).

Other Dressing Activities:

Fastenings (buttons, zippers, straps, poppers)

  • Start with and use easy and more convenient tasks and fastenings. Unfastening then fastening. Put fastenings in front of our children (on a table, hanging) not on them. Use bigger fastenings then moving onto smaller ones. Attach a key ring or curtain ring to the zip to aid grip.

  • Use button boards, cloth buttons or popper books as practice.

  • Posting coins activity. Using a pincer (finger and thumb) grip to post coins into a money box will help develop pre-button skills.

  • Tweezer or tongs activity to develop strength in their fingers to grasp and pinch.

Putting on Socks & Shoes

  • Foot massage or walking on various surfaces (grass, concrete, etc.) barefooted for our children. It may increase awareness of feet as a preparation for putting on shoes and socks and tying shoelaces.

  • Start with easy socks: take them off practice, use sport tubular socks then those with a heel, use wellies, slippers and slip-on shoes and snickers or shoes.

  • Matching sock game.

  • Prompt your child to use their “magic thumbs” to help pull the socks on. i.e., isolating their thumbs to get them under the socks to pull up.

  • Roll down the top of the sock to make it easier to get the foot in. Use a loop on the back of the sock for the child to hold as they pull them up.

  • On the inside of the shoes, mark the inside of each piece of footwear with indelible ink/sticker. The child can then place these two marks together to ensure that the correct foot is inserted into each shoe.

Tying Shoelaces

  • Start practice on a table in front of the children then practice on themselves. Practice on them while sitting down or kneeling.

  • Threading activities.

  • Complete lacing activities using lacing boards to develop fine motor skills such as grip, release, and eye-hand coordination.

  • A shoe shaped piece of card or shoe box with holes in can be used to practise lacing and tying shoes. * Backward chaining. It is implemented as we start the task and the learner (children) complete the last step of the task, then gradually add the previous step one by one once they successfully complete the step after.

Steps to follow: Making a knot

  1. Let your child take hold of the laces, one in each hand, then cross the laces over.

  2. Where the lace has crossed, let your child to hold this in one hand.

  3. Let your child pass the upper lace under the lower lace, through the hole, in a toe to heel direction.

  4. Let your child to grasp the end of each lace and pull tight to the side.

  5. Repeating these steps will help to hold the lace firm so that the bow can be tied more tightly.

Step to follow: Making the bow

  1. Let your child to make a loop with one of the laces. Make sure some of the lace is kept out of the loop.

  2. Let your child to make a second loop with the other lace.

  3. Let your child to cross the two loops over always keeping hold of the loops.

  4. Let your child to hold the loops in one hand keeping this hand still for the rest of the procedure.

  5. With the other hand, let your child to post the loop through as you did when tying the lace.

  6. Let your child to pull the end of the loops to make the lace tight.

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