Ok, so I admit it. As a teacher I hated teaching hygiene skills. I am somewhat of a germaphobe. I like things to be neat and clean. Keeping track of 5-10 hygiene kits meant LOTS of mess and potential for germs to spread. I felt I had to:
- Make sure the bathroom was clean enough to practice tooth brushing
- Make sure the kits dried out so mold and mildew did not grow
- Keep students from painting with toothpaste and licking deodorant sticks
It was all more than I felt I could keep up with.
Oh, and track all that data. Yep, these were IEP goals.
- How much prompting was used? Was it faded?
- Were the top AND bottom teeth brushed?
- Did deodorant end up in the right place? Under BOTH arms?
As a mom of a son with significant needs, I hate having hygiene taught to Jimmy in school. I feel, as his mom, I am best suited to teach him these skills. I can ensure things are clean and can follow up with more care if needed. (I always brush his teeth myself after he is done.) We also put deodorant on when it is appropriate, like getting dressed in the morning.
Ok, so I know what some of you are thinking: “But, these things are often NOT done at home.” This often occurs because the student has behaviors that impede the parents from being able to do this with their own children. This happens more often than most people think. For this reason, I do still advocate teaching hygiene skills in school. Sometimes, we as teachers have more adult support and more strategies at our disposal to help deal with these difficult behaviors. The goal should always be teaching the skills in a systematized way so that the student is then able to reach independence and complete the task at home. Sometimes this can take years.
So, I do still hate having hygiene taught in school, but I get it. And, I am thankful for all the teachers out there, who may be germaphobes like me, who push through and teach our (my) kids to “stop licking the deodorant” and “don’t put that on your shirt.”
Here is a FREE social story to download and make this task a little less yucky :). It is a social story about picking your nose. Yup, we all have those students.
Click below to download your FREE social story. I also have an entire unit on teaching students about Good Hygiene in my TPT store. It has almost 100 pages of material to help you teach this, oh so important, topic.