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Teaching Life Skills and Assistive Technology

Bright Hub Education says that “Training in life skills is one of the important interventions for people who have a [developmental] disability. Life skills include self-care skills such as eating, dressing and bathing, as well as other daily living skills such as shopping, banking, phone use and housekeeping. Being independent in these skills enables a person to live independently.”

Here are some techniques from Bright Hub Education for teaching life skills to people with developmental disabilities:

Task Analysis:
Task analysis is a method of breaking down learning tasks into small steps. When presenting a new skill, show one step at the time. Each action should be demonstrated and completed before moving on. Many life skills require several steps to complete, so teaching a new skill requires time. For example, when explaining how to make coffee, demonstrate how to put the water into the coffee maker repeatedly until that skill is mastered. Once the learner has mastered one step, the next step is introduced.

Practicing in Real Situations:
According to Etram News Service, “Many studies have shown that life skills training in real life situations is the most effective. In this method, the learner is taken to a real life situation, such as the shopping mall or bank, where he/she is asked to do a task. The trainer goes with the learner and prompts him/her whenever required until the learner is confident to do the task without support.”

Use of Social Stories:
Social stories are visual stories that portray life situations. They can be used to discuss various aspects of life skills, including the right way to respond in a situation.

Information gathered for this article by our in-house Assistive Technology Consultant.