How to Teach Children with Autism to Tie Their Shoes

Children with autism learn differently than other children, and they may have more difficulty learning how to tie their shoes. Tying shoes is not only a matter of coordinating the hands, but also getting the patterns correct and pulling tightly enough to keep the shoes comfortable. Children with autism might not have motivation to tie their shoes or may lose patience with the process. Parents need to teach children the appropriate methods not only to tie the shoes, but to remember the process and make it a habit. This goes for all children. Using the bunny-ear method is an easy way to coordinate children’s fingers and provides a mental image to remember.

One, Two, Tie My Shoe is a great product for helping children with autism tie their shoes. It is a kit with colorful split rings that hold the “bunny ears” together so they can make the bow and then tie their shoes. Children can make the first “bunny ear” but then let go of it when trying to form the second one. These colorful rings hold the “bunny ears” in place so task can be completed. This method is great for hand eye coordination and fine tuning motor skills. Something I have found helpful is to put a solid piece of paper, (I use red or yellow) behind the lace being tied. This way they can focus on the task at hand and not be distracted by the rest of the shoe. Please see picture.

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