Training of Activities of Daily Living (ADL)


Activities of daily living, also referred to as ADL.  These activities are the basic tasks of everyday life, and they include tasks such as eating, bathing, clothing, and toileting.  For most children, these tasks are learned relatively easily and become a part of a daily routine.  For children with special needs, these tasks might be more difficult and might require constant reminding or rewards for completing the activities of daily living.

For children with special needs such as motor difficulties, buttoning a sweater might be a very challenging ADL.  For special needs children who have trouble interacting socially, they might not care that their peers are performing a certain activity, and they are not motivated to complete the same activities of daily living.

Occupational therapists work extensively for special needs children to improve their ADL.  Occupational therapists help children with special needs to become physically, psychologically, and socially independent by working towards specific goals.  For special needs children who have difficulty brushing their teeth, an occupational therapist might teach steps towards achieving this goal.  These steps might be broken down into very small pieces, such as reaching out their hands, touching the toothbrush, grasping the toothbrush, picking up the brush, and so forth.

Basic ADLs (BADLs) consist of self-care tasks, including
  • Bathingand showering (washing the body)
  • Dressing
  • Eating/feeding (including chewing and swallowing)
  • Functional mobility (moving from one place to another while performing activities)
  • Personal hygieneand grooming (including brushing/combing/styling hair)
  • Toilet hygiene (completing the act of urinating/defecating)
Instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) are not necessary for fundamental functioning, but they let an individual live independently in a community
  • Housework
  • Taking medications as prescribed
  • Managing money
  • Shoppingfor groceries or clothing
  • Use of telephone or other form of communication
  • Using technology (as applicable)
  • Transportation within the community
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