Sunday, August 11, 2013

Goals and Lists

A new school year is blowing in! As a homeschooler, it is super exciting gathering and preparing new academic material, but I love setting a new life skill goal too.

Ashi did great job accomplishing last year's goals:  learning to buckle/unbuckle her own seat belt and brush her teeth by herself. Sounds easy for most, but for someone with muscle apraxia, everyday tasks like this seem impossible. Ashi rose to the challenge and went beyond by learning to help with her little brother's seat belt too!

This year's goal is for Ashi to learn to shower by herself.  Using the tub has become a back-breaking chore for me and I'm all elbows washing her hair in the shower since she's only a head shorter than me! And, I can't bathe her forever, this is truly a life-skill she needs now.

When you set a goal, remember to prepare and provide the tools needed to succeed. Provide helps as needed along the way and gradually remove them as the the steps are mastered. 

In order to prepare for the showering goal, Ashi and I agreed to trim off (another) foot of her long hair so it's more manageable.

My next chore was to find bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and soap that she can actually open or a dispenser like the one I found here.   This is specifically for hands that are disabled. No-rinse shampoo is also an option I may have to consider later down the road.  I found those products here.

The other very, important, thing I did was make a step-by-step instruction list of what to do.  Even though many of our kids have photographic memories containing gargantuan amounts of information, their 'working' memories often aren't as sharp. It's common for Ashi to get in the shower and forget what to do. I laminated the list so it won't get damaged in the shower.

It's not enough to just post the list. To ensure Ashi's success, I will have to work with Ashi until all the steps are mastered. After several weeks or months of practice and the confidence to do it by herself, I will step aside, just being available for questions.  As we move along, I will teach her how to get her own towels, refill soap dispensers, turn the water on/off by herself.  It's always a work in progress, but we start with the main task, master it, and then add in the little details later on. Consistency and a fun-loving-to-learn attitude are keys.

We use lists constantly, for school and life. Here's  another instruction guide we use. It's not that Ashi is rotten or disobedient. She truly needs a list posted as a reminder and your child may as well.

Step by step instructions are great for these kids and can be used for any and every activity in life that requires instruction. It flows best when Mom always has things prepared, such as clean clothes in the drawer, for the list to the left to be used successfully.

I easily made these signs on Power Point, added some clip art for fun. They could even be handmade, using your child's art to decorate, or stickers. I laminated mine, but you could also frame them for use in your homeschool and/or daily life.


  1. I just wanted to say, I came by after you posted your blog on the FB page. Looks awesome and I have bookmarked your site.

    We are in the learning to shower by yourself stage. It's a work in progress, that's for sure. I never thought of printing a list. Goodness, I have PECS for how to go to the bathroom, wash your hands, etc, but nothing for showering? I will call that a tired Mommy moment and run to go do it. =)

    Part of learning for our sons has been shampoo bottles. Goodness, even the small children's shampoos have been impossible for them. I finally figured out to buy a hand soap dispenser (the kind people put on their bathroom sinks to look pretty, except not the pretty glass ones, think durable). I just tell them, "2 pumps gets the job done" and off they go. But, I am really liking that dispenser in your link. I might have to check into that as it would hold all the body soap, conditioner (our younger son has coarse hair, poor kid needs it), and shampoo.

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