Personal hygiene skills is something that many of us take for granted. If you do not pick up on social cues, and your interoception is different because of your neurodivergence, you may not notice these things.

But, others will! That’s for sure. And some things, like managing your medication, can be complete barriers to independent living if you cannot do this yourself.

Brightly colored toothbrushes in a mug promote health and hygiene.

Originally, I had this giant article with a list of over 300 independent living skills. Many of you said it was too overwhelming. So, I broke it down into smaller chunks. This way, teachers and parents can use it as a guide for what their child needs to be independent in this area.

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Or, how to know what supports they may need as an adult. Of course no IEP can have 40 or 50 goals, and certainly not that many transition IEP goals. But, I think most of us would agree that if you are going to live independently, you need these skills.

As with any skill, you can insert it into the IEP goal formula with the student’s specific criteria and that will make it measurable.

Worksheet for creating IEP goals related to health and hygiene.

Personal Hygiene IEP Goals

Not all of these personal hygiene IEP goals must be done by the student. If a student cannot do laundry, they must know how to obtain a laundry service.

If a disabled adult is in a supported living environment, these hygiene IEP goals may be adjusted a bit.

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  1. Can dress self (including underwear, socks, and tied shoes) in a reasonably acceptable fashion.
  2. Can bathe self
  3. Knows how to use soap, shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream, other common personal products appropriate to sex.
  4. Brushes teeth regularly.
  5. Showers or bathes regularly.
  6. Keeps hair clean and neat.
  7. Dresses in reasonably clean clothing.
  8. Can read clothing labels and determine which clothes are to be dry cleaned, hand-washed, and machine-washed.
  9. Can sort and machine-wash clothes at a Laundromat using appropriate temperatures, amounts of soap, bleach, etc.
  10. Can dry clothes in a dryer using appropriate settings.
  11. Knows the cost of and can budget money for special hair and nail care (i.e., permanents, braiding, manicures, etc.).
  12. Can iron clothes (does anyone still do this? I left it in anyway)
  13. Can sew on buttons and make minor clothing repairs (or knows not to wear torn/damaged clothes)
  14. Can hand wash items following the instructions on the label.
  15. Knows appropriate clothing to wear for almost all occasions.
  16. Knows approximate cost of dry cleaning and can arrange for dry cleaning.
A laundry basket full of clothes in front of a white wall to promote hygiene.

Health Related IEP Goals

Managing medication is a big one! I would make that a priority if independent living is a goal on your IEP. Being able to manage your own medication is a necessary health related IEP goal if a student wants to live on their own.

That’s not to say they have to do all of these skills independently. Supports can be put into place for supported living as an adult.

  1. Can open childproof container.
  2. Knows not to take someone else’s medication.
  3. Knows that drugs, alcohol, and tobacco may be harmful to your health.
  4. Knows parts of the body and sexual functioning.
  5. Knows how pregnancy occurs.
  6. Knows how and where to get emergency health care.
  7. Can recognize and describe symptoms of colds, flu, and other common health problems.
  8. Knows what to do for a minor cut, a minor burn, a splinter.
  9. Understands the risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
  10. Understands the risks of drug and alcohol abuse.
  11. Can take own temperature using a thermometer. 
  12. Can nurse self through cold or flu.
  13. Recognizes/makes correct use of “over the counter” drugs for pain, stomach upset, diarrhea, fever, cold/allergy.
  14. Can call a doctor or dentist and schedule an appointment.
  15. Can read a prescription label correctly and follow the instructions.
  16. Can take medication without supervision.
  17. Knows how to dispose of drugs in a safe manner.
  18. Knows how to use what is included in a First Aid Kit.
  19. Knows how to obtain a copy of personal immunization records and medical history.
  20. Knows methods of birth control and how to obtain birth control devices.
  21. Knows how to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
  22. Has selected a doctor, dentist or clinic for regular health care.
  23. Understands the importance of medical insurance.
  24. Is conscious of diet, exercise, good eating habits, and other preventative health measures.
  25. Can determine when to go to an emergency room and when to make an appointment with the family doctor or clinic.
  26. Has obtained medical insurance, understands concept and how to use
A person is organizing pills in a plastic container to meet health goals for their IEP.

Menstruation IEP Goals

  1. Can use sanitary napkins or tampons appropriately and in a timely manner
  2. Understands period “accidents” and what to do
  3. Can manage menstruation “prep” and awareness, as in, has tampons or pads in her backpack most of the time, so as not to get caught off guard
  4. Understands OTC and Rx medications related to menstruation and how to use
Sanitary napkins and wipes on a pink background promote health and hygiene.

