Unit1: Self help skills

1.1 Meal time activities: Feeding – eating by self – observing social behaviour during mealtime setting & cleaning before and after meals – adaptation.

1.2 Dressing: Removing & wearing – using fasteners – appropriate choice of clothes and maintenance – mending – working & ironing use of suitable footwear and accessories. Grooming: Tooth brushing – bathing – combing – adaptation

1.3 Toileting: Indication – use of toilet – cleaning self and toilet after use – Maintaining privacy – adaptation.

1.4 Hygiene: Nose blowing - Nail cutting – ear cleaning – shaving (male) – Menstrual hygiene (female)

1.5 Life skills: meaning and type, self awareness, self direction, interpersonal relationship, effective communication, managing emotions






Self-help skills are a subset of a larger repertoire of daily living skills, sometimes called activities of daily living (ADLs). Specifically, the term “self-help” usually refers to the following areas of independent behavior:

Eating/feeding and drinking: Skills may include holding and using utensils properly, drinking without spilling, eating a variety of foods, proper use of a napkin, table manners, and other mealtime routines.

Grooming: This area includes skills such as brushing hair, shaving, and dressing (e.g., selecting clothing, putting clothes on and off without assistance, and managing fasteners).

Personal hygiene: Skills include those such as bathing, brushing teeth, washing hair, and applying deodorant.

Toileting: Skills related to toileting include managing clothing, cleaning oneself, as well as overall bowel and bladder management.


1.1 Meal time activities: Feeding – eating by self – observing social behaviour during mealtime setting & cleaning before and after meals – adaptation.

Meal times provide great opportunities for children to practice social, language and self- help skills. Allowing children adequate time to taste and enjoy their food, to make choices and to interact with others helps to make meal times pleasant, relaxed experiences for both children and adults.

Presentation of the room: The arrangement of furniture and setting of tables can affect how relaxed meal times will be. Arrange the tables to allow for small groups with, if possible, one adult at each table. Individual placemats for children, vases of flowers and table cloths can also assist to make the dining area more appealing. The children can help set the table and choose where the place mats go.

Self-help skills: Consider placing large bowls of food on each table for children to serve themselves, with adult assistance if required. If children bring their food from home, encourage them to open their own food packages and assist when necessary.

Of course, when children are encouraged to serve themselves, there will be spills. It is helpful to have a bucket of soapy water and cloths available for children to clean up their spills. When children spill food or drinks, avoid making a fuss, but encourage them to clean up the mess. At the end of the meal, older children may be able to scrape their bowls and rinse their cups, and assist with clearing the tables.

Interactions: Ensure that interactions are positive and allow opportunities for children to practice small group interactions. During meal times set all other tasks aside to allow for all carers to be present. It is important that adults sit and eat with children, to act as role models for healthy eating habits, and talk with children about what they are eating, where the food comes from and how it was prepared. For older children, conversations might include more complex information and concepts. For example, explain to children that eating pasta is healthy as carbohydrates will give them energy to play.

Variety of food: Children may not eat foods the first time you offer them. Keep offering them in various ways, as the children may eat them eventually. Do not force a child to eat, or withhold food as a punishment. Children can determine when they feel full and forcing them to eat, or withholding food, is inappropriate and can create unhealthy eating patterns. Instead, give children positive responses about healthy foods they do like to eat and allow them to tell you when they have had enough.

Where possible, allow children to have input into the menu, explaining to them the foods that should be eaten every day, and which foods are ‘sometimes foods’. Use a variety of colour in meals to attract the children’s interest and consider using various utensils to go with the different foods.


By carefully considering factors such as children’s ages, the environment and daily routines, child care professionals can ensure that meal times form a valuable part of the daily child care experience, rather than being seen as something to ‘get through’ before moving on to the next activity

1.2 Dressing: Removing & wearing – using fasteners – appropriate choice of clothes and maintenance – mending – working & ironing use of suitable footwear and accessories. Grooming: Tooth brushing – bathing – combing – adaptation

Encourage children to dress and groom by themselves; just provide minimal assistance. Begin with older infants and toddlers by encouraging them to help pull socks on and off, pull up pants after diapering and help put their arms through sleeves. As children get older, encourage them to dress themselves but help with challenging steps such as zipping and buttoning.

