Gateway School Life Skills Program –Teeth Brushing

Activities of Daily Living at Gateway School–Teeth Brushing

learning teeth brushing

Our mission is to help prepare our students for a full and meaningful life. In addition to traditional academics, we include instruction in practical and functional daily living skills in order to prepare students for future adult situations in the home, community, and workplace. As part of our Life Skills Program, students at Gateway School experience and are encouraged to learn and gain confidence in various activities that they will encounter in their everyday lives.

Daily Living Skills

Our Life Skills Program includes functional living skills instruction that will help prepare students for a more independent adulthood. Training in daily living skills such as self-care, personal hygiene, laundry, cooking, and cleaning takes place in our ADL (Activities of Daily Living) classroom which includes a fully functioning kitchen, laundry, and living area.

Some examples of these activities of daily living include:

  • Tooth brushing
  • Hand and face washing
  • Dressing
  • Shaving
  • Using deodorant
  • Hair brushing
  • Toileting
  • Shoe tying
  • Safely using a stove and toaster for basic cooking
  • Making the bed
  • Using a vacuum, dishwasher, and washing machine

Step by Step: Teaching Special Needs Students Teethbrushing

When teaching daily life skills, we break down each skill into smaller tasks and then develop a sequence of behaviors for the student to follow according to the student’s individual needs and abilities. Students learn and practice each separate task in sequence until they have mastered the step-by-step plan for each skill. Each skill may include a long list of several discrete steps for the student to learn, memorize, and perform.

For example, a tooth-brushing sequence might begin like this:

  • Pick up toothpaste
  • Open toothpaste
  • Put down cap
  • Pick up toothbrush
  • Squeeze toothpaste onto the toothbrush

The steps are typically taught in their natural order. We provide assistance for any steps that students can’t complete on their own. After the first step is completed, we prompt the student for the next step. Prompts can be physical shadowing to help the student perform the movement, or verbal cues or gestures to jog the student’s memory of the next step. Gradually, the prompts become more “hands-off” until the student has memorized and mastered the steps independently. Positive reinforcement happens after each correctly performed step. In this way, the student will eventually learn to perform all the steps independently and master the life skill.

​Fostering Independence

From being responsible for their own belongings to preparing and eating breakfast together, students get to practice many daily living skills in Gateway’s ADL room. Our Life Skills Program offers students the opportunity to practice and gain confidence in many skills found in a home or apartment environment. The step-by-step sequence of all these skills can be utilized and practiced safely at home with parents. Our hope is that these daily living skills will support the student throughout life and help foster a greater level of independence in adulthood.

Request a Tour of The Gateway School

Since 1980, RKS Associates has been a leader in providing the needs of special education students and helping children grow to their fullest potential. Each of our schools seeks to empower each student with skills for life, work, and recreation; we believe that every individual possesses the dignity and potential to contribute to a better world.

As part of the RKS Associates Network of schools in New Jersey, the goal at the Gateway School is to assist all students in becoming as independent as possible and help them get ready for the future. Located in Carteret, NJ, we serve individuals throughout Central and Northern New Jersey. Contact us at our main office at 732.541.4400 with any questions or schedule a private tour of the Gateway School today.

Chris Hoye, Principal-The Gateway School of Carteret, NJ