60 Life Skills to Teach Your Child with Special Needs

tape-edges-2-683x1024When my son turned 9 years old I came to a startling wake-up call.  I realized that because he has autism, sensory processing disorder, and global delays we would need to really focus on life skills or he would continue to fall further and further behind.

These skills, which are taught more loosely to his developmentally-typical peers … the same skills that some kids just observe and soak in naturally in their environment … these would need to be taught explicitly to my oldest son for him to learn them and to accept them as part of his routine.

For those of you who don’t know, A is almost 13 years old and this is a list of life skills that he has accomplished in the last few years.  Many of these are still on his “practice” list and others he has down pat – but I’m sharing this with you today just in case you are in a place where I was just a few years ago.  You need to start somewhere – so whatever stage your child is in, I’m hoping this list will give you a launching off point to help you narrow down just a few skills they could be learning right now.  The key is to be intentional in whatever you teach.

Life Skills

  1. Potty train
  2. Wash hands
  3. Brush hair
  4. Pick out clothes
  5. Dress self
  6. Button clothes
  7. Shower self
  8. Brush teeth
  9. Wash face
  10. Choose healthy food/snacks
  11. Prepare snacks for self
  12. Prepare lunch for self
  13. Prepare breakfast for self
  14. Prepare food for others and self
  15. Heat up food in microwave
  16. Put food away in proper place
  17. Clean off table after meal
  18. Put dishes in sink
  19. Load dishwasher
  20. Unload dishwasher
  21. Put on shoes
  22. Tie shoes
  23. Take trash out of their bathroom
  24. Wipe down bathroom sink
  25. Wipe down toilet
  26. Wipe down mirror
  27. Clean up toys and put in toy bin
  28. Put away pencils and notebooks after school
  29. Ride a bike
  30. Bike and Scooter Safety (Where Helmet)
  31. Take a walk – learn street safety
  32. Mail a letter
  33. Retrieve mail out of mailbox
  34. Vacuum
  35. Sweep
  36. Spray mop
  37. Dry mop
  38. Answer the phone
  39. Dial the phone
  40. Memorize phone number
  41. Memorize address
  42. Learn how to count money
  43. Purchase items at a store
  44. Shop for groceries
  45. Order food at restaurant
  46. Use a computer
  47. Type an e-mail
  48. Use a TV (remote)
  49. Pour liquid into a glass
  50. Learning to read an indoor/outdoor thermometer
  51. Dressing appropriately to the temperature
  52. Water Safety
  53. Learn to swim
  54. Make Bed
  55. Change Sheets
  56. Learn to Use Washer & Dryer
  57. Dust furniture
  58. Wipe Walls & Railings in Home
  59. Read Street Signs
  60. Read a Map

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