Functional Living Skills

All students have daily living activities that they need to participate in during the day. For young kids, these skills involve things like toileting, washing hands, eating, and dressing to go outside or home. For older kids, transition planning becomes more and more important and we can look at skills the student needs to function in daily life including things like writing checks and managing money, laundry, cleaning, kitchen skills, vocational skills, and any other skill the student needs to live as independently as possible.
Think about how your class routine can or already does incorporate functional living skills and provide opportunities for kids to work on these skills throughout the day.

Preschool and Younger Elementary
  • Work on washing hands before eating, after using the bathroom, or after messy play or projects
  • Give kids “jobs” to do in the classroom such as washing the tables or board or get small brooms and dustpans kids can use
  • Work on dressing to go outside and home.
  • Make sure to give kids enough time to try before doing things for them
  • Work on self feeding using utensils and cups.
    • Use adaptive utensils, plates, and cups if needed

Older Elementary and Middle School
  • Start making the transition to prevocational skills.
  • Include jobs or tasks that require following a pattern or directions.
  • Continue working on self help skills if needed to encourage kids to be more independent.
  • If possible to do safely, introduce simple kitchen activities
  • Work on sorting and matching.
    • Use real life items to match. For example, gather different size food storage containers and match lids to the correct container.

Middle and High School

  • Start thinking about potential jobs and the skills that they will require
  • Work on functional living skills including kitchen activities, laundry, shopping, money management, etc.
  • Work on functional writing including writing and signing name, writing a check, filling out simple forms, etc