Management of personal hygiene is a very important skill for all children to learn in order to grow and develop independence.
Daily Activities as Part of a Routine
Model How to do it
Show the children how to do it – brush your teeth before and whilst the child is brushing their teeth to show how it is done. Wash your hands to show the child how to wash theirs. Always have a set of your own equipment ready to model! Children can learn a lot faster by seeing you do it.
Use Visual Support
Here is a visual lesson-starter I made for an introductory lesson on washing armpits and using deodorant. Each picture is a slide on ‘Powerpoint’.
I either modelled the steps (I modelled washing my armpits by wearing a vest and using a large bowl and flannel) or acted out (I definitely couldn’t model being in the bath!). I then printed it and made it into a ‘Social Story’ book that the children could look at another time.
Visual supports to aid the structure of an activity can be very helpful for a child with autism; in understanding what is expected, in setting a routine and knowing when the activity has finished. Here is an example of visual structure for putting shoes and clothing on just before leaving home to go to school.
I know a child who currently uses the below resource independently (moving the symbol to the red side when he has completed the task). A few months ago, his parents were both physically helping him and having to verbally prompt him to do each of these steps. He has now learnt to do this independently and the whole process takes less time! Brilliant result!