As special education students transition into adulthood, it’s important that they master the essential life skills which will help them to succeed. Practicing these skills in a school setting can be beneficial, as teachers and other staff members are available to provide support and guidance when needed.
Life skills such as budgeting, problem-solving, time management, and communication are all essential for successful living, yet these may not come easily to those with special needs. By introducing these concepts in a supportive learning environment, students can gain the confidence necessary to apply them in real-world situations.
For instance, by having access to educational materials on personal finance topics like budgeting and saving money, special education students can learn how to set financial goals and make responsible decisions.
Learning about life’s basics, such as how to plan meals and take care of personal hygiene, is also essential. Through structured and supportive life skills courses in school, special education students can gain the knowledge they need to be successful in the real world.
Practicing LIfe Skills in School
Life skills practice in a school setting can help to create an atmosphere where special education students feel safe and confident enough to try new things without fear of failure or ridicule. In addition, it allows them the opportunity to build relationships with their peers and other staff members while working on life skills together.
This type of environment provides socialization opportunities that are critical for overall development, giving special needs students the chance to learn life lessons that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Skills to Practice at School
While there are many life skills that can be practiced at school, below is a list of some of the most commonly practiced. Not all life skills are appropriate for school inclusion for all students, so be sure to choose the ones that will work best for your students and the school.
Also, remember that just because no one has tried to help students practice a particular skill at school in the past does not mean that you cannot introduce the skill now or in the future.
For example, a walk around the block can be a great way to practice many of the life skills your students need to master.
Creating a small business for your classroom (like a coffee cart) is another great way to help students practice everything from managing money to filling orders to ordering supplies to customer service and more. If your class cannot have a school-wide small business, consider creating a small economy system in your classroom to give them the same skills practice that they would have with a larger-scale operation.
The Anytime Activity Life Skills Bundle is also a great way to introduce life skills education in your classroom without having to do a ton of prep work!
Life Skills at School
– cooking (try these visual recipes to make this life skills practice even easier and more fun!)
– washing clothes
– folding clothes
– balancing a checkbook
– writing out a check
– managing finances
– brushing teeth
– wiping down tables
– grocery shopping
– reading medicine labels
– addressing an envelope
– putting a stamp on an envelope
– putting a letter in the mailbox
– how to read menus
– reading community safety signs
– using building tools (hammer, screwdrivers, etc.)
– first aid
– reading maps
– personal safety/self-defense
– carrying ID
– ordering at a fast food restaurant
– communication skills
– how to make coffee and tea
– team work
– keeping a calendar
– opening different types of containers safely
– putting things away in their spot
– fire safety
– setting a table
– washing and drying dishes
– putting dishes away
– trick or treating etiquette
– counting money
– giving change
– calculating tips
– public speaking
– critical thinking
– decision making
– customer service
– food safety
– hair brushing
– stress management
– social media savvy
– life planning
– goal setting
– interacting with animals (class pets are a great resource for this as are visiting therapy animals)
And so many more!
Overall, life skills practice in school is essential for special education students. It gives them a chance to learn life lessons without fear of failure or ridicule and provides socialization opportunities that are critical for overall development.
With the proper support and guidance, life skills can be successfully taught to special needs students — setting them up for a successful transition into adulthood. Be creative and think outside of the box to provide opportunities for your students to practice those skills and gain the confidence to replicate them when they are not in the school setting.