Hesperian Health Guides

Suggestions for Dressing

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HealthWiki > Disabled Village Children > Chapter 37: Dressing > Suggestions for Dressing


    DVC Ch37 Page 335-1.PNG
  • If one arm or leg is more affected than the other, it is easier if you put the clothes first on the affected side.
  • Put the clothes where the child can see and reach them easily, so he can help in any way possible.
  • If the arm is bent stiffly, first try to straighten it slowly, then put the sleeve on. (If you try to straighten it forcefully or quickly, it may become more stiff.)
  • If the legs straighten stiffly, bend them gently in order to put on pants or shoes.
  • Placing your hand on her lower back will help keep her hips and legs bent.

    Or you can help keep her knee bent with your hand.
    DVC Ch37 Page 335-2.PNG This keeps the legs relaxed and gives her better control.
  • Begin any dressing activity for the child, but let him finish it for himself. Little by little have him do more of the steps. If he can do it all by himself, give him time.Do not hurry to do it for him if he is struggling to do it himself. Praise him when he does well or tries hard.
  • Use loose-fitting, easy-to-put-on clothing. Here are some ideas:
  • elastic waist bands
    DVC Ch37 Page 335-3.PNG
    overlap fly without buttons or zipper — or with Velcro
    cloth loops to help pull up wide sleeves DVC Ch37 Page 335-4.PNG zipper with loop or knob for easy pulling
    ‘Tube socks’ (socks without heels, that stretch to fit foot) are easier for the child to put on.
    DVC Ch37 Page 335-5.PNG
    DVC Ch37 Page 335-6.PNG
    DVC Ch37 Page 335-7.PNG
    Velcro tabs instead of buttons
    DVC Ch37 Page 335-8.jpg
    Press-together studs (snaps) are easier to open and close than buttons. If buttons are used, use large buttons and make buttonholes extra big. DVC Ch37 Page 335-10.PNG
    DVC Ch37 Page 335-9.PNG
  • For children who have poor finger control, make a simple tool to button and unbutton buttons.
  • using a tool to fasten buttons.
    end bent to curve around hand
    DVC Ch37 Page 335-12.PNG
    thin, firm strip of metal (from old tin)

    strap for holding on hand if hand is very weak
    DVC Ch37 Page 335-13.PNG
    DVC Ch37 Page 335-14.PNG
    round piece of wood
    thin, stiff wire
  • For the child who often puts her dress on backward, or her sandals on the wrong foot, try to build in ‘reminders’ that will help her do it right. For example:
  • DVC Ch37 Page 336-1.png
    Sew a colorful bow on the front of her dress. DVC Ch37 Page 336-2.PNG Draw half an animal on each sandal or shoe so that the 2 halves make the whole animal when she puts them on right.
  • For the child who has difficulty reaching his feet, a stick with a hook may help.
An all-purpose tool
a boy pulling on pants using a stick with a hook.
for pulling
for pushing
DVC Ch37 Page 336-4.PNG
a girl pulling on pants using an all-purpose tool made from a stick with a comb attached to one end.
comb

Ideas for shoes

  • For toes that claw up, or bend under, you can cut off the top of the shoe, or use a sandal.
  • DVC Ch37 Page 336-6.PNG
    a high-top shoe with big eye holes and the toe cut out.
    big eye holes
    Velcro straps (instead of buckles)
    a sandal with velcro straps instead of buckles.


  • Tennis shoes or other shoes that open all the way down to the toes are easier to put on.
  • Velcro straps for easy fastening can make many children more independent in dressing. DVC Ch37 Page 336-10.PNG A leather or cloth loop sewed on the heel makes it easier to pull on shoe.
    DVC Ch37 Page 336-9.PNG
    Consider using shoes that fit loosely— about one size too large.


  • If the foot stiffens downward so much it is hard to get a shoe on, you can cut the back of the shoe open and put the foot in from the back.
DVC Ch37 Page 336-11.PNG
a shoe with the back cut open that laces up the back and the front.
Cut open here.


For special footwear designs for feet that do not feel, see "Footwear for persons without feeling in their feet". For shoe adaptations for braces, see "Shoes and Clogs for Metal Braces".



This page was updated:19 Jan 2018