Children with autism are affected by the disorder in different ways, but many of them struggle to build needed life skills. Each child will have a different pattern of challenges. They may be strong in one area, such as following a recipe meticulously, but struggle in other areas like using money wisely. However, there’s a good chance that your child can catch up in these areas with enough motivation and the right supports. So how do you encourage your child to develop life skills for autism?
This covers a wide range of skills including socializing, maintaining personal health, succeeding at hobbies or jobs, and keeping up a home. The skills your child needs to focus on depends on where they fall on the autism spectrum and your and their goals. Some of these skills could include:
- personal hygiene
- safety practices
- healthy eating habits
- constructive ways to disagree with others
- expressing their hopes, dreams, and emotions
- money management
- fulfilling chores
- building relationships
- driving a car
How to Teach Life Skills
Some children can pick up a lot just by watching their parents. However, your child may need more direct instruction. For instance, if you want them to learn about bills and balancing the family checkbook, invite them to help. Detail-oriented children may enjoy crunching numbers and learning where the budget is going.
Does your child not want to pick up a skill? See if you can find out why. For instance, if they’re resisting bath time, you could see if they have sensory issues (hate the slimy feeling of soap) or don’t understand why it’s necessary. For some children, building it into the nighttime routine is enough of a ‘push’ to get them started. Other, older children may be swayed by a logical explanation of health problems if they don’t keep clean.
What If They Need More Help?
You may need to repeat these life skills lessons a number of times for the child to learn. However, sometimes that’s not enough. Your child’s treatment team can help you troubleshoot. However, some things to try include:
- writing down a checklist for their morning routine
- trying different products to work around sensory issues
- pointing it out when life skills are demonstrated on their favorite TV shows
- play-acting social scenarios so they know what to expect and how to react
Life Skills and Autism Spectrum Disorder
Is your child with autism struggling with certain necessary skills? Are you unsure where to begin? A professional assessment is a great start. At Skills for Autism, we will assess your child in many dimensions, from reasoning ability to communication. We can then turn this evaluation into a custom-built treatment plan. Contact us to book an appointment today.