Often it can be challenging for children with special needs to learn the life skills to take care of themselves, such as hygiene. Although, talking to an occupational therapist about finding the best way to help is certainly recommended, there are also things that you can do at home to help your child see practicing hygiene as more than a chore. Here are some fun ways that you can teach your child hygiene skills.
Once you find a way to turn something into a game it can go a long way towards helping your child learn an activity. You can start by teaching vocabulary words related to hygiene by making matching cards or a simple bingo board. Something as simple as giving your child a fun way to familiarize themselves with personal grooming practices will make it seem less intimidating. You can also use toys and pretend games. Some children with sensory processing disorders might be more anxious about getting a haircut or going to the dentist. If this is the case for your child, then you could try a role-play game where you use toys to pretend to cut your child’s hair.
Another form of role play that works for older children is storytelling. You can create your own stories together or look up social stories online which cover specific topics, such as hygiene practices. Storytelling is a powerful tool to help your child mentally put themselves in a situation and work through it. You can incorporate problem-solving questions that can help them think about what they should do in real life. An easy example would be teaching when they should wash their hands. You can lead your child through a story about going through their daily routine and ask them to point out the appropriate times to wash their hands, such as before meals and after using the bathroom.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (202) 561-1110 (Washington, D.C. office) or (301) 577-4333 (Lanham office). Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.