Nobody is going to suggest that it’s exciting or even interesting to learn how to cook meals or make a doctor’s appointment.
But these are all things you need to know to live an independent life. You also need to know how to clean a kitchen, wash, dry and fold your own clothes and how to pay a bill.
Everyone has to become independent. Your favourite heroes have had to come to terms with this.
Luke Skywalker had to realise that he had to grow up, that he couldn't rely on his aunty and uncle, not even on Obi wan. Peter Parker had to become a responsible person in order to become Spiderman.
Even Pokémon is about leaving home and learning to be on your own and being responsible for six pets!
This section aims to help you gain the skills to become more independent.
There are links to great resources. We’ll also tell you about some useful apps which teach some of the skills you will need.
We also have some more detailed sections on money, travel training, learning to drive, sports and hobbies, holidays and housing.
Self-care skills and the skills for independent life as important for all of us. And let's face it, the more we parents can help our kids to look after themselves, the less work we'll have to do!
More seriously, recent research suggests that self-care skills are more crucial to happiness and success in adult life than previously thought, see this article from Disability Scoop.
For some young people with autism, the things they need to learn to become a little bit more independent will be pretty basic.
They might need to learn how to put dirty clothes into a basket or to use money to buy food.
Even academically able young people on the spectrum are also often lacking in very important life skills that make independent life possible.
At school some of these skills of independent living are taught, and some Transition To Work and Community Participation programs will teach them too.
But there are many, many skills that parents can teach. It’s exhausting – we know!
In this section of the website, we give pointers on working out where your child’s needs lie, and then on choosing how and where to get started.
Like teaching anything, it all boils down to breaking skills into small parts and teaching them one after the other, with repetition, repetition, repetition.
But we can point you in the direction of some excellent general resources for teaching life skills – what did we do before iPads?
Next we have some more detailed sections on money, travel training, learning to drive, sports and hobbies, holidays and housing.
In the school years the focus is often very much on academics and trying to keep up. But as the end of schooling approaches it's a good time to take stock and look to the future and work on things that matter - things that will make a difference to their day to day lives.
At the end of the day, knowing how to write an essay or complete algebra calculations is nowhere near as important to their future as young men and women as knowing how to use a phone, catch a bus, cook a meal or get on with people. Vicki G.
Below is a video which looks at how to teach independent living skills and what are some of the issues for families.
Read more on the Around the house page.
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