Many children on the autism spectrum struggle with functional skills, also called “life skills,” which may include self-care and safety, basic chores, and understanding of money and transportation. A functional skills training program can help children with autism acquire habits that carry them into safe and healthy adulthood. For children with autism, developing routines, creating goals, and explaining the “whys” of life skills can foster growth and future independence.
EMIT Therapeutics offers in-home and telehealth functional skills training for children from 1.5 to 18 years of age and their families across New Jersey. Learn more about our functional skills training by calling us today at 844.983.0240.
Techniques for Functional Skills Training
Functional skills are most successfully taught and practiced through repetition and reward. This may include chore charts, checklists, and active involvement in family routines. Therapists will often assess a child’s strengths and difficulties then demonstrate activities with scripts or visual cues like pictures to help explain skills. These visual cues act as nonverbal reminders, which over time help children remember the order of activities such as how to do laundry or make their bed.
Therapists help parents and children develop routines that fit a child’s needs with achievable and flexible goals to prevent discouragement. With practice and support from both therapists and the family, children become more self-sufficient and invested in daily tasks through charts, checklists, and visual cues. Some techniques for functional skills training may include:
- Practicing self-care skills such as regular brushing hair and teeth
- Learning when to take breaks and self-advocate
- Learning to use money for a more independent life
- Practicing safe travel practices: crosswalks, public transportation, and public safety markers
- Building leisure skills to understand how to enjoy rest and relaxation
- Learning home skills: cooking, laundry, and home care
- Prepare for vocational skills and future interests
It’s critical to develop functional skills training early in development, so children can handle whatever obstacles come up in life.
Is Functional Skills Training Right for Your Child?
Most parents hope their children will grow up to live a fulfilling, independent life. For some parents of children with autism, there is fear that their condition will prevent future independence. However, developing functional skills at an early age can prepare most for a stable, safe, well-balanced adult life. At times, it may seem that life skills are overwhelming with an endless list of skills to develop and not nearly enough time to learn, practice, and ingrain each. Functional skills training can help parents and children prioritize skills, witness strengths and challenges, and tailor growth for each family’s needs. With support, parents and children can feel at ease as they create new routines and systems, which lead to greater independence, lower social anxiety, and improved communication skills.
Parents that help children with autism develop these vital life skills allows them to feel at ease as their children feel more self-sufficient for a life that extends beyond the home. Both parents and children develop confidence in daily life and the future. Functional skills training often overlaps with other autism training programs such as:
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Applied behavioral analysis therapy
To learn more about the treatment options available to your child, please reach out to EMIT Therapeutics today.
Contact EMIT Therapeutics to Learn More
At EMIT Therapeutics, we believe in holistic autism treatment. We believe this prepares your child for a well-rounded home, school, and social life. Our treatments are tailored to each child’s needs through behavior analysis and early intervention programs like functional skills training. In the comfort of your own home, we provide in-person and telehealth therapy. This service provides your child with the tools they need for a bright future. Together we can support your child and help them understand the world around them. If you are ready to support your child’s growth, contact us online today or at 844.983.0240 to begin functional skills training.