Learning to get dressed builds your child’s confidence and independence and gives your child a sense of achievement. And once your child can dress himself, helping him get dressed is one less thing for you to do.

Also, getting dressed helps your child develop many other skills, including:

Getting started with getting dressed

Often very young children start to be aware of clothing by pulling off easy-to-remove things like socks, shoes or hats. Sometimes they try to put them on again. You can build on this early awareness by naming the clothes your child has taken off and the body parts they go on.

You can start to include your older baby or toddler in getting dressed by giving him a limited choice of clothes, and naming them as you put them on him.

When you decide it’s time for your child to really start learning this skill, it can help to have some easy clothes on hand. These might include:

Getting dressed: breaking down the steps

Getting dressed can have a lot of steps. It helps to break it down into smaller steps – for example, putting on underwear, then t-shirt, shorts, socks and shoes.

You can also break down each of the steps in getting dressed, depending on your child’s skill and age. For example, you could break down the steps for putting on shorts like this:

Talking your child through each step helps her know what to do. In the early stages, simple words or phrases are OK – for example, ‘Shirt on’. You can say more as your child’s language develops – for example, ‘Push your arm through the sleeve’.

Getting dressed: teaching the steps backwards

A good way to teach your child how to get dressed is to break down each task into small steps and teach her the last step first. Once your child can do the last step of the task, teach her the second-last step, then the third-last step and so on.

For example, when putting on shorts, you might help your child face the shorts the right way, hold the waistband and put his legs through the leg holes. Then teach your child the last step – pulling up the shorts to his waist by himself.

Once your child can do this, teach her to put her legs through the leg holes and pull her shorts up. You can keep working your way backwards through the steps until your child has mastered them all and can put her shorts on for herself.

A big advantage of this approach is that often the most rewarding thing about a task is getting it finished – and your child gets to this reward sooner when he can do the last step first.


Independent Dressing and Grooming (e.g. knowing when to undress, pulling a shirt over your head, putting legs through pants , combing hair)

     Begin in toddlerhood, encourage your child to pull off their socks.

     Teach you toddler to lift arms to the sky to help remove tops.

     After toileting encourage your child to pull up pants or shorts.

     For everyday wear, buy clothes that are simple to put on and take off.

     Buy child-sized brush and comb.

     Look for dolls and toys with buttons, zips and clips to practise doing up.

     Allow extra time so children can dress themselves without pressure.


1.3 Toileting: Indication – use of toilet – cleaning self and toilet after use – Maintaining privacy – adaptation.

Toilet training is the process of training a child to use the toilet for bowel and bladder use (i.e. wees and poos). Toilet training may start with a potty (small toilet bowl-shaped device) or you may skip this and simply begin with the toilet. Most children will find it easier to control their bowel before their bladder and it usually takes longer to learn to stay dry throughout the night than daytime.

What are the building blocks necessary to develop toilet training?

1. Physical skills

     Consistency of bowel and bladder movements.

     Control of sphincters(muscles responsible for controlling the evacuation process).

     Physical ability to sit upright on toilet or potty and not fall off.

     Ability to undress and dress as needed (including managing buttons, zips and knowing how to plan and sequence dressing and undressing).

2. Sensory Processing

     Awareness of soiled and wet nappy (i.e. body awareness, tactile discrimination).

     Awareness of need to toilet (with enough time to get there).

     Ability to cope with the sensory environment of toileting (noises of flushing toilet and taps at the sink, echoing sounds of tiles, hand dryers, bodily smells, smell of air fresheners).

     Attention to task and ability to sit still long enough to toilet (more than 5 mins without an adult needing to help them stay sitting).

     internal (i.e. reading the body’s signals and managing the feelings of toileting).

     external (including toilet seat, toilet paper, smell, noise, clothing on skin).

3. Concept understanding

     Comprehension of the sequential steps of toileting and dressing (e.g. pull pants down before sitting on the toilet).

     Attempts to remove clothing in readiness for toileting.

     Attempts to request or communicate needs to others (e.g. I need to go to the toilet).

     Awareness of the routine or sequence of toileting.

