our services:

activities of daily living

activities of daily living (ADL’s) 

Brushing our teeth, tying our shoes, and buttoning a shirt are commonplace daily activities for most of us. However, not everyone finds these tasks to be simple. At Giant Leaps, we have successfully worked with many children, teens and young adults who have had difficulty learning these skills.

First we identify what is the underlying cause limiting your child’s ability to learn to care for themselves. Is it difficulty with fine motor skills that is causing your daughter or son trouble with making a loop on her/his shoelace? Is a gross motor challenge making it difficult for your teen to participate as she desires in varsity level sports? Or is it a sensory processing challenge that is causing picky eating? Perhaps it is a combination of a few of these areas making daily tasks tricky.

In order to facilitate learning for our patient, we break down each targeted activity into easy-to-learn steps. In addition to using sensory integrative and biomechanical strategies, we incorporate cognitive strategies, role modeling, pictures of the individual performing each step, environmental cues, and repetition to foster independence in activities of daily living.


instrumental activities of daily living (IADLS)

For successful transition to independent adulthood, children, teens and young adults also execute higher level skills involved in self-care known as Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). 

IADLs often involve more complex thinking and multiple steps than ADLs. Examples of IADLs include: community integration like navigating public transport; caring for others such as helping with younger siblings, grandparents, or pets; participating in meal preparation tasks; other household chores like setting the table or washing dishes; learning to save and manage money; learning an emergency contact number; and participating in shopping tasks. These are all important skills for becoming independent young adults.

Successful participation in IADLs has a strong link to executive function skills. To develop IADL participation and independence, strategies such as breaking down tasks into smaller steps, cognitive strategies, environmental supports and parent/caregiver education are used. Additionally, we will often support underlying executive functioning difficulties that may be impacting independence such as attention, meta cognition, planning and organizing, problem solving, and time management.

Schedule an Evaluation

If you’re concerned about your loved one’s ability to perform ADL or IADL items, please contact us to schedule an evaluation

ADL task examples

ADL tasks can include:

brushing teeth

washing hands


perineal care (wiping)


dressing (donning / doffing cloths)

combing / brushing hair


Instrumental ADL task examples

Instrumental ADL tasks can include:

Managing finances (budgeting, paying bills, managing bank accounts)

Grocery shopping and meal preparation

Transportation and driving

Managing medications (filling prescriptions, organizing medication schedule)

Housekeeping and maintaining cleanliness

Managing communication (using phones, email, or social media)

Managing household chores (laundry, dishes, basic home maintenance)

Managing technology and appliances (using computers, smartphones, or household devices)

Managing personal documents and paperwork (organizing records, filing taxes)

Planning and organizing activities (scheduling appointments, making travel arrangements

the impact of impaired Activities of Daily Living?

When children struggle to complete ADL tasks it can impact many different areas of their success. While different expectations are normal across various ages, challenges in personal hygiene, and difficulties in independence and self efficacy can lead to various quality of life difficulties up to and including safety concerns, caregiver burden, and begin to impact how a child or adult feels about themselves in a negative way. As children develop becoming more independent in self care can be a foundation for developing a sense of responsibility and self-esteem. For children with different types of delays, increasing self-care skills can help the individual experience an improved quality of life and participate to the greatest extent possible.


please contact us to begin