Learning to dress yourself is a big milestone and an important activity of daily living for children to master. Over the summer, we tend to have a more relaxed schedule with fewer deadlines and a little extra room to breathe, making it a perfect opportunity to begin to teach your child with autism how to dress themselves. As we approach the start of school, morning routines and schedules will be so much smoother as your child takes one more step towards independence.
ABA Therapy Methods to Help Your Child with Autism Learn to Dress Themselves
Children with autism can have a more difficult time mastering daily living skills, and at Innovative Behavior Options, we use the scientific approach of ABA therapy to help kids and adults with autism overcome challenges to learn these skills.
Set Your Child Up for Success
Any time we teach a new skill, we want to start small, and do the prep work that lays the groundwork for success. In this case, that means starting with an article of clothing that’s a little bit easier to master, such as a pair of shorts with an elastic waistband. Choose clothing that is sensory friendly (think soft, loose material with no tags) and appealing to your kiddo (maybe a favorite color or character). If your child is interested, consider letting them choose a pair of shorts or a piece of clothing to practice with – the extra buy-in never hurts!
Task Analysis and Chaining
Once you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time for the real learning to begin! In ABA therapy we use a technique called task analysis to break a task down into a number of smaller, simpler steps that a child can learn more easily. For putting on shorts, that might mean steps such as aligning them correctly, picking them up, stepping in with one foot (then the other), and pulling them up.
Once you’ve broken the task down into small steps, you can use chaining to begin teaching your child to move from one step to the next, slowly mastering the skill.
Use Visual Aids
As with so many activities of daily living, visual cues can be a valuable tool. Visual aids can be used to help a child remember each step of the process for getting dressed or even added to clothes to identify the front side of a shirt or shorts.
As parents, we love to see our children succeed, grow, and gain independence. As ABA therapists, we feel the same way! At IBO, our mission is to create individualized behavior programs that promote independence for our clients and their families. To learn more about how ABA therapy can help your child with autism, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org