This is the day that I share a tip based upon my experiences as a pediatric speech-language pathologist and a mother of a child with special needs.
Today, let's talk about buttons and zippers.
Teaching my daughter with Down syndrome and hypotonia to button and zip was very difficult. Fine motor has always been a hard area for her since the beginning. Truth be told, at age 10 she still struggles with buttoning and zipping. We're still trying to master it.
Here's some ways I have worked on buttoning and zipping with Jaycee over the years. Her little brother grew up with these things too and happily used them to learn these skills as well.
1. The Basic Skills Board from Melissa & Doug
I was so excited when I found this puzzle. All the pieces come out for a regular puzzle plus there's the bonus on each piece to work on zipping, snapping, buckling, buttoning, and tying. This puzzle was extremely hard for Jaycee as a pre-school student. I had to help her complete it hand-over-hand. My son had better success with this puzzle without needing help.
2. A Dress Up Doll
3. The Dexterity Vest
This vest is probably the most successful thing I found with Jaycee. She did better with life-sized buttons and zippers. These buttons are actually a little bigger than most helping her have more success. To me, it was more helpful for her to practice an item she could wear too. This item was purchased from School Specialty. They sell a variety of these vest but this is a combination one that she eventually learned to do.
Learning to button and zip takes time, patience, and practice. These are just some of the specific things we tried to help Jaycee learn these skills. Improving overall fine motor skills will also help children be ready to learn how to zip and button.
Come back next Thursday for another therapy trick!
This information is provided for educational purposes and not intended for therapeutic advice.