It's Never too Early for Life Skills 
because  
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What are Adaptive Skills? 
(Also Known as Life Skills)

Life skills, activities of daily living, functional skills, adaptive skills or adaptive behavior, it can get confusing that all of these terms are used to describe the skills we need for everyday living. 

Adaptive skills are defined as practical, everyday skills needed to function and meet the demands of one's environment, including the skills necessary to effectively and independently take care of oneself and to interact with other people. You might hear the term life skills referring to all three categories of adaptive skills, which are conceptual, social and practical life skills.

The terms life skills and adaptive skills are used interchangeably on this site.

Why are Adaptive Skills so Important?

Research shows that increasing adaptive skills can increase adult outcomes and the ability to have the skills we need for day-to-day living.

This is important to consider when ninety percent of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed. While employment is certainly not the only criterion on which we should measure success, it's hard to ignore the statistics.

What are Some of the Reasons Adaptive Skills can be Underestimated by Parents and School Teams?

Teaching life skills marks the beginning of aiming low on their child's future and teaching them would be demeaning.

Lagging adaptive skills are masked by the supports that family and teachers provide. 

A student's life skills are always in keeping with their intelligence, so if a student on the spectrum has above average intelligence, they won't need them.

Or, life skills are only reserved for people with autism who are more severely impacted with lower IQs and overall functioning.

Getting Started
It’s overwhelming, but we break it down here.
Adaptive Skills
Think of adaptive skills as the life skills we need to navigate everyday life. That encompasses a lot. We’ll explain here.
Assessments
You can’t know what your child adaptive and life skill needs are if they have not been assessed. Learn about the process here.
Transition
It’s never too early to plan for adulthood and it all starts with your child’s IEP
Life Skill Tools
Hi, I'm Julie Swanson, and I'm on a mission to make life skills as cool as they should be.  But before we think they should be cool, we have to know they are a vital part of education.  This not only means to be taught at school, but to be able to generalize beyond the school house doors to home and the community.

It's not unusual to think of education as academics only, but education is more than academics and includes functional skills, which are adaptive and life skills. It's also a commonly held belief that life skills are limited to tasks like getting dressed and doing laundry, and don't hold the same importance as academics.  Quite frankly, life skills often get a bad rap. But adaptive and life skills are so much more!  In fact, academics aside, they provide the foundation for increased outcomes in adulthood for many students on the autism spectrum.  

I'm a parent of a young man on the autism spectrum, and I'm also a professional special education advocate. In this role, I help parents secure appropriate special education services. I see too many school teams and parents underestimate the value of incorporating adaptive and life skills in the Individualized Education Program (IEP). This often results in parents realizing their child's lagging adaptive and life skills near the end of their education, resulting in a race to acquire them before their precious education is over.

My hope is that this website increases your awareness of the wide array of skills that make up adaptive and life skills, and how incorporating them into your child's education program as early as possible is vital to increasing adult outcomes. 

Making life skills cool is why I became the Life Skills Lady.  Welcome to my passion project.
I'm a mother of a young adult who is on the autism spectrum. This is me and my son on his graduation day.
Copyright 2020 The Life Skills Lady. All Rights Reserved.
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