Teaching Life Skills to your Child with Special Needs

Students with special needs have various likes and preferences that will help shape and direct the planning process before they graduate from high school.  Here are a few tips to help guide them into the community and prepare them for an easier transition.

  1. Writing a Resume:  In their resume you will include any volunteering they have completed, any special skills they demonstrate, or any organizations they belong to.  You can also include any specific classes they have taken that would help them at their job.   
  • Filling out a mock/real job application:  You can print off job applications and help your child learn what is important information to remember and write down on the application.  Practicing this will help them become more independent and to understand what information should be included on an application.  
  • Mock Job Interview:  If your child is interested in working at a specific job site, you can sit down together and do a mock interview asking questions relevant to that job.  This way they get an idea of how to respond and what to expect from the interview.  If videotaping this mock interview doesn’t make them too nervous, re-watching their interview can show them how to improve and what to change. 
  • Grocery Shopping:  Going to the grocery store together is an awesome way to develop a sense of independence for your child.  You can give them a short and simple grocery list and have them walk independently around the store finding those items.  What a way to develop a sense of freedom and gain experience.  
  • Reading a Restaurant Menu:  Reading menus from various restaurants not only practices reading comprehension but helps your learner to understand the cost and value of foods they like.  You can start off by saying if you had $15, what could you buy from this menu?  This can put into perspective what they can get for that dollar amount and how to change their decisions based on the cost of the items. 
  • Understanding how to use Public Transportation:  This is where you can teach your child how to read a map, understand a train or bus schedule, consider how much money it will cost to ride on public transportation and who to pay.  As a family, you can plan the route, and go together until your child is comfortable going alone when traveling to and from school and/or work. 


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