Why Teaching Life Skills Is Very Important To Your Child With Autism? 5 Practical Teaching Tips.

During my journey with my son Niam Jain Autism Artist , I have often struggled with the fine balance between Education, ABA Therapy and Teaching Life Skills.  In the early years, I struggled with trying to keep Niam up with other typically developing

children, spending hours creating modified educational curriculum, spending every available minute teaching him. I remember giving Niam Math Worksheets to complete in the back seat while I was driving and, bringing reading books to read on vacation in between playtime on the beach. I was determined to teach him education consciously neglecting teaching life skills. When I think about those times, I realize I wanted my son to have the same access to  education as I received throughout my life comparing my achievements in education to his potential.  I was brought up in an environment where education was the most important element for success.Teaching Life Skills did not carry the same prestige. As the years progressed and, as Niam entered into his teenage years, I have come to realize education is NOT the most important factor for success.

In fact, TEACHING  LIFE SKILLS is the most important factor for independence.

Regardless where your child is on the spectrum, teaching life skills is extremely important.  During my research, I was surprised to read these staggering statistics.

  1. Independent living for adults with ASD is shockingly low with reports indicating that less than 5% live on their own.
  2. Many individuals with ASD require 24-hour care (45%) and live with their parents (45%).
  3. Reports indicate that very few adults (less than 10%) with ASD have necessary independent day-to-day household skills such as laundry, chores, and meal preparation.

In response to these statistics, I  was on a mission to teach my son life skills and to build a FREE  functional skills database of  real materials to be used with individuals of ASD in order to increase and optimize their capacity for independent living. The materials can be used at home, a school environment, Respite Programs and Functional Skills Classes to promote independent living by using the different materials including video modelling techniques developed by Able2learn. In addition, it is possible to teach these skills amongst others during your day to day activities. It may take a bit more planning, however teaching functional skills can become part of your daily routine.

Following Is A Small List Of  Some Of The FREE Materials Available On Able2learn.

I urge you to explore the site to find the materials suited for you.

  1.  Teach Cooking Skills  through FREE Step by Step Video Modelling Cooking Videos on our YouTube Chanel.


2.Download FREE  step by step visual recipes available in two levels.

3. FREE Task Analysis Sheets to Teach Functional Skills like how to set the table, wash dishes and, hang up clothes.

4. Learn all about Teaching Life Skills about the grocery store through FREE Flash Cards.  

 Practical Tips: How To Teach Functional Skills As Part Of Your Daily Routine.

I am an ASD Mom. I know there is so much you want to teach and do for your child, but the reality is there is just not enough time in the day.  Here are some practical tips to help you teach functional skills as part of your daily routine.

    1.USE COOKING TIME TO TEACH COOKING SKILLS                                                                                                                                  This time can be used to teach a variety of skills. In the morning, I get up early to make breakfast. By the time Niam is ready there is not enough time for him to help me out with breakfast or for me to spend time to teach him. It is busy and hectic in the mornings.   The night before I have Niam pack his snacks for lunch, fill his water bottle and put it in the fridge, slice fruit.  It has become routine for him. He is learning. On the weekends, I have more time. My elder son will be going away to University and he has no cooking skills either. On weekend mornings, both are in the kitchen learning to make different breakfasts. For Niam I download a visual recipe and Rohan picks up very quickly. It has become a great family activity.


When I am folding the laundry , I give Niam a few pieces of clothing to hang, fold and put away. Not many because he hates it. Who loves laundry? I am folding laundry anyways and even if I can get Niam ‘s attentions span for 10 minutes its great.


After dinner, it is always a battle to make the boys put away their dishes. Both boys are the same,  I really do believe not wanting to put the dishes away or clean the dishes  has anything  to do with Autism. I use this opportunity to teach Niam to unload the dishes, load the dishes and most important, not to run the dishwasher until its full which could take a few meals.


We have lots of laundry at my house. You would think I had an army of children.  Niam helps me bring all the laundry to the laundry room, sort the clothing from whites and darks. He loads, put the laundry detergent in, and , his most favourite part, turning on the laundry machine.

If you take some time to think about it , there are many opportunities in your day to day routines you can optimize to  start to teaching functionals skills. You do not have to start of complicated.  I started with simple tasks like, tidying up toys, putting the lid on the tooth brush, how to fill a water bottle etc.


Make a list of all the functional skills  ( tasks) you would like to teach.  From the list break down the tasks to small simple steps for your child’s level and learning ability.  You can work on multiple tasks at the same time, but choose one skill in each task.




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Purchase Niam Jain Autism Artist New Painting: 48″x48″   Have an original in your house.

I am pleased to announce Niam had a sold out show at the Faculty Club in Toronto.


Check Out Able2learn for free autism educational materials, including workbooks , aba materials, social stories, pecs, flashcards, data sheets and visual recipes.



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