Buttons and Zippers

Building Independence in Self Care

Up to now, we have always taken the easy way out on pants, shorts, shirts and shoes.

Elastic waist pants & shorts.  Over-the-head shirts.  Velcro shoes.

Avoiding buttons, zippers, snaps and tying.

Not any more.

Here is a way that Alma, one of John’s occupational therapists, told me to help him practice big-boy waistlines.

Using an old pair of pants (or shorts), pull back all the excess fabric (actually cut it off if necessary) around a flexible box.

And I got “upgraded” pants and shirts for him.

So now John gets to practice daily the button at the top (more challenging than shirt buttons) and zipper (harder than a backpack zipper).

And John “gets” to wear a button-down-the-front shirt every day now.

He protests, and tries to negotiate “no buttons today”.

Mom isn’t listening.

These pants you see have adjustable elastic tabs & buttons on the inside waistband.

So they don’t slide down, and we can delay on the belt (the next thing to add).

Also, John is getting more agile with his backpack zipping.

He is actually using the backpack now, as if he is curious about what is in it.

This is a new thing.

We have “practiced” backpack stuff, but never before did John show any interest or self-determination about what was in it (or not).

It seems that now he cares.

We are also working on the shoe tying, a story for another time.

So, dear parents, keep raising the bar on self care.

And allow more time for them to do it themselves, right?

Peace be with us,


I am a mom of learning differences, an educator and a former corporate warrior. I help you understand what to do to help your children with learning differences prepare for today so that they can be ready for life. I share with you all that I have learned. We always use a team to have fun and learn together.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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One thought on “Buttons and Zippers

  1. Glad I found this, say your workshop at ADDA SR this weekend, loved it. My 9yr old daughter wont wear anything with buttons, buckles or laces either. I try to force them on but she has a fit and then everyone thinks I am mean, including her 🙁