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Self-Help Skills

Self-help skills are much easier to master if they are broken down into small steps and shown visually. Shown below are various ways that you can present the steps. Many of the methods below use velcro-backed cards and a "finished" or "all done" box. Students can place completed steps into the box, so that they feel a sense of accomplishment as each step is done.

How to Create a "Get Ready to Go" Strip and Associated Boxes

To help tame the chaos in the home environment when you are getting ready to go, you can create a "Time to Go" strip. You should also create matching pictures which are placed in the proper locations about the house. In the example below, the child must complete the following steps before leaving:

  • Go to the bathroom
  • Put on your socks
  • Put on your shoes
  • Put on your coat
  • Get in the car

These individual steps are cut out, laminated, and attached to a velcro strip. Another set of pictures is then created using the 20-card per page mode in Picture This... Leave a blank spot below each picture as shown in the example below.

Laminate each strip and attach a piece of velcro to the blank spot.    
You can then attach a small box to each strip. In our example, the clear box is made from a travel-size Qtip box.
Now place the strips with boxes in the appropriate locations around the house. For example, put the bathroom box in the bathroom, the socks box on the dresser drawer, and the shoes picture next to the front door.   

How the Strip Works

Now comes the exciting part -- Teaching your child to use the strip.

When it is time to go, hand him the strip with the step cards. Train him to go to the bathroom, then tear off the bathroom card.

He should place the card in the "All Done" box in the bathroom.  Next he should go to his dresser, put on his socks, and put the card in the box, etc.

Other Self-Help Ideas

You can make separate self-help booklets or step cards to address various self-help skills. Some examples are shown below.

These dressing books help to remind people what steps they need to take when getting ready in the morning.  These samples are spiral bound, however, you can easily create similar books using small photo albums.  The velcro strips on the bottom corners make it easier for someone with fine-motor difficulties to turn the pages.

Self-help skills and academic cards can also be placed on binder rings so that they can be carried around easily.
This hand washing strip was creating using a plastic name holder.
This dressing board was created using plastic holders found at any office supply store.
If you prefer magnets, you can print the photos directly onto magnetic paper, then stick them onto a magnetic board.
Independent Living Skills