Where to Start when Teaching Life Skills to Teens with Autism

Where to Start when Teaching Life Skills to Teens with Autism

Where to Start when Teaching Life Skills to Teens with Autism #autism #lifeskills #autistictees

Where do I start when I want to help my teen become more independent with life skills?

This is a question our family has asked ourselves many times when working with my brother and when I work in the clinic as an occupational therapist.

There are tons and tons of life skills to possibly help your teen learn and it can be overwhelming to figure out where is a good starting point! As a parent you are probably thinking, where and how do I find the time to figure out what to do. I want what is best for my teen, but I am just feeling lost and overwhelmed.

Here are 5 strategies our family has used when trying to figure out where to start when teaching life skills to my brother with autism

What is my brother interested in right now?

When we are able to find skills and activities that our teen is interested in right now, that can help decrease some of the frustration levels when learning something new. For example, this past year we have been working a lot on self care skills with personal hygiene skills. Age 15, was the first year that he started showing interest in taking care of his body. He was asking more questions at the doctors office visits and he was concerned about getting acne on his face. This started the conversation about how to help him become more independent with washing his face and taking a shower to help keep his skin clean. This sparked an interest for my brother and my mom learned to go with it and take every opportunity she could each day to help him with these skills.

As an occupational therapist, I have been trained to break down every day tasks into manageable steps and create task analysis for skills. My mom and I were able to work together to break down the steps he would need to do to wash his face and take a shower and we would ease into the skill. We wouldn’t expect him to do every step right away when learning something new. Think about yourself, when you are learning a totally new skill do you expect yourself to know how to do everything right away? No..you break it down and learn one step at a time.

As a parent, you can break down a skill by doing most of the steps for the child in the beginning and have them complete the last step, or you can have them complete the first step and then you help them by doing more of the last steps.

What is one skill that he will need to be able to do on his own if I wasn’t here to help him?

There are tons of life skills to learn whether it be how to care for ourself, social skills, or work skills and it can be overwhelming to figure out what to do. If you can block out thinking about tons and tons of skills, allow yourself to write down a list of 5 skills you hope for your teen to learn and be as specific as possible. By being more specific this allows you to better be able to break that skill down into accomplishable steps. For instance, if you say you want to help your teen with social skills, that is such a HUGE topic. What specific social skill do you want them to learn? Do you want them to better understand how to use manners and say please and thank you, do you want them to be able to complete small talk conversations with peers, or do you want them to be able to ask appropriate questions?

Starting thinking specific, and this will better allow you make progress towards your big picture goals.

What is something we can practice each day that won’t take up a lot of our time?

Time is very limited, especially if our teen is involved in school and we are working full time as a parent. There never seems to be enough time to practice skills. Keep this in mind when you are wanting to help your teen focus on a new skill. Think about your daily routine, what is one skill that you feel like you can easily incorporate into your daily routine that won’t cause a lot of new frustrations and anxiety. Is there something you can work on for a couple of minutes in the morning or before going to bed? Is there something you can work on in the car ride to school? Or could you incorporate it into your weekly trips to the grocery store or errand runs?

What are skills that he is already doing on his own, and is there one skill that I can add that is similar to what he already knows how to do?

By thinking about skill that your teen already knows how to do, this will better allow you to find a skill that might not be as hard for them to learn. For example if you were good at learning about computers and were taking a coding class, you probably wouldn’t want to all of sudden take a cooking class then. Those two classes are very different and would be a lot harder to combine the skills that you are learning in them together. If your teen is good about the self care skills about taking care of themselves, how could you advance this skill for them? Could you make it harder by talking about different weather changes or destinations for when getting dressed? Could you add in more chores around the house with helping with cooking or cleaning?

What are his strengths and how can I build upon his strengths?

In our family, we love to focus on the positives and the strengths that each and everyone of us has. We always have areas in our lives that we can get better at specific skills, but we like to focus on the things that we are good at to help make us stronger. For example, my brother is super good at computer and searing for information on the computers. That is a big strength of his. We have learned to help use this strength for him as an asset when learning new skills. He enjoys learning and reading about new things online and sometimes we use that to help him research about specific skills he is working on. For example, when he was working on washing his face and more personal hygiene skills he could look up information about soap and information about acne. He would find out more information about the skills he was working on, and didn’t even realize he was doing it.

What are strengths your teenager has? How can you build upon those strengths or use those strengths to help teach them new skills? For example if your teen is gifted with musical skills, how can you incorporate music to help them learn a new skill?

