How to Write Statements for Daily Living Skills: Hygiene and Toileting

These skills are vital for independent living

IEP
It's important to try and tailor your education plan to your students' individual needs. Getty Images

If you are writing an Individual Education Plan to ensure that your students will be successful, make sure that your goals are based on the student's past performance and that they are stated positively. Goals/statements must be relevant to the student's needs. Start slowly, choosing only a couple of behaviors at a time to change. Be sure to involve the student, which enables him to take responsibility and be accountable for his own modifications.

Specify a timeframe to reach the goal to enable you and the student to track and/or graph his successes.

Daily Living Skills

Daily living skills fall under the "domestic" domain. The other domains are functional academics, vocational, community, and recreation/leisure. Together, these areas make up what, in special education, are known as the five domains. Each of these domains seeks to give teachers a way to help students gain functional skills so that they can live as independently as possible.

Learning basic hygiene and toileting skills is probably the most basic and important area that students need to achieve independence. Without the ability to take care of her own hygiene and toileting, a student cannot hold a job, enjoy community activities, and even mainstream into general education classes.

Listing the Skill Statements

Before you can write a hygiene or toileting—or any IEP—goal, you should first list the skills you and the IEP team feel the student should achieve.

For example, you might write that the student will be able to:

  • Use facial tissue to blow or wipe her nose
  • Indicate the need to use the bathroom
  • Use the toilet with some assistance
  • Use toilet hygiene independently
  • Understand the need for toileting hygiene
  • Use or requests personal hygiene
  • Manipulate bathroom fixtures
  • Participates in the washing of face and hands
  • Cover his mouth when coughing or sneezing

Once you've listed the daily living skills statements, you can write the actual IEP goals.

Turning Statements Into IEP Goals

With these toilet and hygiene statements in hand, you should begin to write appropriate IEP goals based on those statements. The BASICS Curriculum, developed by special education teachers San Bernardino, California, is one of the most widely used curriculums nationwide, though there are many others that can help you to craft IEP goals based on your skills statements.

The only thing you need to add is a timeframe (when the goal will be achieved), the person or staff members responsible for implementing the goal, and the way the goal will be tracked and measured. So, a toileting goal/statement adapted from the BASICs curriculum might read:

"By xx date, the student will respond appropriately to the question 'Do you need to go to the bathroom' with 80% accuracy as measured by teacher-charted observation/data in 4 out of 5 trials."

Similarly, a toileting goal/statement might read:

"By xx date, the student will wash her hands after specific activities (toileting, art, etc.) as directed with 90% accuracy as measured by teacher-charted observation/data in 4 out of 5 trials."

You would then track, probably on a weekly basis, to see if the student is progressing in that goal or has mastered the toileting or hygiene skill.