Solution Name: Training to Assist with Dressing
Every step of dressing requires fine motor skill development. When fine motor skills are the problem area behind decreased independence in self-dressing, it is helpful to build the individuals skills and strengthen fine motor. Individuals can be provided with many repetitions of self-care skills in environments where dressing tasks are happening naturally. Being able to dress independently, requires many steps and motor skills.
Gross Grasp Activities: (Strengthen Fine Motor)
Squeeze spray bottles
Cut resistive materials with scissors
Knead dough, playdoh, clay
Use a hole punch
Solutions to assist with dressing:
If an individual has deficits in gross motor skills that are affecting independent dressing, the following are recommended:
Try completing the dressing skills in different positions. Laying on the floor on the back or side may be easier for some individuals. If the individual is unable to maintain his/her balance, try sitting in a corner or on a bench. If minimal support is needed in standing provide a grab bar or a chair for the individual to hold onto while completing the dressing routine.
If the individual has one side of the body weaker or tighter than the other, dress that side first. If undressing, remove the weaker/ tighter side last.
If the individual has decreased balance and/or postural control choose easy on and easy off clothing whenever possible such as elastic shorts, elastic pants or shirts without buttons.
For motor planning and/or body awareness deficits, lay the clothes out in the proper order and direction for the individual. Make sure all the clothes are turned right side out.
Reduce visual and auditory distractions. Individuals need to visually focus on their body parts and clothing to dress independently. Provide verbal reminders if needed. Try to use the same wording on each step by step direction for consistency. As the individual becomes more independent, reduce the verbal cues until they can be discontinued completely.