ADLs

IADLs

Activities of daily living, or "ADLs," are the tasks that fill our everyday lives - ones that give us a sense of independence and fulfillment. ADLs include:

  • Dressing

  • Bathing

  • Grooming and Hygiene 

  • Eating and Feeding

  • Sleep and Rest

  • Functional Mobility

Instrumental activities of daily living, or "IADLs," are a higher-level ADL skills that allow not only for one to care for themselves, but to live independently. IADLs include but are not limited to:

  • Community mobility

  • Caring for others or pets

  • Food and meal preparation

  • Home management skills

  • Shopping and managing finances

These activities encompass a complex variety of skills. As occupational therapists, we are able to address skill development in these areas by offering a variety of approaches tailored to suit your child's individual needs. Let's take a look at a few ADLs and what skills an occupational therapist may address.

Feeding & Eating

Eating Noodles

Some skills required include:

  • Grasping skills (utensil use)

  • Fine motor skills (package and object manipulation)

  • Sensory processing skills (accepting a variety of textures, smells, sights and tastes)

  • Body awareness skills (bringing the food or utensil toward the mouth)

  • Oral motor skills (being able to break down a variety of foods, having adequate lip closure)

Some skills required include:

  • Grasping skills (utensil use)

  • Fine motor skills (package and object manipulation)

  • Sensory processing skills (accepting a variety of textures, smells, sights and tastes)

  • Body awareness skills (bringing the food or utensil toward the mouth)

  • Oral motor skills (being able to break down a variety of foods, having adequate lip closure)

Dressing

Some skills required include:

  • Sequencing skills (socks on first, then shoes)

  • Sensory processing skills (tolerating a variety of tactile input)

  • Body awareness skills (finding the sleeve holes in our shirt)

  • Fine motor skills (buttons and zippers)

Functional Mobility

Doctor Talking to Boy in Wheelchair

While mobility for children may vary, some skills required may include:

  • Core strength

  • Upper extremity strength

  • Gross motor coordination

  • Balance and vestibular processing

  • Body and environmental awareness

  • Visual perceptual and processing skills

Bathing

Bath Time

Some skills required include:

  • Fine motor skills (opening/closing the shampoo or conditioner)

  • Sensory processing skills (tolerating the head being tilted back, tolerating the temperature of the water and feel of the towel and soap)

  • Sequencing skills (first shampooing, then rinsing)

By addressing these skills, we can provide our kids with a stronger sense of independence when completing self-care and life-skills activities.