Teaching Self-Care Skills to Children with Autism | Stuck Series Part 4

The fourth area where people get stuck is self care. In this five-part stuck series, I want to talk about the five areas that I see parents and professionals get the most stuck. In Part 1 I talked about assessing language when a child is nonvocal. Part 2 was about teaching receptive language skills, and Part 3 was about teaching a child who is not conversational to be conversational. The goal of this five-part series is to help parents and professionals to feel less stuck by giving them tips on how to move forward. Today it’s all about self-care skills.

What Is Self-Care?

This could mean not making progress with toilet training or hand washing or showering independently, or cutting their food at meals and using utensils. Any of those things. I talk about helping children and clients with self-care in another blog post about daily activities. This blog is helpful for teaching self-care skills such as hand washing and putting shoes on and tying shoes. It’s important to teach these self-care skills step by step, for instance with tying shoes.

Why Self-Care Skills Are Important

I remember when Lucas was young, he was diagnosed with moderate-severe autism. I also brought him to a psychologist at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia around the same time. And that psychologist diagnosed him back to back with the developmental pediatrician as having PDD-NOS, which is not even a thing anymore. (Note: The DSM-5 combined the separate subtypes of autism, which included PDD-NOS, into Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The psychologist was doing more testing, like IQ testing, and Lucas had always scored below 70 which means that he had been diagnosed with an intellectual disability, too. And I remember back when he was three and four being worried about his IQ and worried about his programming at the table and those sorts of things.

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I remember the psychologist really giving me good advice. She said, don’t just focus on table time activities because a lot of his ability in life and a lot of his IQ scores will be based on self-care. So, the higher your self-care is – for instance if you are four and potty trained, or you’re five and not potty trained – will have a significant effect on your IQ. I am a big proponent of table time as well, as I have found that  the quicker we can get children or clients sitting at a table to learn, the better they will do. We start out with short bursts and many reinforcements and work our way up. We want to focus on self care as well as table time activities.

Get Help With Self Care Skills

It will also have a significant effect on your placement at school and on your ability to be included with others in the home and community, too. So, not focusing on self-care is another area where people get stuck. And this again needs systematic instruction, which I provide in my online course. For example, I actually show videos of kids teaching them to dress.

I have a very discreet video of my son and his showering routine within my paid online course. I’m a registered nurse and a behavior analyst and a mom, so I understand how to teach these self-care activities, which are just so, so important no matter what the age of your child is. 

Depending on your role and the age of your child or client, I offer three different free workshops to help with all five areas you may get stuck.

Turn Autism Around for Parents and Early Intervention Professionals of children ages 1-4

Autism ABA Help for Parents of children ages 5-21

Autism Professionals Verbal Behavior Bundle for BCBA’s, teachers, OTs, SLP’s, and more.

These workshops will help you to better help your child or clients with their self-care skills. I want to help you and your child turn autism around. Consider attending one of my free workshops to determine if they are right for you and your children or clients.

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Transcript

This is part four of our video blog series on how to get kids unstuck. Part four covers when you are stuck with a child who’s not making progress with self care or independence with, with skills. So this could mean not making progress with toilet training or hand washing or showering independently or cutting their food at meals and using utensils. Any of those things. Um, you’re going to want to tune in to see what I have to say about getting unstuck with self care skills. Hi, I’m Dr. Mary Barbera, autism mom, Board Certified Behavior Analyst and bestselling author of The Verbal Behavior Approach. Each week I provide you with some of my ideas about turning autism around. This video blog is going to be a short excerpt about an area where parents and professionals get stuck and see little progress and I’m going to provide some tips on how to get unstuck.

The fourth area is, where people get stuck is self care. Um, I remember when Lucas was young, he, uh, was diagnosed with moderate severe autism. I also brought him to a psychologist at children’s hospital around the same time. And that psychologist, uh, diagnosed him back to back with the, with the developmental pediatrician, the psychologist diagnosed Lucas with PDD-NOS, which is not even a thing anymore. Um, but I was like, how could you know a month apart, she be doing, and she was doing more testing, um, IQ testing, which Lucas has always been below 70. So, you know, we’ve done a subsequent IQ tests and they’ve always been below 70, which means that he has a diagnosis of intellectual disability too. And I remember back when he was three and four and worried about his IQ and, and uh, worried about his programming at the table and those sorts of things.

And I remember the psychologist really giving me good advice. She said, you know, don’t just focus on table time activities because a lot of his ability in life and a lot of his IQ scores like the Vineland for instances in a, uh, an assessment on mostly self care and, or a lot of self care. And it is basically gives you an IQ score. So the higher your self care is, if you are four and potty trained for instance, or you’re five and not potty trained, that will have a, that’ll have a significant effect on your IQ. It will also have a significant effect on your placement and on your um, ability to be included. So not focusing on self care is another area where people get stuck. And this again needs systematic instruction, um, which, which I provide in my online course. I actually show videos of kids, teaching them to dress.

I have a very, uh, you know, um, a discreet video of my son with, within his showering routine within my paid online course. So, so I understand I’m a registered nurse and a behavior analyst and a mom and I understand how to teach these self care activities, which are just so, so important no matter what the age of your child is. I hope you enjoyed that video blog. If you did, I’d love it if you would leave me a comment and share this video with anyone who could benefit and to attend a free workshop where you can learn how to get unstuck, attend marybarbera.com/workshop for more information. I hope to see you right here next week.

 

 

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