Promoting Good Hygiene Routines:
Our apps can be used for many purposes, as we've hopefully demonstrated over the course of the summer! Some of the best uses for our First Then Visual Schedule HD app involve those tasks that are short-term in nature and require step-by-step guidance. Since maintaining proper hygiene can be challenging at times for many individuals (for a variety of reasons), today's "Tips & Tricks" will touch upon using FTVS HD to encourage appropriate hygiene routines.
Showering, toileting, handwashing, and tooth brushing are all great hygiene activities that have concrete steps which can be translated easily into a visual, digital presentation. First Then Visual Schedule HD can be used to capture an image of each step (there are some great visuals to be found using the Internet search feature!) and then paired with audio and/or video in order to further model the activity.
These schedules can be as detailed or simple as the individual needs. Activities like toothbrushing can be timed using the timer features, and can be further broken down into timed steps (for example, after the preliminary "wet toothbrush" and "put toothpaste on toothbrush" steps, one step can be "Brush Top Right" paired with a 30 second timer, "Brush Bottom Left" paired with a 30 second timer, etc., for a total of 2 minutes - the recommended length of time for tooth brushing). Handwashing schedules can be created in the same fashion, using a 30-second timer for the "scrubbing" step of the handwashing schedule. You can even record a short song in place of the visual label to make the activity more appealing and interesting. This is an excellent reinforcement tool when using the schedule to promote independent toileting too!
Note: If using the app for showering purposes, do NOT allow the individual to take their device into the shower with them! Instead, try going over the schedule several times with the individual to familiarize them with the steps, then place the device in a safe place within hearing distance. Set adequate timers for all steps in the showering schedule, allowing for ample "wash time." Then, you can enable alarm sounds for the end of each step. If you have a clear shower curtain, this will allow the individual to follow along with the steps visually. A caregiver can also sit in the room to touch each step as the timer runs out, offering an audio prompt to move onto the next step (especially effective when coupled with the alert sound for the timer).
Whether you're using First Then Visual Schedule HD to promote independent hygiene skills or using it as a reference to keep an individual requiring physical assistance calm through the activity (so they know what's coming next), this app has everything you need for a successful foundation and skill building opportunity.
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