Strengths in Life Skill Development
Although children and young people with autism may face challenges in developing life skills, they also have many strengths and skills which can be used to facilitate the process of learning new independence skills.
- Ability to learn new skills when correctly structured and taught in a way which is meaningful to them
Many individuals with autism are motivated to develop their independence when the tasks are presented in a visually structured way which then clarifies what is expected and removes the need to follow complex verbal instructions. The correct teaching method, individualised to each student with autism, allows new skills to be learnt accurately. The visual instructions can also be transferred to other settings, allowing skills to be generalised across different environments.
- Accuracy when tasks are learnt
Children and young people with autism often have an eye for detail and so tend to carry out instructions with a high level of accuracy and precision. They frequently notice even small errors and have a drive to correct them. These skills are very advantageous across a range of life skills tasks, particularly in academic work and in the workplace.
- Practise and repetition
As many individuals with autism enjoy familiarity and predictability, they are willing to repeatedly practise skills until a task is mastered. This means that the skills are firmly established and independence increases.
- Reliability and dependability
The drive for a consistent routine means that individuals with autism are often very dependable employees, who are professional, punctual and follow workplace rules. They are focused on assigned work and tasks are carried out with a high degree of accuracy.
- Splinter skills
Children and young people with autism may possess splinter skills in which they have particular talents or excel in certain fields. These can then be used as a teaching tool and may open future employment options. ‘Restricted’ interests often lead to specialist knowledge and can be used a motivator to engage the child or young person in new tasks.
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