Check out our comprehensive checklist of life skills to help give you inspiration and ideas of what areas to of life skills to start to focus on today to help your teenager transition into adulthood!

life skills checklist

Support for Parents of Teens with Autism

Support for Parents of Teens with Autism

Support for Parents of Teens with Autism #support #autisticteens #autism

*This post may contain affiliate links.

You may ask yourself, when did my child become a teenager? Kids grow up so fast, right before our eyes, and time keeps rushing right by us. In our family, my brother is now 15 years old! How did this happen? As a sister and a professional OT, I worry for him and what his future might look like.

We are thinking about his future and what his future might look like. This can be a little more challenging for families with teenagers with autism as it can be a little bit harder to see exactly what path we might go down. We ask ourselves these questions all the time and it is a little scary not always knowing the answers.

  1. Will he be able to live on his own?

  2. Will he go to college?

  3. Will he have friends?

  4. What type of job would he be good at?

  5. Will he learn to drive a car?

  6. Will he always need me there to support him everyday?

  7. Will he know when he is in danger?

  8. Will he be able to take care of himself?

  9. Will he be safe in new social situations?

  10. Will someone take advantage of him?

The list can go on and on…

So what do you do when you worry about these questions and how you can help your teen? You look for support and help! Our family has realized when we go looking for answers to some of these questions and how we can help teach these skills to my brother, we realize there are not a lot of answers out there.

Finding Support

That is why we created this blog and our Facebook Group Support for Teens with Autism. We are going through the journey with you and providing you with resources that we have either made up ourselves or found along the way.

We are here for you and you are not alone! Together we can help create the best life for our teenager! We can be a little less stressed along the way. Please let me know what are some of the struggles you are facing in your family? Is there something that we can do to help you?

Support for Teens with Autism

18 Tips about Friendship for Teens with Autism

18 Tips about Friendship for Teens with Autism

18 Tips about Friendship for Teens with Autism

*This post may contain affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure statement for further details.

Making Friends

Friendships and social interactions can be a challenge for some teen and can be a challenging skill to figure out how to teach. They may have difficulty understanding the numerous social interactions and how to respond or understanding non-verbal behaviors. Making friends is a skill that can take time and practice. You can help your teen by talking through different social situations, role playing, getting involved in social groups, practicing out in the community, observing others, watching videos, using picture cards, or involving family members to do activities with.

Our family understands that making friends can be hard and not easy. Especially living a more rural community where my brother is homeschooled, it can be a challenge to find community events or groups to be apart of. We always want to be there to support my brother in what he wants and what he wants to work on. He loves video games and one way he has been able to socialize with others is through playing video games with family members and online with other kids. Always think about your teens situation and what they want out of friendships. Help guide them for what will help them the most.

We created a list of ideas that we felt may be helpful for you to think about when helping to teach your teen about friendships and how to make friends.

Follow their Interests

Always think about activities your teen enjoys and this will better allow for a more natural way for your child to make friends with common interests. Do not force relationships if they are not there. Think about activities your teen enjoys to participate in and are there group activities that they could get involved into meet more people with common interests? Try researching your community and find groups such as a video game group, cooking, sports, museums, church, boy-scouts/girl-scouts, or even Lego Club.

Finding the Right Group of Friends

Help your child find the right group of friends who will consider them an equal, share some of the same interests, and accept them for who they are. You could help them find a “tribe” of close friends, which may be just one or two other kids.

Reading Non-Verbal Behaviors

Non-verbal behaviors are a huge part of communicating with others. Take the time to talk about different non-verbal situations and behaviors to help your teen become more aware of them when talking with others. Ways you can practice these skills are through visuals with either picture cards or through videos. You can also go out into the community and talk through different situations and watch and observe others. Using social scripts is a great way to help your teen understand new situations and be able to talk through the situations beforehand.  Check out the Social Scripts Mini Flip Books Bundle Pack 

Picture Cards

Picture Cards can be helpful to show a variety of emotions on faces as well as body language. These strategies can help someone learn the visual cues for understanding different emotions when interacting with someone. This can help them identify anger, sadness, frustration, or if they are annoyed. Try finding video clips online to show the different emotions as well to help them better understand visual cues for emotions. You could try out these Stages Learning Emotion Picture Cards .

Learn How to Ask Questions

Learning how to ask questions are important skills when talking with friends. Friends would not want to only hear us talk about ourselves. Ways to practice this skill could be through role playing. You could play a game show or pretend to be a reporter on the news and you need to ask appropriate questions. We have created a freebie just for you as possible small talk questions you could go over with your teen to help them feel more confident about asking questions to their peers. Download the freebie below!

