Shaping Clothing Challenges

  • Situation

    My son has a need to wear only shorts every day. This need goes into the winter and life becomes difficult. I worry regarding recess, walking and waiting for the bus and any time he is out. I worry about how this is looking in school as well. What can I do to get him to wear long pants?

  • Summary

    There are a number of different options to try but one that may help is to try “zip off legs” pants. After having him wear the pants with the leg zipped off – zip the bottom of the leg on but fold it up. Starting in an environment that is most comfortable for him, gradually increase the length of time he is wearing the pants as well. Shape his ability to tolerate the longer pants. Shaping is a technique which conditions a person to develop a new response with successive approximations of the desired behavior. By slowly adding material to his current pant length you may shape his ability to tolerate wearing the longer pants.

  • Definition

    Shaping is a behavioral technique which helps a person to develop a new response with successive approximations of the desired behavior.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 3-5, 6-10, 11-13
    • Planning Effort: Low
    • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Pre-requisites

    necessary materials

  • Process

    1. Purchase “zip off legs” pants for your child.

    2. Allow him to wear them with the legs zipped off for several days.

    3. Zip on the bottom of the pants and fold them up so they are a bit longer. You can use Velcro to keep them folded up.

    4. Reinforce his wearing of the longer pants with a highly desirable item.

    5. After approximately 1-2 weeks fold the legs down another inch or two. Continue these steps until he is wearing long pants.

    6. Continue with reinforcement for wearing longer pants and transition to other pants.

  • Documents and Related Resources



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