Life skills, like making the bed and brushing teeth, are crucial for all children to learn at some point. Your special needs child may need some extra help with learning these different skills, though. How you go about the process can make a huge difference in how easy this is for your child.
Break Down Tasks Beforehand
Take the time before you try to start this process to break down the task you’re teaching your child. No matter what the task is, there’s likely to be a specific order in which it needs to be done, otherwise it’s not going to flow the way that it should. Talk to your child about how the task is broken down, too. Sometimes understanding why one step happens in front of another step can make a big difference.
Consider Using Visual Aids
Charts, graphs, and pictures can be really helpful for special needs children to understand and to remember how to perform a specific task. You might even want to use pictures of your child performing each stage of the task so that he can more fully relate to the visual aid. Make sure that you capture all of the different steps so that your child can refer to the aid when he isn’t certain what happens next.
Kids Need Prompts to Learn the Right Order
Especially in the very beginning of learning a specific task or skill, your child will do much better with prompts. You might want to try mirroring behavior, where you do the task first and then prompt your child to do the same thing. These prompts help your child to cement in his mind which steps happen at what stage of the process.
Gradually Back Away from the Prompts
As your child performs the task more often and can rely on visual aids and verbal prompts, you may be able to back away from physical prompts, mirroring, and even verbal prompts eventually. Your child will start to remember more about what the next step in the process is and won’t need as much help getting from one step to the next.
You can apply this process to just about any life skill you’re teaching to your special needs children. You might have to try some steps more often or for longer periods of time, but the basic process can stay pretty much the same. It can also help to work with occupational therapists and pediatric home health care aides when you run into issues.
If you or a loved one are considering Pediatric Home Health Care Services in Monroeville PA, please call and talk to the caring staff at Extended Family Care of Pittsburgh at (412) 693-6009. We will answer all of your questions.
Laura has earned her MBA in Health Care Administration from Canisius College, a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is currently a CPR/First Aid Instructor for the American Red Cross. Laura has sat on three Professional Advisory Committees throughout the community, has been on the Board of Directors for a non-profit nursing home, currently acts as an Advisory Board Member for the Allegheny County Respite Care Coalition, Gateway Health Plan, and the North Allegheny School District Elementary Advisory Council. She is also an active committee member of the Southwestern PA Partnership on Aging, Twilight Wish Foundation and Marshall Elementary Yearbook Committee.
Raising four active children with her husband Brian, she seems to spend more time on baseball and soccer fields than she does at home which helps her appreciate their family vacation time even more.