Personal Hygiene Care IEP Goals

  1. When requiring supervision or assistance, indicates in an acceptable manner, the need to go to the bathroom.
  2. When independent in toileting, closes the bathroom door and/or stall for privacy.
  3. Remove, lower, unfasten, and/or open appropriate clothing before toileting.
  4. When appropriate, either raise the toilet seat for voiding or use a urinal.
  5. Sit on the toilet seat for eliminating or for voiding.
  6. Wipe appropriately after voiding or eliminating.
  7. Flush the toilet after wiping, or flushes the urinal after voiding.
  8. Wash and dry hands after toileting.
  9. Dress and/or arrange clothing after toileting.
  10. Locate and use a bathroom or public restroom independently and safely
  11. Put on and remove clothing with no fasteners.
  12. Put on and remove clothing with zippers.
  13. Put on and remove clothing with snaps.
  14. Put on and remove clothing with buttons.
  15. Put on and remove clothing with Velcro fasteners.
  16. Adjust clothing when necessary.
  17. Choose clothing appropriate for the weather.
  18. Choose clothing appropriate to the time of day, situation, and occasion.
  19. Control the water flow or adjusts the water temperature for washing hands and face.
  20. Wash and dry hands and face.
  21. Wash underarms and uses deodorant.
  22. Brush and floss teeth and rinse mouth.
  23. Clean and care for nails.
  24. Wipe and blow nose.
  25. Take a sponge bath.
  26. Bath in a tub.
  27. Take a shower.
  28. Wash and dry hair.
  29. Comb, set, and/or style hair or have it done professionally.
  30. Shave face or body hair when appropriate.
  31. Use facial blemish treatments when needed.
  32. Apply makeup when appropriate.
  33. Use and care for eyeglasses, hearing aids, and prosthetic devices when appropriate.
  34. Care for herself during menstruation.

IEP Goals Addressing Sexual Relationships

Sexual relationships and sexual health are a part of every adult’s life. Whether or not we want to think about it or talk about it, we must.

If you are expecting that your disabled child will live independently, this is something they likely will encounter–sexual urges and the opportunity to act upon them.

We must send them out into the world prepared. Sure, it feels weird to put this on an IEP, but non disabled kids get sex education and we don’t think twice about it.

A man and woman embracing in front of a building.

Sexual and Family Relationships IEP Goals

If you’re looking for some resources on discussing sexuality with your disabled child, I have a separate post on that. I felt that sexual relationships are a personal health concern which is why they are in this list of personal health IEP goals.

  1. Understands what sexual, attraction, feelings are, how to appropriately act upon them
  2. Knows resources for birth control. 
  3. Knows the location of family planning office. 
  4. Knows options for birth control.
  5. Knows what “no” means and how to respect it
  6. Understands that if they are in a homosexual or interracial relationship, they may be met with hostility in public, and how to handle that
  7. Knows how pregnancy happens
  8. Knows options for pregnancy.
  9. Knows dangers of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco during pregnancy.
  10. Knows what adequate prenatal care is.
  11. Knows where to obtain prenatal care. 
  12. Knows not to leave child without supervision.
  13. Can provide appropriate supervision for child. 
  14. Is comfortable being alone with child.
  15. Knows how to bathe child and change diapers.
  16. Knows how to access community resources (WIC, PHN).
  17. Knows how to engage a child in appropriate play (reading, singing, drawing, building things, etc.).
  18. Knows the available options for regular childcare.
  19. Selects appropriate people to periodically babysit with the child. 
  20. Knows where to go for help if child is sick.
  21. Can select toys appropriate for child’s age and developmental level.
  22. Can discipline without using extreme measures (hitting, screaming, withholding necessary food or care).
  23. Can make arrangements for regular childcare.
  24. Takes child to childcare on time.
  25. Picks child up from childcare on time.
  26. Spends “quality” time with child each day (talking, playing together, listening to the child, etc.).
  27. Knows where to go for help with parenting.
  28. Knows what behaviors are appropriate for the child’s age and developmental level.
  29. Knows the costs and benefits of each child care arrangement available.

I hope this list of health and personal hygiene IEP goals puts your student on the path to the most independent living as is possible.

Two white crocheted baskets sit on a shelf.

Occupational Therapy IEP Goals

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