Life skills are exactly that, skills that we need to live our life. Children with disabilities often need help navigating the world. A life skills classroom is to provide children with the necessary tools to live a life in independence. While this cannot always be obtained, independence should be the ultimate goal. These skills can start slowly. For example, helping a child use the toilet independently, use a spoon to feed themselves, or use a cup to drink. In some cases teaching a child to walk, talk or communicate using a device. Assisting a child in daily routines like putting on a pair of shoes or jacket, brush their hair and teeth or shower.
Life is a social event therefore a good life skills classroom should guide children in the social aspects of school. Including a child in general education is used to test the waters of self control and physical tolerance. Learning to sit in an instructed environment for an extended period of time using self control is a huge challenge for many children. Teaching a child to walk the halls of a school with order, as well as an assisted walk to the cafeteria to make lunch choices is usually the norm. Working with a child in music, P.E., or art class to make friends and learn the rules of the different classroom is a worth wild skill as well.
Life skills are different for every student. A level of necessary instruction is always needed when a child first enters the classroom. An Individual Educational Plan (IEP) is formed for each student and it is up to the teacher to carry out that plan. Life skills are also learning educational basics. Some children may struggle with basic content such as colors, shapes, or counting. These should be the basics of a life skills classroom. Some children will excel in the more basic education, and that is where the IEP comes in to play. This can be manipulated to conform to the needs of each child. For example, using basic counting and singing in a group setting, but challenge the child academically when the child is worked with alone. If a child struggles emotionally, or behaviorally the child should not be set back in academics. A Life skills classroom has children on many differently academic levels and it is the job of the teacher to monitor each child’s progress.
Life skills are a vital part of a child’s curriculum and it is essential to the child’s well being and future. Obtaining independence and control of one’s on life is a skill that can be taught and nurtured throughout a child’s life.