Thursday, June 28, 2012

“ I can dress myself” – how I’m teaching my special little guy to dress himself

I am NOT an expert.

I am NOT a therapist.

I am not even a “real” teacher per se.

I am just a mom.

Who happens to love sharing ways that I’m helping Trevy learn new things.  (if you’re curious about Trevy’s backstory click here)  I have a passion for encouraging moms (and dads) towards what I like to call “backyard therapy”.  You know, things we can do at home!  It makes me feel warm n’ fuzzy sharing and allows my heart to heal a little bit when another mommy tells me that she’s connecting with me.  So, you see, it’s purely selfish motives!

:: wink :: 

  Dressing himself has been a goal of mine for aaaaaages now.  Trevy is 5 and is still very mommy dependent with most things.  I need him to learn this life skill as much for himself as for me!  Because seriously…I hardly have time to dress my own self! 

We’ve worked on self awareness for a long time.  It’s in his IEP and among his ABA targets.  But no real curriculum here at home.  We’ve just done the regular mommy stuff.  Where’s your nose?  Touch your toes.  That sorta thing.  You’re probably already doing this – but I’ll share some ideas we’ve used to help build self awareness with Trevy.  Hint:  If you have a chewy kiddo like Trevy – make sure to only use small pieces with supervision!  I keep small pieces locked away in a Trevy proof closet.

We still do all of the above often…but now that Trevy can mostly identify key parts of his body and articles of clothing, it is time to get serious!  So I’ve created a tray (or workbox) that is more focused.  I like to say what we do is Montessori-ish.  I have the IKEA Trofast system in our school/therapy room.  The drawers are filled with a variety of activities but right now only 3 of them are being used consistently right now.  Speech Therapy…Movement Therapy and… 

I Can Dress Myself  


Inside this bin lives a doll with removable clothing, a mini book, a set of clothes for Trevy to put on himself and a visual schedule.


Trevy’s big sister helped me make this adorable mini-book by Your Therapy Source.  She’s such an AWESOME helper!  And I loooove projects where she can help me!  Click here to purchase your own copy or here if you’d like to read my review.  It’s a GREAT little e-book with lots of wonderful tips and advice!

We always read our mini book first.  For Trevy, snuggling in my lap and reading a book helps center him.  Which is just a fancy way of saying he’s less fidgety.

And then we might play with the doll.  Trevy really enjoys trying to put her clothes on himself!  He’s addicted to silly!


Next, we’ll use the visual schedule to either chat or if he’s interested, play a game of dress myself.

One of Trevy’s amazing home therapy friends created this visual schedule for him!

Everything is laminated (or as we like to say…Trevy proof). There are just 5 steps on this schedule. Trevy likes the number 5 right now…because it’s his age.  Underwear, pants, shirt, socks, shoes. The pictures have velcro on the back. This comes in handy because Trevy loooooves removing and replacing things which doubles as fine motor work!

I also love the laminated arrow. This has velcro too which lets us move the arrow down the schedule as we complete each task. SO fun!


A year ago, Trevy couldn’t even come close to dressing or undressing himself.  But we're making progress!


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