Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Building Independence in Hygiene and Other Areas of Daily Living

As Abby eluded to in the previous post, hygiene skills, particularly as it relates to puberty can be hard for all adolescents and even more so for individuals with ASD. Taking Care of Myself by Mary Wrobel is a great resource for older children and adolescents on the spectrum. It breaks down topics in a simple, easy to use format. The book is intended to serve as a curriculum to teach individuals self-help skills, especially as they enter puberty. It is broken up into seven different units, which are:

* Hygiene
* Health
* Modesty
*Growth and Development
*Touching and Personal Safety, and
* Masturbation

The author uses stories written in first person to describe concepts in a straight forward fashion. Having said that, it is important to use this book only with individuals who are able to read the stories themselves. The vocabulary is intended to be simplistic, but I think this style also works very well for particularly bright students. She provides explanations on topics that we often don't think to explain, such as the purpose of bathing, using toilet paper, going to the doctor, and wearing deodorant. At the end of each unit, there is often a Question/Answer activity section to check for understanding and comprehension.

If you are a parent who is often unsure of how to bring up these topics with your child, check out this resource. It is easy to photo copy pages and discuss one topic at a time with your child without overwhelming him/her with too much unnecessary information. I have also used this resource many times with clients as a way to explain the purpose of hygiene and its importance. Oftentimes individuals need even more structure and support to promote independence in daily hygiene routines and we'll soon discuss specific systems to put into place to make toileting, showering, and other self help tasks more successful! Stay tuned!

- Molly

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