Definition of condition:

Activities of daily living are activities we all do to take care of one's own body. These activities include bathing and showering, dressing (including completing zippers, snaps, buttons, and shoe tying), toilet training, brushing hair, and brushing teeth. Any difficulty doing these skills, and not doing these skills correctly by the expected age, is a dysfunction.

Examples include; not being potty trained by the age of 3, not tying shoes by the age of 6, not taking off clothing by age 3, and difficulty with brushing teeth, etc.

Symptoms associated with the condition:

Signs of difficulty with activities of daily living include not being able to perform daily self care activities by the age most children can perform the same activity.

Daily activities include not being able to:

  • Take off or put on clothing
  • Brush teeth
  • Brush hair
  • Wash face
  • Wash hands
  • Place deodorant
  • Cut and clean nails
  • Use lotion

Toileting skills include not being able to:

  • Pull pants down and up
  • Get on the toilet
  • Wipe

Eating skills include not being able to:

  • Hold a spoon, fork and/or knife to eat
  • Get food to the mouth or into the mouth
  • Hold a cup to the mouth

Bathing skills include not being able to: 

  • Get into the shower or bath
  • Wash hair and body
  • Open shampoo bottles
  • Dry off hair and body

Bowel and bladder management skills include not being able to:

  • Hold urine or stool until on the toilet
  • Empty completely on the toilet during the day and night time

General difficulties can include:

  • Not being able to pay attention during a task
  • Difficulty with motor parts of a task
  • Difficulty with planning the steps of a task
  • Difficulty understanding the need for a task

What to expect at a rehab evaluation:

During the occupational therapy evaluation, the occupational therapist may ask the parent or child questions about skills, watch the child do specific tasks, and have the parent fill out forms about what the child is able to do. Testing may be done to gain information on the child's strength, moving skills, or thinking skills.

Common rehab treatment interventions:

Common treatment strategies include helping the child understand and perform the steps of the activity, strategies to help the child perform the task, strengthening or stretching exercises, and developing ideas for practicing and adapting the environment in which the child is required to perform the task.
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