Promoting Independence - Blog - Achieve Beyond

Promoting Independence

By: Brittany Beaver, MA, BCBA, LBA, Clinical Supervisor

Independence is a valuable part of our daily routines and significantly enhances the quality of life. Even at young ages, a child should be encouraged to develop independent living skills . As a children’s motor and cognitive skills increase, their ability to complete these tasks also increases. By fostering independence in a child’s early years, parents can help make daily living skills become part of a routine rather than a difficult chore. To accomplish this goal, parents can encourage their children by creating opportunities, providing choices, and reinforcing behavior.

How to promote:

  • Create opportunities by not completing an entire task for the child.
  • Pause to allow time for the child to continue while completing the task.
  • Give simple choices throughout the day.
    • Do you want to wear the truck shirt or the shark shirt?
    • Do you want to use a spoon or a fork to eat your corn?

Types of skills:

  • Using a fork and spoon to eat.
  • Dressing skills.
  • Putting plate/bowl in the sink.
  • Hanging up coat/jacket.

How to teach:

  • Reinforce! Provide praise for completing tasks.
  • Even if the task is not completed perfectly, provide praise for the attempt.
    • If the child puts his/her shirt on backwards, first praise he/she completed the task independently.
    • If the child drops his plate while taking it to the sink, provide praise for the effort.
  • Provide prompts as needed.
    • Help your child through the task if he/she unable to complete.
      • For example, when putting on his/her shirt, you may put it over his/her head, then pause for him/her to place his/her arms through the holes. If he/she has difficulty finding the armholes, provide assistance and then see if he/she can push all the way through.
      • Completing tasks should be enjoyable, not frustrating.

Teaching tools:

  • Visual schedules can be very helpful to remove yourself and allow independent completion of tasks.
    • Create a list of pictures that indicate what needs to be done.
  • Sticker charts
    • Provide stars or stickers when tasks are completed.
    • This will provide a sense of accomplishment and create motivation to repeat the task.

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