There is a lot of debate in education about the need for or value of teaching life skills to students with special needs. Some people think there are better uses of instructional time, while others say that teaching life skills should be a top priority in EVERY classroom, not just special education. Where do we stand at AdaptEd? Well, we wouldn’t be writing this if we didn’t think it was essential for students with special needs.
If you ask most kids (and probably some adults), they might tell you that being an “adult” means getting a job, or getting married, or buying a house. While all of those things can be true, none of them are very possible without life skills. But what exactly ARE life skills? This is another reason why teaching life skills is such a “controversial” topic in special education because there isn’t exactly a definitive list of skills to teach. And that’s mainly due to the fact that most every culture, family, and individual values different things in life, which leads to very different emphases being placed on various life skills.
For example, money is not valued the same way by everybody and thus the emphasis placed on learning money management skills varies greatly. The same goes for other aspects of life like personal appearance, cooking and cleaning, and even personal hygiene.
BUT, that’s not going to stop us from making resources that we feel will help MOST people with special needs improve their livelihood AND give them a better chance of having a successful future. For example, we generally feel that having better personal hygiene will give you a better chance of making friends, getting a job, in addition to staying healthy. So that’s why we made a social narrative that teaches the importance of maintaining good personal hygiene.
At AdaptEd, we make life skills resources that are designed to help students and people with special needs live their lives more successfully, independently, and healthily.