Teach a wide variety of life skills in the community. Community life skills touch on almost every aspect of a person's life and include banking, shopping, transportation, eating out, following community laws, gaining employment, handling money, safety and leisure activities.
Teaching community life skills the right way to kids with disabilities can help to provide the basis for a good quality of life. Community life skills help kids with disabilities learn and master the critical skills they will need to be successful in life. That is especially important as kids move toward adulthood, when they will need to access community services independently. Knowing community laws, handling money, knowing how to be safe and accessing transportation are examples of some of the skills that kids with disabilities may need to be specifically taught in the community.
Choose community life skills for the individual's needs. For example, younger kids will benefit from many skills involving money, safety and ordering in a restaurant; however, skills such as requesting a job application or leaving a tip at a restaurant may be more appropriate for older kids. Additionally, the Institute for Community Inclusion recommends that considering family culture and needs should help guide student support.
Provide training in a wide variety of settings. Training across settings helps to provide for a wider generalization of skills. For example, leisure activities could occur at a store, a theater, a restaurant, a city park or even a museum. Eating out should occur at a variety of restaurants rather than only one or two. In accessing public transportation, kids with disabilities would benefit from different modes of transportation to a variety of destinations.
Simulate community life skills in a classroom setting when first introducing skills. The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center recommends mastering skills in a simulated setting to prepare for practice within the community. Simulating life skills includes rehearsing them with teacher modeling and guided practice in a simulated setting.
Role-play life skills in the community. Role-playing should occur after skills have been mastered in a simulated setting, according to the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center. The role-play involves the learner actually practicing the skills with the direct supervision, guidance and feedback from the teacher. Plan on several opportunities for community role-playing.
- National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center: Teaching Life Skills Using Community-Based Instruction
- National Secondary Transition Technical Assisance Center: Teaching Functional Life Skills to Youth With Disabilities
- Institute for Community Inclusion: Barriers to Transition Planning for Parents of Adolescents with Special Health Care Needs
- Photo Credit Shopping image by Bianca from Fotolia.com
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