Personal Care – 6 tips to teach Daily Living Skills

We all want to be independent, to attend to our own Personal Care. Here,  I share some creative tips to reduce verbal language and use other resources to support your child or someone you are supporting to learn Daily Living skills.

Some children and adults have difficulty processing auditory information in particular people who are non-verbal,  a language and learning impairment, in particular, some people with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

6 tips to help develop Personal Care independence


Make it clear what you are asking the person to do. Have all ingredients out in clear sight, for example, if you are supporting someone to brush their teeth, have the toothbrush, toothpaste and rinse cup in clear view with limited distractions.

Break down each step of the task

Look at what is involved in each task, break down that task into smaller steps. Use the little and often technique, in the beginning, start small and gradually build on each step, if you need to stop and take a break, do so. For example, if you are supporting someone to brush their teeth, start by supporting them to brush a few times and then stop, give the person a break and go back to it or you may only get them to brush a few times then move onto the next step and increase each step as you go. Remember, you will have more chance of the person wanting to engage in the activity next time if they have a fun, memorable experience.

Picture Sequence

Use a picture sequence of each step of the routine. As you do each step point to what you are doing. Use keywords only.

personal care daily living skills

Picture sequence for children and people with a disability to learn personal care


Support the visual sequence with modeling, have fun engaging with the person you are supporting. If you are supporting someone to wash their hair, pretend to (model) washing your hair at the same time. If you are supporting someone to brush their hair, brush your hair at the same time.


Don’t confuse the person by using too many words, only use keywords such as “brush teeth”, “Bath”, “Wash Hair”. To make it fun and engaging try singing the keywords as they are doing each step.


Give lots of praise, high fives, thumbs up! Lots of smiles, have fun engaging and teaching new skills at the same time.


Alison Mooney

I am a mother first, Blogger and Founder of See-n-Speak Communication Picture Exchange resources for people with a Disability. Sharing our resources and knowledge successfully using picture exchange as a form of communication with our child.

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