     Awareness of the task that is required of them when in the bathroom.

4. Communication

The ability to follow simple adult-directed routines (i.e. doesn’t demonstrate avoidance behaviours where the child simply doesn’t want to do it because an adult is telling them to do it and interrupting what they were doing).

 What can be done to improve toileting skills?

Building blocks: Develop each of the four building block steps outlined above.

Visual schedule: visually mapping out the steps involved in toileting.

Reward chart: For independent toileting (whether successful or not initially) or telling an adult of the need to go.

With older children it’s important to protect their privacy and self-esteem. They will be embarrassed and feeling bad about themselves. Remind them that anyone can have an accident and reassure them it will be okay. Assist them in getting changed, encouraging them to be as independent as possible.

1.4 Hygiene: Nose blowing - Nail cutting – ear cleaning – shaving (male) – Menstrual hygiene (female)

Hygiene: a science of the establishment and maintenance of health.

“Cleanliness of the body and proper maintenance of personal appearance.This generally includes all body areas and clothing. “

Managing menstruation

Girls may begin to have periods as early as 8 years old, up until age 16. Managing menstruation can be difficult for girls with a disability and they may have fears about how to cope, whether or not it will hurt, and who to talk to.

     Talk about having a period as a normal and healthy part of growing up.

     Explain why females have periods: “your body is getting ready to change into a woman.”

     Use simple language: “the blood flows out of your vagina, the opening between your legs. It is similar to the blood when you cut your finger or have a nose bleed.”

     Show what to do including where to find the pads, how to use them, and dispose of them in the garbage. Practice with lots of different products and give choices about the type of pads.

     Explain what to do if blood gets on underwear or pants. For example, “keep back up underwear or clothes in your backpack just in case you get blood on your underwear or pants.”

     Talk about her fears and concerns. Mention that different types of emotions (e.g., sadness or moodiness) are normal. Talk about feelings and discuss coping strategies (e.g., listening to music, doing some gentle stretching, or getting extra sleep).

     Discuss other practical strategies for managing menstruation, for example, “don’t wear white clothing when your period is due as this can lead to embarrassment if bleeding starts.”

     Discuss that hygiene is very important during a period – encourage showering or bathing every day.

Shaving for young men

For many boys, shaving is one of those coming of age activities. It signifies growing up and becoming a man. Yet boys with disability may not relish the changes that come with puberty, particularly ones that so drastically affect their appearance. Furthermore, shaving can be difficult for young men with disability due to sensory issues and/or fine motor skills. Below are some tips to help with this milestone.

     Identify when it is time to shave. Use photos or pictures to show facial hair growth and what it looks like when it is “time to shave.”

     Have your son watch an experienced shaver many, many times.

     Consider using a Social Story™. Illustrate the story with photos of the steps to complete a shave. Include the steps to get familiar with the products used (see below).

     Begin with an electric shaver. This is generally easier for most beginning shavers.

     Be sure to spend some time getting used to the sound and the vibration by turning the shaver on and off and holding it against the hand and/or arm before trying it on the face.

     Teach your son how to safely clean the electric shaver and how to dispose of the hair.

     If a non-electric razor is preferred, a wide-handled shaver may be easier to grasp.

     Allow the individual to select the shaving cream and choose the scent and texture.

     There are disposable razors for men with built in shaving cream and a lubrication strip, but these can be hard to find and tend to be relatively expensive.

     Have plenty of supplies on hand.

     Teach your son how often to change the blade or razor.

     Address safety issues. Remind your son that a razor is sharp and can cause injury if not used appropriately.

Be sure to be explicit about what parts of the body your son is to shave. If your son needs to remove hair from other parts of the body (for example, eye brows or back hair), consider using wax or a body hair removal cream. Note: wax may be too hot for your son and hair removal creams have strong odor and unusual consistency, which may make them difficult to tolerate.

If your son has nicks or small cuts on his face, have him learn to use a styptic pencil and/or steri strip to control the bleeding and to avoid any infection. (Make sure you address this likelihood before it occurs, for example, in your Social Story.)


