Do you know, 1 in 10 children lives with disorder and special needs?

The life of every child with special needs is not easy and full of challenges in every aspect of life.

However, it’s every responsible special needs teacher, parent, and caregiver’s responsibility to help their children with special needs thrive both academically and in their personal lives.

You can achieve that by teaching them important and functional life skills, which not only help children with special needs to thrive in their day-to-day life but also improve their quality of life in every aspect.

In this blog post, we will be sharing the importance of teaching life skills to your special needs students and how you can teach them effectively.

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So, without any further delay, let’s get started.

Why You Should Teach Life Skills to Your Special Needs Students?


Teach Life Skills


Children with special needs in special education programs most often struggle to learn functional life skills. Learning this skill is very essential for special needs children because it will help them to improve their abilities at the individual level to achieve greater heights.

Teaching life skills also benefits special needs students to stay away from any negative behaviours such as- being aggressive unnecessary, self-harming tendencies, etc., and help them to replace those bad habits with appropriate life skills.

For example- You can teach them to express what they want properly to their teachers, parents, or caregivers, which reduces the chances of them getting frustrated.

Learn, how you can teach social skills to your students effectively:

Important Life Skill To Teach Your Special Needs Students

Let’s get to know what functional life skill you must consider teaching to your special needs students-

  • Communication Skills

Learning communication skills for special needs students is one of the important life skills you must focus on teaching. It helps them communicate and express their feelings, and thoughts through language, signs, flashcards, pictures, etc. It also teaches them how to say “NO” if they disagree with something.

  • Choice-Making Skills

Choice-making skill is the skill that will help special needs students gain the confidence to choose any of their preferred items like-toys and activities like- playing, reading, etc.

  • Self-Care Skills

Self-care skills help special needs students to do daily activities like- brushing teeth, toileting, washing hands, bathing, etc., without any fuss.

  • Safety Skills

Teaching safety skills is one of the life skills that is important for every student, especially for special needs students. This skill will help students know how to deal with certain threatening situations like- accidents, fire, or encountering untrustable strangers and how to keep themselves safe.

  • Recreation and Leisure Skills

Dealing with every academic and life challenge for special needs students can be challenging. Teaching them about recreation and leisure skills is also important because it will help them to deal with their stressful situations by indulging in their favourite activity and having fun.

How You Can Teach Functional Skills to Special Need Students Effectively?

While you are creating an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for your special needs students, consider adding functional skills to teach as well. However, while you are creating IEP goals related to any functional skills, you must specify the level of mastery that your special needs students should reach as well. This will also give clarity to students on what functional skills they need to learn and how much effort they need to put in to learn those skills.

For example- You can add functional skills like brushing teeth and keep the mastery level of 80-85% to achieve which is sufficient. Because if you help children to build a habit of brushing 2-3 times a day then it would compensate if they don’t brush thoroughly.

However, on the other hand, if you are adding life skills related to safety skills then it is suggested to keep the mastery level to achieve 100%, because it may be related to their life at risk.

For example- children with special needs might face any trouble situation then they can contact their parents or any emergency contacts, which they can memorize for emergencies.

How To Make Learning New Skills Easier For Special Needs Students?

Make it Adaptable

Some special needs students might adapt life skills faster and some of them might struggle to adapt at all. To help struggling students acquire life skills, you can make it more adaptable.

For example- if students struggle to put on shoes and have a hard time tying shoelaces then you can consider them buying shoes with Velcro straps, and bungee laces to make their life easier.

Utilize Task Analysis Method

To teach functional life skills you can consider using the task analysis method for students ’ ease. Task analysis breaks down a particular task into easy-to-follow component tasks.

For example- Student must wear shoes or slippers while they are going outside and they must put their shoes or slippers on while they are in any public places.

Make Acquiring Life Skills Easy

Special needs students already have a hard time in their day-to-day life and in every aspect of their life as well. As a responsible special needs teacher, you can make their life easier by applying the above-mentioned ways to teach life skills, which can help special need students in every aspect of their life.

Additionally, if you want to gain in-depth knowledge of different ways of teaching life skills to special needs students then consider pursuing courses like special education courses for teachers, where you will get guidance from a top expert trainer who will also help you to become the best special need teacher in the education industry.

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Written By : Abhishek