Self Care

IANDS - Advice For Parents - BISC - Introduction
It's important to develop self case skills early on in life as it promotes self esteem, confidence and a sense of achievement.
They promote adequate motor skill development in the long terms and children gain independence with these skills.
Before you start

Before you start

The PEO model (Law et al 1996) is a useful tool that can be used when problems arise. When problems arise, it is useful to explore three elements:

What are the skills of the child or young person? What are their abilities? What are their likes and dislikes? What is their motivation?
What is required? Can it be broken down into smaller steps? Is there anything that can be changed or adapted?
When and with who is the activity taking place?
Why is the young person struggling?

Why is the young person struggling?

  • Be a detective!!!!
  • Consider their current level of activity in a given task that she/he/they find difficult.
  • Consider what factors prevent the child or young person from doing the task (i.e., attention, motivation, lack of strength, poor sequencing, etc)
  • Involve the young person in problem solving
Keep the young person motivated

Keep the young person motivated

  • Reward systems: sticker charts, play with a favourite toy, positive adult attention such as praise.
  • Games: beat the clock races, count down
  • Involve the child or young person. Ask for their preferences and use motivators.

When praising your child, you can use the following techniques:
  • Be specific, breaking the task into steps e.g. “I like the way you held onto the bottom of your coat with two hands with thumbs on top”.
  • Social praise e.g. “Well done”, clap, cheer.
  • Shared successes e.g., talk about successes to significant people e.g., grandma, teacher.

How to support the child/young person with independence

1) Break down the task into easy steps using visuals

2) Lots of chances to practice:

  • Practice throughout the day, little and often
  • Use role models: practice when other people are doing the same (e.g., family meals, going to the toilet together)
  • Normal everyday contexts: putting on a coat and shoes to go outside, brushing teeth after a meal.
  • Give enough time to do it properly. Don’t rush to help or rush them.
  • Allow for mistakes – its an important part of learning!
  • Practice in a playful way. Show the child or young person how you can also get it wrong sometimes!

3) Give more time to complete the task

4) Use strategies that work for your child:

4) Use strategies that work for your child:

  • Use visual supports.
  • Books – about using the toilet, getting dressed, etc.
  • Toys – dressing dolls, dressing puzzles.
  • Imaginary play – dressing or feeding teddy.
  • Grade the task – start with chunky zips, big buttons, velcro, elasticated trousers.
  • Use words and songs to remember steps and actions e.g. Pinch, Push-Pull to fasten buttons
  • Backwards chaining – The adult begins the task with the child only completing the last step. Once your child can do the last step, teach the second to last step, etc. Gradually the does less and the child is able to do more of the task themselves.

5) Motivate your child to engage

6) Be persistent and patient

7) Consider the environment and equipment you can use to make the task easier

  • Can the child or young person perform the task better if they are sitting rather than standing?
  • If they are standing do they need to lean on something?
  • If they are sitting is the chair and table at the right height?
8) Consider how much support you provide and how you provide it:

8) Consider how much support you provide and how you provide it:

  • Verbal
  • Visual – pictures, images or modelling the task.
  • Physical support e.g. hand over hand
  • Fade the prompts used as the skill is mastered.
Equipment and Modifications

Equipment and Modifications

There is a range of adapted equipment and support you can get to support the child/young person:

Watch This

  • The following workshop goes through the above strategies and also provides some demonstrations of how you can support a child or young person with their independence skills.
  • This workshop is specifically aimed at teaching independence with self-care for the young child with autism.
Last updated11 Jul 2024
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