Today’s education system includes much more than just the basic curriculum. Schools now understand that learning is not just about strict timetables and bookish knowledge. The expansion from classroom to outside the box education has happened over a decade and yet some parts are still left to improve. The inclusion of technology in education has increased the need for more skill development in children with autism. Teaching practical life skills at schools as well as home can improve the possibility of children with autism facing challenges with ease in the future.
The in-process minds need to strengthen the critical executive functions. Such skills aren’t the kind that children with autism can adapt from day-to-day regular routines, in fact, these skills have to be fostered to help children with autism in their lives. Evolving world demands adaptation skills in respect to the future. From the advantages to the individual positive effect, increasing learning about a wider society with sensitivity is a life skill. Life skills help children with autism in development on an everyday life basis.
Life skill also refers to the skills needed to make the most out of life. Life skills add value to children with autism in order to develop. There are so many difficulties that children with autism face as they are unable to perform basic life skills. Autism is a lifelong condition and kids with autism require basic skills in order to lead a normal life. Autism shows repetitive behavior and difficulty in understanding that means children with autism need extra care and additional teachings of life skills. Every child is different in their own way, and the need for the skills can also vary from child to child. In fact, different life skills can be interpreted and used differently by different individuals. Life skills equip children with autism to thrive in the world beyond, which is indeed a necessity in this 21st-century life. The term life skill is broader and is usually used for any kind of skill needed to deal effectively with the challenges that come along in the near future. The answer to what is a life skill, what are different life skills, and the importance of life skills will help to understand the need for life skills. Let’s answer the questions: –
What are life skills for children with autism?
A life skill is any capability or skill that can help children with autism to develop the future required skills that can help them to increase their potential. Life skills can improve the physical as well as intellectual skills of children with autism. Life skill saves children with autism from facing any social problem or interpersonal problem he/she may face while growing up and in the future. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools have recognized the fact that it is a necessity to develop scholastic as well as co-scholastic areas and hence has taken action to make life skill education a compulsory element in the curriculum. The gap between basic functioning and additional capabilities is bridged by life skill education. One of the top institutions, Lexicon has shown great progress when it comes to adding life skills to the education system. The Lexicon Rainbow school has come up with inbuilt curriculums that help children with autism and their parents to learn and teach life skills.
What are the different life skills for children with autism?
Life skills can be segregated into three basic broad categories:
- Thinking skills – the logical ability to use the brain in enhancing analytical ability, thinking creatively and critically.
- Social Skills – the interpersonal skills, basic interactive skills advocacy skills, co-operative skills.
- Psychological Skills – the skills involved in increasing comfort level including self-management in the matter of feelings and emotions resisting pressure.
The three categories are further divided into specific skills that are included in the life education system. Here are the other life skills: –
Critical thinking – the ability to analyze information in an objective manner. Critical thinking can play an important role in health by helping to recognize and assess the factors that influence the behavior of children with autism.
Self-awareness – self-awareness is a recognition of the structure of character, strengths, and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Self-awareness in children with autism can improve their thought process and can bring clarity to their thoughts. Self-awareness can also help children with autism in dealing with stress when under peer pressure.
Effective communication – Communication is a daily need and during the initial growth of children with autism. Communication includes both verbal and non-verbal ways of interaction. The thin line between being opinionated and being arrogant should be fostered in children with autism at an early age. Social interaction can help in the elimination of public fright and interactions with children with autism of introvert behavior.
Maintenance of interpersonal relationships – A positive approach added to basic interactions can leave a positive impact on the other person. Maintaining relationships with social interactions can help the mental and social growth of the child.
Problem-solving – A skill that can enable children with autism to deal with problems in daily routine life. The early stages of childhood are important segments to develop problem-solving ability in children with autism. Problem-solving can bring significant skills when it comes to the unresolved cause of mental stress at the early childhood stages.
Self-dependency – Children with autism are going to grow and likely to take on education outside of house doors in order to pursue their careers. Indulging children with autism in self-dependency from childhood can prepare them with a sense of responsibility with daily living skills. Teaching helps parents to eliminate the spoon-feeding ability of children with autism. Small things at home can come up with more effective results later in the future. Self-dependency can prevent future irresponsibility in children with autism.
Finishing tasks – A closure to the mind is observed as a necessity in children with autism. Children with autism tend to question each and every aspect of the topic they find difficult to understand. Helping them in understanding why completing their tasks is important, can also result in finding answers to their questions. Questions help children with autism grow and so does closure to the topic helps them to have a conceptual understanding with clarity.
Basic etiquettes – New things amuse children with autism and their behavior towards adapting anything new completely depends on how they are being taught or nurtured behavior-wise. Teaching kids basic speaking manners, public manners, and other general life-related manners will reflect in their overall personality. Informing children with autism about etiquettes can build a composed reflection of themselves and help them achieve etiquettes which in return can increase confidence.
Adaptability and flexibility – Toddlers and growing children with autism often face issues with the changes in their appearance, surrounding, or self-doubt. Here adaptability plays an important role. Adaptation is a basic rule of survival which will help children with autism in understanding the changing and demanding norms of the surrounding. Adaptation and flexibility go hand-in-hand. Flexibility here does not refer to physical flexibility, instead refers to behavioral flexibility that is demanded in the future aspects of children with autism.
Why is Life Skill or Life skill Education important for children with autism?
The changing environment around children with autism, demands important fostering of life skills in them. Meeting day-to-day challenges faced by children with autism, education-wise or in their general lives is made easier by life skills. To manage with the increasing pace and changing modern life norms, children with autism need life skills such as the ability to deal with anxiety and stress as well. Even toddlers with autism often find themselves in the dilemma of a running race and are unable to maintain themselves, this is where life skills play a role and help them to manage their dilemma and overcome it. Supportive parents and teachers engrave confidence and impact a child’s actions leading to gradual and better development of the child. Life skills also help children with autism in cultural awareness and cooperation with other people from different backgrounds. Diversifying allows children with autism more sense of creativity and imagination to flourish in the developing stages and build up networking skills which are a key to survival in today’s world. Overall, life skills play is of essential need and the introduction of life skills in the educational curriculum for children with autism can bring a major breakthrough in the developmental stages of children with autism.