The ultimate goal is to have an individual complete activities of daily living independently. There are a variety of skills that can be worked on, but one that I feel is critical is independent showering or bathing.

This is a skill that has a lot of parts but through different interventions, the individual could learn to shower. When you stop and think about all the pieces, you may realize why the individual is struggling. The parts could include: setting the water at the correct temperature, getting all the materials needed before getting in the shower, squeezing soap bottles, knowing when to clean or scrub harder in some spots, understanding how to check to see if all soap is gone and how to dry off the entire body.

I am here today to recommend some antecedent interventions that you can put into place to help the individual be successful showering.

The first intervention is a laminated visual schedule of the steps. The goal of the visual schedule is that the individual can complete the steps without someone telling them what to do next. When thinking about prompting your child to do anything, you should try to eliminate telling them what to do and introduce a prompting sequence. It is easier to fade out the prompting sequence than your voice. 

The second intervention is using a timer.  Everyone is guilty sometimes of taking longer than necessary showers, but when teaching the skill, it is important to teach the individual how long each step should take.

The third intervention is using travel soap bottles with the correct amount for one shower and labeled bottles. If you give an individual a full soap bottle, it could be confusing how much they should be using. If you start out with the correct amount and then slowly increase the amount over timer, the individual should be able to learn the skill. When using the traveling soap bottles, I also recommend writing numbers on them to show what bottle should be used first and second in the process.

If you have been following my blog or social media, you know that I love data collection. My last suggestion is to collect data on the skills so you can see improvements over time. The data collection should be developed with a team, but it could include a task analysis of each step, a yes or no sheet saying if the individual did the step independently or tracking the length of time the shower took.

Some other quick tips include putting a mirror in the shower to help the individual see if they got all the soap out of their hair and starting to teach shaving before it is necessary, this will help the individual know the process.

I wish you luck on setting the goal to teach independent showering and please share your success stories.

Clipart is from