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15 Life Skills to Learn in Special Education


Help your child live and work in the community successfully.

Click on an item in the set below to see more info.

What Are Life Skills?

Life skills must be taught to students in special education to help them become independent and successful. Life skills instruction combines academic, daily living, occupational, and interpersonal skills to teach students how to live and work in the community.

1. Managing Finances

Count money. Makes correct change. Keeps to a personal budget and makes responsible financial decisions. Manages a checking and savings account. Calculates and pays taxes and bills.

2. Maintaining a Household

Deals with renting and leasing. Performs house-keeping tasks and home maintenance. Purchases, plans, and prepares balanced meals. Stores food properly.

3. Maintaining Personal Needs

Dresses appropriately. Obtains health care. Cares for personal hygiene. Avoids substance abuse. Maintains physical fitness, nutrition, and weight.

4. Staying Safe

Can identify unfamiliar odors and sounds. Identifies and follows safety signs. Reads and understands simple safety rules. Shows knowledge and ability to evacuate a building in an emergency.

5. Being a Responsible Citizen

Shows knowledge of citizens' rights, the law, and how to follow the law. Can report a crime. Gets legal aid. Votes.

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6. Enjoying Leisure and Recreational Activities

Participates in group and individual activities. Can choose and plan activities, social events, or vacations. Enjoys hobbies, music, sports, arts and crafts.

7. Traveling Within the Community

Can tell the difference between right, left, front, back. Shows knowledge of traffic rules and safety. Understands how to use a map and different modes of transportation.

8. Achieving Self-Awareness

Acknowledges emotional, physical, and psychological needs. Can identify interests and abilities. Demonstrates proper care of devices and sensory aids.

9. Growing in Self-Confidence

Can accept and give praise and criticism. Develops feelings of confidence and self-worth. Describes others perception of self. Wears appropriate clothes to fit social and work situations.

10. Becoming Independent

Accepts responsibility for actions. Can cope with changes in a travel schedule and getting lost. Chooses friends. Gets to school and work on time. Travels independently around the community. Can complete tasks without help.

11. Communicating with Others

Shows listening and responding skills. Demonstrates knowledge of social and conversational skills, both verbal and nonverbal. Makes and keeps friends.

The set is continued below.

12. Exploring Occupations

Explores job possibilities and can classify jobs into different categories. Identifies the rewards of work, personal values, and societal values of work. Identifies occupational interests and needs. Can make realistic job choices.

13. Seeking and Securing Employment

Can search, apply, and interview for a job. Knows how to adjust to changes in employment and work demands. Shows knowledge of performance standards. Shows stamina and endurance to complete tasks.

14. Demonstrating Appropriate Work Habits and Behaviors

Follows directions and accepts supervision. Work with others. Demonstrates knowledge of safety. Recognizes the important of attendance and showing up on time. Meets standards for high-quality work at an adequate rate.

15. Learning Occupational Skills

Takes advantage of prevocational trainings, in-school work experiences, and volunteering in the community. Obtains special vocational training and specific on-the-job training.