Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Teaching Dressing Skills

If you have ever written a task analysis of putting on a blouse or tying shoes you know how difficult a skill dressing can be. Dressing is particularly difficult for student with fine or gross motor issues, visual impairment and/or cognitive challenges (particularly if they relate to sequencing, short term memory or problem solving).

Fortunately there are some free resources out there to teach dressing skills. CanChild at McMaster University in Canada has a free PDF download of a booklet to aid in teaching dressing using backwards chaining. Polyxo.com has a text based social story about dressing. University of Michigan offers tips for parents you can print and hand out.

Disabled Children's Village has a guide to teach dressing primarily for those working in third world countries, but interesting information for all. Texas schools has a four page guide book for teaching dressing to those who are deafblind. The Scottish government has put out a chart that lists seven stages of dressing, the skills needed to learn the next stage and suggested ways to teach those skills.

Higher functioning students may need to learn more about dressing for the weather and dressing appropriately for different situations. Integrating Minnesota has a lesson plan for dressing for the weather as does Exploring the Enviroment and Loundon Schools. Integrating Minnesota has another lesson plan for selecting outfits.

Dressing for the Weather is an online or free download game featuring Lecky the Alien and comes with a worksheet and lesson plan to match. BBC Wales also has a dress for the weather online game with the character Bobinogs from their children's television series.

Many of our students will need dressing aids such as those shown here at Rehabmart.

Pre-school and primary aged children may benefit from using teaching tools such as button boards, dress up doll and other toys designed to teach dressing. On PBS Kids children can dress Caillou for the Weather.

Older students can benefit from more age appropriate activities that teach dressing, including naturally occurring opportunities and activities like dressing a scarecrow for the fall festival or dressing a mannequin for a pre-vocational activity. You can pick up piles of old clothes with all sorts of fasteners at Goodwill, The Salvation Army and other thrift shops. These clothes can then be used to teach dressing in a more age appropriate way.

Montessori dressing frames
are another option to teach some dressing skills in a discrete trial or direct instruction manner. (Note: dressing frame prices can range from ten to fifty dollars each.) On-line Montessori Albums has a task analysis, lesson plan and alternative activities for each kind of dressing frame and Montessori World as a more simplified version with photos.

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