tying shoes / visuals ideas? | Autism PDD


We did not like the Red Lace, Yellow Lace book. First of all, it seemed backwards when you started out. I  learned to cross the left lace in FRONT of the right lace. This one does the opposite - crossing the right lace in front of the left lace. My ds just could NOT get this and I knew that making the two bunny ears was going to give him problems.

We broke it down into steps - just did that in this last month, actually! He would do one step until he got it right. The first step after making the "X" to then "going fishing" with his hand through the hole to get the one end - well, that took a week. The rest took only a few days! After the first tie was done, I had him wrap a loop around his right thumb, then hold the loop at the bottom with his left thumb and forefinger and pull his right thumb out of the loop. Then he was to take the other lace and wrap it part-way around the loop, then push that lace through the hole that is made when you wrap it around the loop. Then he moves hiis left fingers to pull the lace through while moving his right fingers over the original loop. Pull on both and - VOILA! He has tied his shoes.

This has worked for my ds well. We actually USED the red lace, yellow lace book for this - because it was helpful to have two different color laces for visualization. But we didn't use the rhymes at all. I too, wanted my ds to not learn by doing the bunny ears method - it is just not used very often in my experience.

It took my ds about 2 weeks of practicing most days for about 10-15 minutes to get this. He isn't perfect at it, but man oh man - he is SOOO much better at it now than I thought he would be!

Hi, I am looking for a easy, simple way to teach my son how to tie his shoes using visual support. He suffers for low muscle tone in his fingers. I have looked at the book that shows step by step instructions, but have heard some negative things about this. I have also thought about using video-modeling, which I think he would love since he loves vidoes, but I need a way to re-enforce what he just saw, and follow thru with the actual teaching/learning how to do this.

Any suggesstions, ideas about how you taught your kiddos how to do this,  I would love to hear them.




Here's a past thread you may find helpful. 

http://www.autism-pdd.net/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=18534&am p;am p;KW=tying+shoes

I like your idea of using video modeling.

Good Luck!

WIMomOf239635.4102662037My son learned at OT with a poem.
I'll have to ask him what it is, you'd think I'd remember I heard it for so long. It was a lot of work and I wish it was simple and easy. It was soooo tempting to just stay with velcro...

Is this professional help free? Can you post your ideas online??

ABA is $$$$~Verses Preschool Power Video ~FREE =

Just curious.


Is this professional help free? Can you post your ideas online??

ABA is $$$$~Verses Preschool Power Video ~FREE =

Just curious.



The professional help may or may not be free.  If it's something quick, general and easy then yes it's free.  If someone was interested in employing my full time and services then of course, since this is my living, there would be a charge.  I have posted ideas to other threads online but I didn't to this one because there is really so much that can be done to tackle the tying shoes task that it would be way too much typing and information to put online here.  Proper ABA can specifically look at your child's challenge with the task and develop a tailored and dynamic intervention, and it can be a very effective solution.  This may be necessary to achieve results.  Certainly, a free video, as the one you detailed, is a great resource and may solve your challenge.  It is a more general resource and may not be as effective as good ABA, though.  Obviously, one-to-one skills training with a live person interacting with your child is probably the most effective and comprehensive type of intervention, and, of course, probably the most intensive and costly.  As for my services specifically, I aim to be affordable and work on a sliding scale for rates.  I try to be very flexible, supportive and personable in my work.  It may not be necessay to get professional assistance for your child because free resources, such as videos or this message board, may solve your challenge.  I think that's great if it does!  Professional help is here to fill the need if something more is required.

Thanks for your comment and questions!

- Dave Gaines, B.A.

  Behavioral Consultant


I remember learning how to tie my shoes, I was very slow to learn it, and usually sometimes I learn stuff quickly, other times I learn stuff slowly, it all depends if I am naturally good at it or not.

Well... from what I read kids dont learn how to tie using the bunny loop method or whatever anymore?? I am sooo old fashioned! I learned the loop, swoop and pull, bascily the bunny method but with different words. It took me a while and so mom would show me daily before school very slowly, I would learn by copying her step by step super slow. I think she taught me and my sister at the same time, even tho my sis is 2 years younger then me, so I started a little late probably cause mom didnt think I could do it at the normal age. I learned when I was about 5-6, my sis when she was about 3-4. Heh... talk about bruised self esteam, I think she even got it down before I did!

In the end I still ended up cutting corners and even as an adult I have shoes that remain tied and I like to slip them on, not my steel toe work boots or my hiking boots which need to be tight, but my sneakers that I use just to go outa the house and over to friends houses remain tied even now and I slip them on and off, only on rair occasion tieng them.

Sorry... I always go off track on the topics. My mom and I worked alot during the days she did a step, I copied, and we did this over and over till I got the steps down right, I had a hard time, but really tried, got frusterated, and so mom would give me a treat, some desert I liked, a little bit, to keep me motivated and happy.

I wish ya good luck, this can be tough on some kids, and may require time, positive rfeinforcers all the way! Itll feel great for the BOTH of you when he gets it!

Tieing shoes is a common task that is worked on in ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) programs for children on the Spectrum.  I have done a lot of work with this task and would be happy to assist you with it if you are interested in professional help.  Feel free to contact me if you wish.  Good luck with it.

- Dave Gaines, B.A.

  Behavioral Consultant


Preschool power has a video that teaches how to tie shoes in "More Preschool Power" ..you can look on ebay or go to you local library and check them out for FREE!

We loved them as all of them have little ones modeling/learning how to do self help..like putting on jackets, buttoning up shirts and making simple crafts, and foods. My dd just loved them! Good luck:)


 I would like to teach him the way I was taught and how I've taught my other kids to tie their shoes and that is by making the bow and having the other string go around it and push it thru, provided he can do it this way. I will look on Amazon to see if I can find the book, but I would love to hear how you changed the words. 

Thanks everyone for your advice. That's what I love about this board!

Have a great day!


As I posted on the aforementioned link. One book that I've found VERY helpful is the book "Red Lace, Yellow Lace", it's got a great rhyme that's easy to learn (red lace, yellow lace look what you can do, put a smile on your face, learn to tie your shoe!), and it breaks it down step by step. It does the method where you make two loops and tie them together, but you can edit it easily (I can get the book from the house it's at to see what I changed if anyone wants to know), to do the method where you make one loop then pull the other lace through the "bunny hole".

The book is the size of a clipboard, and only the top half is the actual book, the bottom half is a "shoe" with removeable laces. And you've guessed it, the laces are red and yellow. It's essentially a perfect ABA breakdown of shoe tying. Here's a link to the book:

http://www.amazon.com/Red-Lace-Yellow-Mark-Casey/dp/08120655 30

Let me know if you need help otherwise, Good Luck!I love sketchers for girls...just slip them on..not sure if they have them for boys this style? I also like the Striderite velcro...cant wear them out for nothing! I get them on Ebay..much cheaper and they come in wide sizes too:) Sarah has the book Red Lace~Yellow Lace Hardbook that taught how to tie page by page but it I hated it..it was the bunny ear style which almost nobody does it that way.
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