Daily Living Skills

for Children with Visual Impairments or Blindness

Parents with children who are blind or visually impaired will find many practical suggestions for encouraging greater independence in all areas of daily living. Topics include eating, dressing, bathing, sleeping, and using the toilet. 

Below is a list of topics you'll find in this section. Click on a title to jump to a specific topic.

General Considerations for Daily Living Skills

Daily Living Skills Activities for Pre-Schoolers
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
This page offers suggestions for helping young children develop greater independence in all areas of daily living, including toileting, eating, dressing and undressing.

Parents' Place – Personal Care
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
This section has advice for parents on teaching their children about everyday routines of personal care, including dressing, washing, toilet training, and eating.

Routines from The Deafblind Disabled Baby
National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)
Peggy Freeman gives advice on the importance of routines to parents of babies who are deafblind with multiple disabilities, with detailed suggestions for routines for feeding, sleeping, bathing, dressing and undressing, and toileting.

Mealtime

Mealtime Skills
Perkins School for the Blind
In this webcast, Perkins Occupational Therapist Sue Shannon discusses the importance of mealtime skills in teaching social skills and concept development. Video demonstrations include many practical tips and helpful strategies; close-captioned, includes downloadable powerpoint slides.

Eating
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
This list of helpful hints starts with finger foods.

Eating Skills
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article includes sections on teaching your infant about food, starting solid food, and helping your toddler learn table manners.

Feeding and Weaning
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
These suggestions are designed to help make mealtime a more pleasant experience.

Increasing Your Preschooler's Mealtime Independence
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article includes sections on learning table skills, helping to prepare simple snacks and meals, and tips for good kitchen habits.

Picky Eaters
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
At this site parents can learn specific tactics to try with children who are reluctant to try certain foods or textures.

Supporting the Development of Eating Skills
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article provides specific suggestions to help children develop eating skills and independence at mealtime.

Feeding and Swallowing Disorders in Children
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA explains the nature of feeding and swallowing disorders, their signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

Organizations and Resources to Explore: Mealtime

New Visions
New Visions offers information to professionals and parents working with infants and children with feeding, swallowing, oral-motor, and pre-speech problems.

Dressing

Getting Dressed
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
Parents who need to teach dressing skills will find practical tips for their children with visual impairments in this article on Daily Living Skills.

Teaching Bathing and Dressing Skills
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article offers specific suggestions for teaching your child bathing and dressing skills.

Zipping, Snapping, and Fastening—Lots to Learn about Dressing
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This site presents specific suggestions for helping preschoolers learn how to zip, button, snap, and fasten.

Organizations and Resources to Explore: Dressing

Adaptive Clothing
Family Village
Family Village offers links to many types of resources, including clothing for wheelchair users, premature babies, and people with incontinence; weighted T-shirts for sensorimotor integration.

Toilet Training

Getting Ready for Potty Training
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article talks about the importance of establishing a routine for diapering and elimination before formal toilet training begins.

Helping Your Preschooler Use the Bathroom on His Own
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article offers practical tips for helping a child to be more independent in the bathroom, including how to use unfamiliar bathrooms.

It's Time to Sit on the Potty!
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article provides suggestions to consider when approaching toilet training with a child who has a visual impairment.

Toilet Training
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
Tips for parents help teach toilet training at home.  Another page on sensory considerations of this skill.

Toilet Training When Your Child Has Multiple Disabilities
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article provides practical advice for maximizing a child's participation, privacy, and comfort when using the bathroom.

Toilet Training – Cerebral Palsy Module
Utah Collaborative Medical Home Project
This website outlines two specific behavioral models for toilet training. There is also information on the role of the primary care physician, toilet training as a school goal, the home environment, and specific diagnostic groups.

Applying Structured Teaching Principles to Toilet Training
Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-Handicapped Children (TEACCH)
TEACCH outlines the steps in toilet training, including assessment, physical structure, establishing a routine and communication system, and troubleshooting. A list of children's books about toilet training is included.

Toilet Training Made Semi-Easy
Down Syndrome: Health Issues
Kent Moreno lists a protocol for toilet training individuals who have a developmental disability, including data collection, the development of a schedule, cueing, and making the experience in the bathroom a positive one.

Bathing and Personal Hygiene

Tooth Brushing, Bathing, and Other Self-Care Skills
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article includes practical tips for teaching tooth brushing, bathing, hair washing, brushing and combing hair.

Washing
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
These tips for bath time are aimed at parents.

Sleeping

Getting Your Baby to Sleep on a "Normal" Schedule
Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
Parents can learn practical tips to help their babies with visual impairments develop normal sleep patterns.

HELP! I Need a Sleep Plan for my Baby!
WonderBaby.org
This is a step-by-step guide to a technique to help your baby sleep independently for longer periods of time.

Help! My Baby Won't Sleep
WonderBaby.org
This article explores five reasons why a baby might not sleep. Some of these problems are experienced by all babies, some are specific to blind babies. Each sleep problem is accompanied by a sleep solution.

Sleep Problems – Cerebral Palsy Module
Utah Collaborative Medical Home Project
This webpage offers guidelines for determining the best intervention for sleep disorders; includes links to related resources and articles.