1.5 Life skills: meaning and type, self awareness, self direction, interpersonal relationship, effective communication, managing emotions

Life skill skills for students with special needs are very important and valuable for them to get in education. This skills education program is a part of life skill. With this provision is expected they will be able to live independently by not / less dependent on others. This skill training focuses on the various skills to produce a product in the form of real objects that are beneficial to life. By learning the various skills expected, children with special needs can gain a perceptual experience, appreciative experience, and creative experience. Children with disabilities include blind children, hearing impaired, mentally disabled, tuna barrel, gifted child, and children with specific learning difficulties. Seeing the disorder they have a very varied intelligence. so there are children who have a high cognitive disabilities, but also have a low cognitive. Some have a severe disability and some are mild. Seeing this condition the kind of life skills that are suitable to be developed are general life skills and vocational life skills for children with disabilities.

With basic cognitive skills being deficit, the student suffers from challenge of coordinating cognitive skills for decision, problem solving or interaction related needs. Cognitive skills are essential pre-requisites for learning life skills for daily needs termed as “Activities of Daily Living (ADL)”. Pre – requisites like attention, observation, memory, consequential thinking, concentration, synthesis of learnt concepts with new concepts are basic to our daily skills. If any of above listed potential falls short in co-ordination it results in inadequate or deficit level of functioning in ADL. Therefore if ADL training must result in meaningful outcomes, it must first ensure training of pre-requisite skills such as cognitive processes as listed above relating to using attention, observation, associating names with people, functions with persons and names with objects, persons and their roles.

Life skills training/ education takes into account psychosocial competencies and interpersonal skills that help students to take right decisions, solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, build healthy relationships, empathize with others, and cope with managing their lives in a healthy and productive manner.

(WHO) defines Life skills as the abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life.

Life skill has been classified into three broad categories:

     Thinking skills: Thinking skills are the skill that enhances the logical faculty of the brain using an analytical ability, thinking creatively and critically, and developing problem-solving skills and improving decision-making abilities.

     Social skills: Social skills include interpersonal skills, communication skills, leadership skills, management skills, advocacy skills, co-operation and team building skills, etc.

     Emotional skills: Emotional skills, involves, knowing and being comfortable with oneself. Thus, self– management, including managing/coping with feelings, emotions, stress and resisting peer and family pressure.

The skills of knowing and living with oneself

     Self Awareness

Young people need to know and understand themselves first, their potential, their feelings and emotions, their position in life and in society and their strengths and weaknesses. They need too to have a clear sense of their own identity, where they come from, and the culture into which they have been born and which has shaped them.

For men and women are not only themselves; they are also the region in which they were born, city apartment or farm in which they learned to walk, the games they played as children, the old wives’ tales they overheard, the food they ate, the schools they attended, the sports they followed, the poems they read and the God they believed in (Somerset Maugham: A Razor’s Edge)

The more individuals are aware of their own capabilities, the more capable they are of using other life skills effectively, the more they are able to make choices which are consistent with the opportunities available to them, the society in which their live and their own abilities.

     Self esteem

Self awareness leads to self esteem as people become aware of their own capabilities and place in their community. It has been described as an ‘awareness of the good in oneself. It refers to how an individual feels about such personal aspects as appearance, abilities and behaviour and grows on the basis of their experiences of being competent and successful in what they attempt.

However, self esteem is strongly influenced by an individual’s relationships with others. Significant adults, such as parents, family members and teachers, and one’s peers can help to develop or destroy a person’s self esteem by the way in which they interact with him/her.

Therefore, the encouragement of positive relationships is essential to life skills as self esteem relates to behaviour, in particular a wide range of health related behaviours such as sexual health, stress and anxiety, smoking, alcohol and other drug use, and willingness to follow medical advice. High self-esteem tends to encourage positive health choices and behaviour whereas low self-esteem tends to lead to unhealthy behaviours.


Assertiveness means knowing what you want and why and being able to take the necessary steps to achieve what you want within specific contexts. It can cover a wide variety of different situations, from a girl rejecting the sexual advances of a fellow student or older man to children convincing their parents that they need to continue with their education, to adolescents taking the lead in bringing people together for some beneficial act in the community such as protecting or developing the environment.

