Get a Tip
All tips > Managing behaviour > independence
>> Independence & Coping <<
These tips have all been sent in by other parents, carers and professionals in the learning disability community. We hope they will give you plenty of ideas to try, but please remember Netbuddy is not responsible for the information provided or any of the activities suggested.
One cup kettle
To aid independence and safety in the kitchen try using a 'One Cup' kettle. Press the button and the kettle heats one cup of water and fills the cup. No lifting hot heavy kettles. Easy to find in Argos (Breville & Morphy Richards both current makes). Do remember to also get the right size cup!
I buy pre-sliced bagels so Toby can spread jam, cream cheese or his spread of choice all by himself without the worry of letting him near a knife! It pleases him to make his own lunch
Left - RIGHT!
I taught my son to understand left and right by getting him to look at his hands flat stretched out, thumbs pointing down. The side where the thumb and pointy finger make an L shape, that is left. The other is right.
Easy does it!
Make it easier for the person you are caring for to go to the toilet independently by giving them clothes that are easy to pull up and down - avoid awkward fastenings. Use sanitising hand gel once outside so they don't need to deal with hand washing if they find this difficult or too confusing
Banking made clear
Barclays have developed a suite of accessible resources in partnership with the British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD). Banking made clear aims to help people with learning disabilities build the understanding, skills and confidence they need to manage their money. Includes a comprehensive guide, a 'quick guide', a DVD and a teaching pack to enable volunteers to run successful money management sessions.
Break tasks down
Break tasks down into short, basic steps and use pictures to help explain each step of the process. This will help the person to understand, remember and be more able to do independently
Look after the pennies
When your child leaves home for supported living or residential care, make sure that you get a copy of My Money Matters from the Association for Real Change. My son can't read or write and is entirely dependent on his support workers for help managing his money. My Money Matters (ARC)
Picthatevent.com helps children with anxiety cope with change. They make books specific to a child's situation after getting to know both child and family. Useful for helping your child deal with anxious events or indeed any transition or learning curve they may be struggling to cope with. picthatevent.com
Write it down
George used to get very frustrated & angry, so one time I got a piece of paper and wrote on it 'I am worried about......'. He filled in 'going to school when it is raining without a coat'. I replied 'How can we make sure that doesn't happen again?' and we went on to have a really good conversation about all sorts of things. It allowed him to explain how he felt by writing it down rather than having to express himself verbally and the silence that surrounded us calmed his anger down. He has since called it his 'worry book' and now asks to do it again if he has a problem.
Recipe for success!
Cooking and following a recipe is a fantastic way of increasing independence and esteem. Here are some useful sites I've found for people with leanring disabilities: photorecipes.co.uk & yourspecialchef.com. The Cbeebies "I Can Cook" book also provides good simple healthy recipes in an accessible format.
Backward chainingTo encourage people to do more for themselves, try 'backward chaining' – you do most of the task but then ask them to do the very last step. Over time increase the last steps until they are doing the complete task independently.
My daughter used to hate going anywhere in the car. I discovered it was not knowing where she was going, added to the car sounds when slowing down or when cars passed. I started to do a running commentary from the start of the journey eg "We are going to the shops, then home", "we will slow down now red traffic light stop, green for go". It really helped
Implement a de-sensitization programme with gradual steps. For example, allow the person to observe an activity. As they become more comfortable they can be encouraged to engage for a small amount of time. Increase the time slowly.
Dealing with bullying
The National Autistic Society offers some useful advice on how to deal with bullying: Beat the bullies
Give them a job
Try giving someone a job to do if they are withdrawn or having difficulty adjusting to a group – for example if it's music time, ask them to hand out the instruments or switch on the tape player etc.
Take a photo
Encourage the person you are supporting to take a photograph of everything in their purse or wallet to make it easier to cancel cards etc if it's lost or stolen.
Give your child time to settle into a new enviroment, for example a new playgroup. Don't rush them. Allow them time to adjust. Find a nice quiet spot where you can sit allow your child to be at ease with the surroundings and other children and adults to be there.
It’s a good idea to role play with the person what to do if he/she gets lost, making sure they know where to find and how to present their identification card and what to say.
Jacob's worry box
My son Jacob is 7 years old and has Aspergers syndrome & high functioning Autism. He has very high anxiety levels and worries about lots of things. Every night, after story, we do worry time. We talk about about all my son's worries that he has put in his worry box (in his head) throughout the day. We also have a deep worry box which we open up too. It's a fab way of helping him deal with his anxieties/worries with lots of reasurrance & cuddles from his mum.
We have put together a de-stress box of familiar and sensory items for Eva. When she is upset she can take her box to a quiet safe area and chill down.
Got a tip to add to this page? Tell us