3 Ways to Help Achieve Life Skills for Your Child with Autism

It's important to teach our child important life skills that they need to succeed. Life skills are some of those items we do every day in order to get ourselves prepared and ready for the day. Getting dressed, brushing our teeth, showering, putting on our clothes- those are all important life skills. 

Every child accomplishes different milestones in different timeframes and it's important you set realistic goals based on YOUR specific situation, not necessarily someone else's measure of success. Below I have provided three ways to identify what life skills to work on and how to go about it.

The first step is to identify where your child is at now. Where are they in terms of milestones? What is it that they CAN do well? Which life skills can they do fully independently already? Before you get started, you have to figure out where they are presently - so you know what the next steps are. So once you find out where they are, figure out how do I get them to that next level. 

A great way to go about doing this is to break it up by morning, lunchtime, and dinner time routines so it's easier for you. 

For example, with Zachary we began with the morning routine. 
We had to go through getting up and brushing your teeth. Learn the steps 
1) Open Toothpaste
2) Put on Toothbrush
3) Brush Teeth

After we mastered this, and Zachary was going about this routine independently, we moved on to how to brush your teeth properly. 
The second step is to choose one area first so you're always consistently moving towards independence. Identify one area in each part of the day to work on so you aren't spreading yourself to thin. 

The last step, is to make sure you are giving them praise throughout the process.  Sometimes we get so caught up in making them reach independence that we forget to praise them for doing a good job. Say things like, "you were able to get your toothbrush this morning!" All of the steps leading up to the completion of the goal also count- this is the beginning of independence. Every stage of working towards that higher level of independence is success so we as their cheerleaders, parents, and role models have to let them know that we're proud of them all along the way so they can appreciate the value of doing it on their own.

Every child is different, every child learns differently, and every child moves on to different levels at different times so comparing them to anyone else is not going to help you.