DRESSING & CLOTHING MANAGEMENT
By: Carmen Willings
October 30, 2017
Learning independence in dressing are important skills for all students to learn. These are equally important for students who are blind or visually impaired. It may take students longer to master this skill but it is essential to encourage independence and avoid the urge to do the task for them in a rush to complete the activity. It is also important for the student to develop clothing management skills.
Dressing skills can be taught best through hand-under-hand support and from behind the student, in order to guide the student’s hands in a natural pattern.
It is ideal to practice dressing skills at natural times of the day (removing coat in the morning, taking shoes off/on before/after trampoline play, putting on/removing smock, etc.). Encourage the student to assist in dressing and undressing if clothes are soiled and need changed. Dressing time is a natural time to teach body image skills and spatial awareness concepts. It is also a natural time to talk about types of clothing and different fasteners. Discuss likes and differences in personal belongings.
All activities involved in dressing tasks will promote independence in additions to developing finger dexterity and upper body strength. This includes pulling up a zipper after it is started, pushing a large button through a buttonhole and pulling up pants to name a few. Other important dressing skills include the ability to coordinate clothing, determine if it is appropriate for the weather, determine if it is appropriate for the situation (ex. type of work, leisure, social occasion, etc.) Students may need extra help in learning how to orient their clothing.
Students will need to learn methods for marking their clothes to make it easier to identify and select them. There are methods that can be used for braille readers as well as non-braille methods.
Braille readers can use braille labels to mark their clothing, enabling them to match articles. Braille tags are commercially available and can make identification easy. These tags are small metal tags that have color words and pattern words. The tags can be sewn onto the tag or the inside seam of the clothing. The tags may irritate the skin so it may help to sew them to the bottom hem as long as they are concealed. Alternatively, a label can be made by brailling on durable, but not too thick, plastic.
For non-braille readers, buttons of different shapes can be used to match items or a certain shape can represent a color. The button, like the braille tags, can be sewn in the inside hem of the shirt. Iron-on tape is another method of labeling clothes. Cut the tape into various shapes and have a system for matching shapes similar to the button method.
Dresser Drawer Organization
Keeping clothing organized is an important skill for students to learn. When setting up the student's drawers, it may be easier to designate drawers for particular kinds of clothing.
Encourage independence by expecting the student to hang up and retrieve his or her own coat on a hook. Teaching students how to hang clothes on a hanger can be particularly challenging. One possible method is to lay the article flat on a surface such as a bed and then insert the hanger into the shoulders. Demonstrate how the top button can be buttoned to keep shirts from slipping off the hangers. Hooks and bars in a high contrast can be purchased or painted for students with low vision. Tactual cues can be used to identify a student’s hook or a plastic separator can be placed and tactually labeled on bars to group similar clothing. Take advantage of commercially available clothing organizers and pair with labels to help the student maintain the organization. Incorporate matching skills by matching and storing shoes in shoe boxes and hanging shoe holders.
Encourage students to be a part of the cleaning and ironing process, keeping safety in mind. Students should be taught how to examine clothing for spots and smells to ensure they are clean and fresh. If your school has the facilities, teach students how to sort laundry according to washing needs, load a pile of clothes into a washing machine, set the dial, add detergent, transfer clothes from washing machine to the dryer, and operate the dryer. Laundry cleaning supplies can be labeled in large print, tactual markers or braille as well as the settings on the washer and dryer.
Provide hand under hand assistance when introducing the skill, and fade assistance as the student becomes more comfortable and independent. One way of labeling the dials is to add a Bumpon blister or to create a template that fits over the dial. Transparent markers are necessary so sighted peers or staff can still read the markings. It's easier to just mark the basic settings.
Shopping for Clothes
If a student is concerned about keeping up with the latest trends and styles, encourage them to discuss trends with friends or family, particularly those who have the same interests and/or tastes.
Sock Locks are GREAT for keeping like colored socks together when doing laundry! It can be difficult for students with low vision to have a difficult time discriminating blues and blacks and other similar shades as well as for students who are blind.
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TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC: An Activities Based Curriculum for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Written specifically for fellow itinerant Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI’s), this book consists of over 400 activities and topic areas of discussion for instructing students in the Expanded Core Curriculum. The activities are age-neutral and multi-sensory and therefore can meet the needs of the broad range of students served on an itinerant caseload serving. The activities can be individualized to the students various learning modalities and scaffold in order to challenge students but ensure success. Select those activities that align with the student’s learning objects based on the student’s unique visual needs and academic and developmental level.
The core activities listed in the Activity section can be adapted to each thematic unit. These include:
In addition to the core activity areas, each of the 32 Thematic Units incorporates additional unique ECC concepts and skills providing you with a years’ worth of activities. These units are cyclical and can be used repeatedly to help students build on prior knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. Each unit includes suggestions for activity adaptation associated with the unit. These include lists of objects, possible community based experiences, environmental print, poems, children & young reader books, children's songs, pop culture songs, movies, and websites.
Unique Concepts within the Units include:
Although the intended audience of this resource is fellow Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, special education teachers may find these activities beneficial to the students in their classrooms as the activities are multisensory and include life skills and concepts needed by all students. This resource, however, is not intended to take the place of a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). Readers are advised to consult their own TVI’s regarding instruction in the ECC and the unique visual needs of the student’s served in their programs.
Note: This curriculum is a digital pdf download. Once you make your purchase you will be directed to an order confirmation page where you will find the download link. This download will also be included on the receipt sent to the email address you provide. The pdf download can be found directly under the order number.
Each download is intended for single instructor use per copyright. Thank you for helping me preserve the content and not distributing copies to third parties.
Digital pdf download: 364 pages (11 pt font)
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings
Visual Efficiency & Magnifier Fluency Grab & Go ECC Supplements
This workbook is a pdf download that can be printed on demand for use with students. It contains five different types of worksheets for developing visual motor skills and near magnifier fluency skills particularly with the use of a video magnifier. As a supplement to the TVI’s Guide to the ECC, the worksheets correspond to each of the 32 ECC Thematic units. The worksheets, along with a list of environmental print for each thematic unit, are designed to help students refine their visual motor skills while reinforcing ECC concepts presented in the thematic units.
Visual Efficiency & Near Magnifier Fluency Worksheet Details:
Digital pdf download: 210 pages
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings