Independence, self-care skills, and autism
When I think about Charlie’s future, I often wonder what it will look like. I wonder if he’ll ever be able to live as an independent adult. That’s why it’s so important for us to focus hard on teaching Charlie daily-living and self-care skills like brushing teeth, using the bathroom, getting dressed, and showering.
Charlie’s therapists practice those skills with him everyday too. He’s not able to do these things independently yet but he’s getting really close for some of them. For instance, he only needs verbal prompts to remind how to brush his teeth, and minimal physical prompts when he’s getting dressed. He usually struggles with putting on his shirts but he can put his underwear and pants on really well.
How to encourage independence
It’s easy for us parents of autistic children to just do everything for them. I mean, most of the time Charlie has no idea how to to something by himself nor does he actually want to do it or learn. So we just do it for them. Let’s face it, teaching children independence whether or not they’re on the spectrum is time consuming. But it’s so important to take the time to do it.
I used to do everything for Charlie just because it’s faster and I wanted to avoid a meltdown, but I wasn’t doing him any favors. His therapists showed me things he could do that I had no idea he could do, just because I was always doing it for him (brushing his teeth, getting dressed). Now we practice these skills with him everyday and he’s doing great. Importantly, I’m always on the lookout forand help Charlie to do things by himself.
Products to make your life easier
So in comeproducts to our life and they’ve been a game changer for Charlie. You may have heard of them when they were featured on Shark Tank and backed by Mark Cuban. I love that U-Lace look just like standard woven laces when installed into sneakers because even though they’re elastic they actually are woven. Each pair of eye-holes on your shoes get their own little elastic lace.
U-Lace fit well on classic sneakers like Converse and allow them to maintain their fresh out-of-the-box look and feel. Willy and I love how easy it is to get dressed in the morning and we switched our laces totoo. Besides the obvious stylish aspect of U-Lace (which come in different colors and patterns) I love that U-Lace gives Charlie a chance to put on his shoes independently.
They’re super easy to install and you’ll be able to conveniently slip on your shoes. I was worried they wouldn’t be tight enough but that was definitely not the case. I used U-Kiddo U-Laces on my shoes and they fit me perfectly because they’re a little tighter.