However assertiveness should be differentiated from the two extremes on either side; passivity whereby the child or adolescent may know what s/he wants but is too timid or too lazy to stand up for that; and aggression whereby the child or adolescent just fights for what s/he wants without any consideration for the context or the people with whom s/he is interacting. Listening and valuing what others feel and want and why is an essential part of assertiveness.

In addition assertiveness is related to culture. It is important that children and adolescents know how to be assertive in all situations, but the way they are assertive with their peers may differ from assertiveness with parents, school teachers etc.

     Coping with Emotion

Emotions, such as fear, love, anger, shyness, disgust, the desire to be accepted etc are subjective and usually impulsive responses to a situation. That is why they can be very unpredictable and often lead to actions which are not based on logical reasoning. They can therefore easily lead people into behaviours they might later regret.

Emotions are strong reflections of what we are. Thus, identifying and then coping with emotions implies that people can recognise their emotions and the reasons for them and make decisions which take account of but are not overly influenced by them.

     Coping with Stress

Stress is an inevitable part of life. Family problems, broken relationships, examination pressures, the death of a friend or family member are all examples of situations that cause stress in people’s lives. In limited doses and when one is able to cope with it, stress can be a positive factor since the pressure forces one to focus on wh

The skills of knowing and living with others

·        Interpersonal Relationships

Relationships are the essence of life. Relationships also come in different shapes and sizes. As children grow up, they have to develop relationships with:

· significant adults in their lives such as parents, relatives, neighbours, teachers etc.
· peers in and out of school.
· people they meet in life, friends of their parents, the local leaders, shopkeepers etc.

Not everybody can be one’s friend but children need to know how to react appropriately in each relationship so that they can develop to their maximum potential in their own environment.

·        Friendship Formation

At the level of peers, this is one of the most important aspects of interpersonal relationships. An individual needs friends to share life with, activities, hopes, fears and ambitions. Friendship formation starts from the earliest stages of life but children and adolescents need to understand how friendships are formed and how to form and develop those which will be mutually beneficial. They should be able to recognise and, if necessary, resist friendships that can lead them into dangerous or unnecessary risk taking behaviour such as taking alcohol or other drugs, stealing and dangerous sexual behaviours.

·        Empathy

Showing empathy involves putting oneself in other peoples’ shoes, particularly when they are faced by serious problems caused by circumstances or their own actions. It means understanding and internalising other peoples’ circumstances and finding ways to lessen the burden by sharing with them rather than condemning or looking down on (or even pitying which is another form of looking down on people) them for whatever reason. Thus empathy also means supporting the person so that they can make their own decisions and stand on their own feet as soon as possible.

·        Peer Resistance

Peer resistance means standing up for one’s values and beliefs in the face of conflicting ideas or practices from peers. Friends, or colleagues, can come up with unacceptable or dangerous suggestions and may put pressure on one to accept. One needs to desist from doing things that one believes to be wrong and be able to defend one’s decision, even if it means being threatened with ridicule or exclusion from group membership. With young people in particular, the pressure to be like other group members is great. Thus, if the group is turning to negative influences and habits, peer resistance is a very important skill.

·        Negotiation

Negotiation is an important skill in interpersonal relationships. It involves assertiveness, empathy and interpersonal relations and also the ability to compromise on issues without compromising one’s principles. It involves being able to cope with potentially threatening or risky situations in interpersonal relations, including peer pressure, state one’s own position and build mutual understanding.

·        Non-violent Conflict Resolution

This is connected to interpersonal relations, negotiating skills and coping with emotions and stress. Conflicts are unavoidable and sometimes necessary but the skill of non-violent conflict resolution ensures that such conflicts do not become destructive. This can either involve a person resolving his/her own conflict situations or assisting others to come to an understanding without resorting to fighting.

·        Effective Communication

Communication is the essence of human relationships. Therefore, one of the most important life skills is being able to communicate effectively with others. This includes listening skills and understanding how others are communicating as well as realising how one communicates in different ways. For example, while one’s mouth is saying one thing, one’s body may be saying something completely different.

at one is doing and respond accordingly. However, stress can be a destructive force in an individual’s life if it gets too big to handle. Therefore, as with emotions, young people need to be able to recognise stress, its causes and effects and know how to deal with it.