Becoming independent in personal care is an important life skill that can give a young person a sense of pride and achievement. Even becoming independent in parts of the task can help a young person to feel engaged and confident in their developing self.
Many children benefit from visual prompts of the steps of a routine such as showering. These are available from websites such as Do 2 Learn. Have the pictures in a place that the child can see them e.g. laminated and on the wall of the shower, and prompt your child to look at the next picture in the sequence rather than telling them what to do.
Brushing your teeth is an essential part of oral hygiene and good habits should be established in earliest childhood.
NHS Scotland recommends that all children brush their teeth twice each day; in the morning and last thing at night. Have set times that your child brushes their teeth so that it becomes a set part of their morning and evening routine, for example: bath, pyjamas, brush teeth, story and bed.
There are many Apps available that can support your child’s tooth brushing by timing how long to spend in each part of the mouth or by motivating your child. Reward programmes can also be effective to encourage compliance. Ensure your child’s reward is not a sugary food treat!
Many children with additional support needs benefit from visual prompts to support their understanding of routines. Include a picture of tooth brushing or a tooth brush in your child’s morning and evening visual schedule.
If your child can only tolerate having a toothbrush in their mouth for brief periods try a multi-direction toothbrush which can reach multiple surfaces of your child’s teeth at the same time: Dr Barman’s Superbrush or Curved Toothbrush both available from the Fledglings brochure found on the Fledglings website.
If your child struggles with strong tastes or smells, try an unflavoured toothpaste such as OraNurse 0-3 or OraNurse original.
Some children have difficulty tolerating having their nails cut which can make this necessary task upsetting and stressful for parent and child.
Here are some suggestions for you to try with your child:
Starting her period can be a challenging time for any girl particularly if she has a learning disability. Click on the link on the right to access further information about supporting your daughter through this challenging developmental stage and to access visual aids to help.
Growing and learning is a series of books that support the parents and carers of children and young people with learning disabilities. The book on sexual health also covers managing the onset of puberty.
Downloadable sequence cards for adolescents girls on managing periods for you to print off and use.
As young people go through puberty the tasks that they complete in order to look after their bodies become more complex.
NHS Choices feature information pages with advice on sex for young people including Q&A, sexting and common myths explored.