Hesperian Health Guides
Suggestions for Dressing
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- 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.
- 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:
- For children who have poor finger control, make a simple tool to button and unbutton buttons.
- 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:
- For the child who has difficulty reaching his feet, a stick with a hook may help.
|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.
|This keeps the legs relaxed and gives her better control.|
|elastic waist bands||
overlap fly without buttons or zipper — or with Velcro
|cloth loops to help pull up||wide sleeves||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.||Velcro tabs instead of buttons|
|Press-together studs (snaps) are easier to open and close than buttons.||If buttons are used, use large buttons and make buttonholes extra big.|
end bent to curve around hand
|thin, firm strip of metal (from old tin)
strap for holding on hand if hand is very weak
round piece of wood
thin, stiff wire
|Sew a colorful bow on the front of her dress.||Draw half an animal on each sandal or shoe so that the 2 halves make the whole animal when she puts them on right.|
|An all-purpose tool|
Ideas for shoes
- For toes that claw up, or bend under, you can cut off the top of the shoe, or use a sandal.
- Tennis shoes or other shoes that open all the way down to the toes are easier to put on.
- 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.
big eye holes
|Velcro straps (instead of buckles)|
|Velcro straps for easy fastening can make many children more independent in dressing.||A leather or cloth loop sewed on the heel makes it easier to pull on shoe.|
|Consider using shoes that fit loosely— about one size too large.|
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".