|Dressing children with Cerebral Palsy|
Try having your child start with undressing, moving toward dressing at a later time. Make sure the platform that the parent starts with is not so low as to discomfort the adult. These are some of the suggestions from sources below that detail dressing and undressing a child with cerebral palsy.
“Ages 3 to 10. If the child is able to, he ought to be encouraged to stand up and hold on to furniture while being dressed. This is good therapy and movement toward an adult style of dressing allows the child to be dressed with less lifting than is done when the child is dressed lying down. If the child must be dressed lying down, and the child’s bed is used for dressing, then the mattress surface should be at a comfortable level for the parents to work. This can easily be achieved by placing the bed on blocks, but care must be taken to use side rails so that the child does not fall our of a high bed. If the bed is on the floor, the caregiver ought to place one or both knees on the floor rather than bend over from the back.
The older child and teenager. The same rules apply, but at this age, because of the child’s larger size, it is especially important to dress her while she is standing if at all possible.” (Cerebral Palsy: A Complete Guide for Caregiving: p. 280)
“The main reason for a child to wear heavy orthopedic shoes is to permit the child to wear a metal brace attached to the shoe. These shoes are build of very sturdy leather and can be disassembled or have lifts and other devices added very easily. If a decision is made to use metal braces instead of the more commonly used plastic, there are few reasons today to prescribe orthopedic shoes or any other corrective shoe for children with cerebral palsy. In fact, the shoes that are best for these children are the same shoes that are best for other children, primarily athletic shoes that have soft soles made of rubber to prevent slipping and a moderate arch support that is soft so that it won’t hurt the foot.” (Cerebral Palsy: A Complete Guide for Caregiving: p. 298)
“For most children, learning to dress and undress is a major step toward independence. Depending on the degree of your child’s motor problems, independent dressing may or may not be a realistic goal. If you child has the motor skills, you will want to do everything possible to help him achieve the goal; if he has the desire and understanding without the skills, you will want to help him participate as fully as possible in the process.
Proper positioning is critical to success in the dressing process. Children with cerebral palsy usually find dressing easier when seated on a low bench or chair. If your child doesn’t have the head and trunk control for this position, you may need to seat him on your lap.
Generally, you should work on undressing first, as it is an easier skill than dressing. Many children find taking off socks the easiest skill of all. If you begin with socks, you may need to help your child by pulling the sock almost off then let him have he final success of tugging it off. As soon as your child is able to accomplish one step in the dressing process, gradually reduce your help.
If your child cannot take off his clothes himself, encourage him to help any way that he can. For example, ask him to raise his arm as you pull off his shirt sleeve or to shift his weight so you can take his pants off more easily. If your child’s movment skills are quite limited, you could ask him to look toward the appropriate clothing item when you ask, “What comes next?” (Children with Cerebral Palsy: p. 134 – 135)
“Children with disabilities, like other children, should be encouraged from an early age to help with their own dressing. It is important, however, not to push a child to learn skills that are still too difficult for her level of development.”
“When buying new clothes, people with hand problems should follow these suggestions. Choose garments that have a minimum of fastenings. Look for easy-on styles or step-in garments. Women don’t need to wear a slip if clothes have linings. Choose clothes that are made of fabrics that slip or glide easily over the skin. These are easier to get into and more comfortable to wear.”
”If your child is interested, she is bound to be more cooperative. Encourage her to do things for herself, even if it takes longer, and give her lots of praise for every achievement, however small it is.”
“Keeping up with clothes for growing children is a challenge to all parents and caregivers. But, it’s a special challenge if a child has special or unusual clothing needs related to a disability or health problem.”
“The following tips may make it easier for children and adults with cerebral palsy to dress themselves…”