Daily Living Skills in Young Children

Parents with children who are blind or visually impaired will find many practical suggestions for encouraging greater independence in all areas of daily living. Topics include eating, dressing, bathing, sleeping, and using the toilet. 
 
Below is a list of topics you'll find in this section. Click on a title to jump to a specific topic.
 
 

General Considerations for Daily Living Skills

Parent Education Daily Living Skills Guide
Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB)
14-page document with recommendations and guidelines for cooking and use of kitchen appliances

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
This page offers suggestions for helping young children develop greater independence in all areas of daily living, including mobility, toileting, eating, dressing and undressing.
 
National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)
Peggy Freeman gives advice on the importance of routines to parents of babies who are deafblind with multiple disabilities, with detailed suggestions for routines for feeding, sleeping, bathing, dressing and undressing, and toileting.
 

Videos from WSSB
Washington State School for the Blind
WSSB offers a wide range of videos on various daily living skills and independent living activities, such as buttoning, zipping, pouring, shaving, making a bed.

 

Mealtime

Perkins eLearning, Perkins School for the Blind
In this webcast, Perkins Occupational Therapist Sue Shannon discusses the importance of mealtime skills in teaching social skills and concept development. Video demonstrations include many practical tips and helpful strategies; close-captioned, includes downloadable PowerPoint slides.
 
FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article includes sections on teaching your infant about food, starting solid food, and helping your toddler learn table manners.
 
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
These suggestions are designed to help make mealtime a more pleasant experience.
 
FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article includes sections on learning table skills, helping to prepare simple snacks and meals, and tips for good kitchen habits.
 
FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
At this site parents can learn specific tactics to try with children who are reluctant to eat certain foods or textures.
 
FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article provides specific suggestions to help children develop eating skills and independence at mealtime.
 
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA explains the nature of feeding and swallowing disorders, their signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
 

Organizations and Resources to Explore: Mealtime

New Visions offers information to professionals and parents working with infants and children with feeding, swallowing, oral-motor, and pre-speech problems.
 

Dressing

FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article offers specific suggestions for teaching your child bathing and dressing skills.
 
FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This site presents specific suggestions for helping preschoolers learn how to zip, button, snap, and fasten.
 

Toilet Training

FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article talks about the importance of establishing a routine for diapering and elimination before formal toilet training begins.
 
FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article offers practical tips for helping a child to be more independent in the bathroom, including how to use unfamiliar bathrooms.
 
FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article provides suggestions to consider when approaching toilet training with a child who has a visual impairment.
 
FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article provides practical advice for maximizing a child's participation, privacy, and comfort when using the bathroom.
 
Utah Collaborative Medical Home Project
This website outlines two specific behavioral models for toilet training. There is also information on the role of the primary care physician, toilet training as a school goal, the home environment, and specific diagnostic groups.
 
Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-Handicapped Children (TEACCH)
Susan Boswell and Debbie Gray outline the steps in toilet training, including assessment, physical structure, establishing a routine and communication system, and troubleshooting. A list of children's books about toilet training is included.
 
Down Syndrome: Health Issues
Kent Moreno lists a protocol for toilet training individuals who have a developmental disability, including data collection, the development of a schedule, cueing, and making the experience in the bathroom a positive one.
 

Bathing and Personal Hygiene

FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article includes practical tips for teaching tooth brushing, bathing, hair washing, brushing and combing hair.
 

Sleeping

FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
Parents can learn practical tips to help their babies with visual impairments develop normal sleep patterns.
 
Perkins School for the Blind
Psychologist offers suggestions to address sleeping challenges for children who are blind or visually impaired in this video webcast
 
WonderBaby.org
This is a step-by-step guide to a technique to help your baby sleep independently for longer periods of time.
 
WonderBaby.org
This article explores five reasons why a baby might not sleep. Some of these problems are experienced by all babies, some are specific to blind babies. Each sleep problem is accompanied by a sleep solution.
 
Utah Collaborative Medical Home Project
This webpage offers guidelines for determining the best intervention for sleep disorders; includes links to related resources and articles.
 

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