What are life skills?

Life skills is a term used to describe the essential and practical skills required to function independently across a life time. They range from ‘basic, essential to life’ skills such as using the toilet or eating; to very complex skills such as accessing and using public transport. Life skills include a range of functions that improve, support or sustain living.

Most life skills require the following elements:

  • Executive Functioning (e.g. problem solving; organising, planning and remembering; time management; safety awareness etc)
  • Communication and Social Skills
  • Motor Skills (e.g. planned and controlled movement patterns to complete tasks)
  • Sensory Processing (e.g. understanding, interpreting and responding to the world around us)
  • Community integration/participation
  • Personal qualities e.g. self-esteem, confidence

All these elements can be difficult skills for autistic people to master…. but with a little imagination, support, task adaption and training, everyone can learn important skills for life!

Three broad areas of life skills

  1. Work e.g. schoolwork, homework, household chores, preparation for employment
  2. Self-care e.g. personal hygiene, personal safety, health, nutrition
  3. Leisure e.g. hobbies and interests, friendships, social skills