How to teach kids with Autism to get dressed by themselves ?

For a kid with autism, Dressing up can be a daunting task.

  • They have to pick out their clothes.
  • They need to be able to assess the weather/season – to know what they should wear.
  • They need the fine motor skills to manipulate laces, buttons, and zippers.
  • They need to know the difference between the front and the back.
  • They need the coordination to slip on a shirt over their head.
  • And balance to put on their pants.
  • Know their left from their right to put on their shoes.

The simple act of putting on clothes, the daily thing we do without thinking twice about – has to be broken down into several steps for kids with Autism.

Start Backwards.

Before we start teaching how to get dressed, teach them how to undress first. Undressing is easier and feels like it gave the kids an understanding of the concept of getting dressed.

Associate Front and Back.

When helping the kid to dress himself, always show him the front and back of each item. Show him the tag or the wording, it’s easy for the kid to associate.

Keep clothes simple and comfortable.

The easier the clothes are to put on, the more likely your child will want to dress on their own. Buttons and zippers are things you should think about when buying clothes.

Begin when you have time.

Start teaching your child to dress himself on the weekends when we weren’t rushing out the door. Trying to have a teachable moment when under a time constraint is never a good idea.

Give them choices.

Ask your kid what they want to wear on days when we want them to get dressed independently. If the child likes what he’s going to wear, he’s more likely to put it on. It also allows him to feel in control and teaches him to make decisions.

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