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Motor Problems: Dressing

  • Ask your child to sit down on the floor or on a small chair to put on their underclothes, pants, socks and shoes /boots so that they remain steady and avoid having to hold on to something to keep their balance on one foot.
  • Pay attention to the type of clothing. Choose sweaters and undershirts that have something drawn on the front (logo, picture, etc.) so that they can determine which way to put it on. Select socks that have a different colour at the heel. Put a sticker on their shoes that can help them distinguish the left shoe from the right one.
  • Start the task and let your child complete it. For example, put their sweater over their head and one arm through a sleeve, and let them put the other arm through the other sleeve.
  • If your child is able to put on one clothing item at a time, but is unable to put them on in a logical pattern (trouble putting on pants after underwear, trouble putting on outside clothing in the correct order, etc.), use pictograms (small pictures or photos of clothing items) to show them the proper dressing pattern to follow.

We have just finished covering the different ways you can help your child complete certain tasks. Remember to always take your time to observe what part of the task your child is having trouble with. The goal is to get your child to gradually complete a task by giving them verbal and physical directions so that they can gain a better understanding of what actions are expected of them. Make sure to keep repeating the tasks in the same pattern so that the steps eventually become routine. Above all, do not forget to take the time to encourage and to praise your child for all their hard work!

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Updated on 3/20/2015
Created on 1/16/2015
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The CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation’s Mélio Fund – formerly the Fondation Mélio – is an essential pillar of support for the centre of excellence in musculoskeletal disorders and in rehabilitation medicine. It is dedicated to providing ongoing and indispensable support for the 5,000 children with locomotor or speech impairments being cared for at the Marie Enfant Rehabilitation Centre (CRME).


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