Eight Crucial Life Skills and How to Implement Them
Learning essential life skills requires the attention of well-trained and experienced special education educators, family, and support members. The list below summarizes what we feel are the crucial skill sets for an individual to work on to obtain a level of independence and life satisfaction that is within their reach. That is our mission.
Let us begin with a list of eight life skills that we feel are essential for our students:
- 1Self-care – These are daily routines that must be created and rehearsed. They include personal daily hygiene, proper nutrition, exercise, getting dressed, and table manners.
- 2Prevocational – Being asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?" is a luxury we take for granted, along with many of the skills required to realize our dreams. Special needs children must be taught how to look, apply and interview for a job. This cannot be assumed, nor can it be assumed that they will understand what is required of them.
- 3Vocational – Once they do start working, our students will need to apply the behaviors we have taught them. They will have to follow directions, be punctual, understand how to work with those in management and be team players.
- 4Daily Living – Regardless of their prospects of employment, our children rely on us to send them out into the world with practical living skills. Their safety is of the utmost concern, whether they are traveling or at home. An example would be how well they understand how to operate an oven or other electrical appliance safely. Also, they must be able to care for their home, save money and shop for themselves.
- 5Community – Children with special needs challenges will end up in a wide variety of community environments; as a result, the development of social skills are necessary to better serve their growth over time.
- 6Math – You may be thinking how challenging this subject is to you. You may be right. However, if you can count money or tell time, you can count those as further luxuries you take for granted. These are real-life decision-making skills that must be passed on to our students.
- 7Shopping – Now we're talking about having fun, right? Maybe but we cannot assume that our young ones will know how to create a shopping list or use their money to purchase what they need.
- 8Cooking and Laundry – These are skills that set a foundation for self-sufficiency. While it may seem reasonable to not have to go through the struggles of teaching them these skills at home, for their lifelong benefit, learning how to cook even the smallest of meals will lead to a feeling of empowerment for them as well as liberation some of the responsibilities as parent/caregiver.
Our life skills routine is established from day one. All students are taught to follow directions and enabling them the importance of gaining someone’s attention before speaking to them. Even at recess, life skills continue to be taught, from sharing to teamwork and understanding rules. Personal accountability is the framework we set for our children. They must respect property, their own and that of others. We try to support the student to complete the required task in a timely manner. Calendars and other methods of keeping track are not only used by students. We rely on them regularly ourselves!
Our mission at Harbor School is to help all of our special needs students with learning, social, language, behavioral, and other disabilities. Our highly skilled staff are committed daily to helping each student reach their full potential.
We would be more than happy to discuss your child's specific needs and challenges, so please call us at 732.544.9394, or request a tour at Harbor School in Eatontown, NJ. We are located just minutes off of the Garden State Parkway at exit 105 and conveniently located off of Route 35 and Route 36 in Monmouth County, NJ.
— Anne Gunteski,
Principal-Harbor School, Eatontown, NJ