Social Situations for Making Friends

Find a Common Activity

When making friends it is helpful for them to find activities they can enjoy together. You could try finding  activities of common interest through having friends over to your house and creating fun activities they will both enjoy. You could make lunch together, play video games together meet up at the local park, go rock climbing, go to a movie, or go to the mall.

How to Invite Friends Over

Learning how to invite friends to over to your house or to go someone is a good skill to understand, especially to keep our teen safe. We want to make sure they understand that they need to know the person before inviting them to their house or to go some were in public. Talk to your teen about stranger safety and how to know if you can trust someone or not. This can help keep them safe!

How to Share with Others

Sharing is typically a part of friendship. Help your teen understand that it is okay to be able to share things with our friends.  When they come over to play games, it is okay to share our video games with them so we can enjoy something together. Talk about how to share and what are appropriate things to share with our friends. Learn how to take turns through talking situations. Practice this through games or every day situations with either going first or last.

How to be Happy for our Friends

Sometimes we can get jealous of our friends if something good happens to them or they get to do something we don’t get to do. Talk to your teen about jealousy and how to be happy for our friends if something good happens to them. If they get an award or noticed at school for something you can help teach them how to congratulate their friend.

How to Develop Coping Strategies

When we interact with others, we can go through feeling a variety of emotions. If something is not going our way, how do we deal with the frustration and anger? Help teach your teen effective coping strategies and ways to identify their own emotions so they can tell when they are getting frustrated.

How to Resolve Conflicts and Solve Problems

We will likely experience conflicts when we are interacting with friends. We will not always get along and will need to be able to identify when we need to say sorry or apologize for certain actions. Talk to your teen about strategies to help them understand how to solve problems and resolve conflict. Create a list of strategies your teen could use to help them understand how they could resolve conflict. When they get angry are they going to walk away and let themselves calm down before talking about the situation?

Empathy

Empathy is your ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Empathy helps us to relate to our friends. Talk to your teen about empathy and situations on how they may need to put themselves in another’s pair of shoes.

Practice Kindness

Talk to your teen about ways to show kindness to others. You can talk about ways you can help others or compliment someone. Showing acts of kindness is a great way to show others that you care.

Ask the Teacher

If you are having a hard time finding others for your teen to connect with, their teacher may know of kids at school that would be a good fit for your teen.

Know the Limits

Understand when your teen has had enough with socializing or may need time away from others. Pay attention to their non-verbal behaviors and notice when they have had too much. Help them to learn how to identity when they have had enough in certain social situations and when they need to walk away or tell others no. We all need breaks from others as a way to re-boot our own body systems.

Review the Social Situations

Help your teen analyze how a social situation went to help them better understand future situations. What would you have done different next time? What went well about the social situation?

Raise Awareness

Always be a good advocate for your teen. If you need to, talk with parents, teachers, or students about your teen and some things that they may struggle with to help others be more aware of the situation. Advocate for equal rights at school and out in the community.

Identify Goals

Make sure you are talking with your teen to know what they want when it comes to friends. Your teen is the number one priority. What do they want? Do they want to make one friend or lots of friends? What goals does your teen tell you they want to work on? Help your teen identify their goals and learn to break down those goals into small accomplishable steps.

Social Situations for Making Friends

 

We would LOVE your help! Fill out a couple questions with honest answers to help us best be able to serve you and your family on your journey to helping your teenager with autism as they start this transition phase into adulthood. We went to provide you with amazing resources and content that will best serve you! Check it out here and then you can download our FREE Checklist!

Click Here to Download!

We also wanted to share with you some more resources to help you find teaching strategies for you and your teen.

Using social scripts is a great way to help your teen understand new situations and be able to talk through the situations beforehand.  Check out the Social Scripts Mini Flip Books Bundle Pack 

Personal space is a big thing to understand when we want to make friends. We need to understand when we may be invading someone’s personal space and start to make them feel uncomfortable.e Check out the Personal Space Social Skill Pack

Below are a list of books that we thought may be helpful for you and your family when talking about social skills and friendships.

My Mouth is a Volcano

 

The Science of Making Friends, Helping Socially Challenged Teens and Young Adults 

Social Skills for Teenagers with Developmental and Autism Spectrum Disorders: The PEERS Treatment Manual 

The Social Skills Guidebook: Manage Shyness, Improve Your Conversations, and Make Friends, Without Giving Up Who You Are

How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships 

 

 

 

 

 

Please let us know if there are strategies that have worked well for your family and your teen when it comes to making friends. We are always wanting to learn from you as well!

We would LOVE your help! Fill out a couple questions with honest answers to help us best be able to serve you and your family on your journey to helping your teenager with autism as they start this transition phase into adulthood. We went to provide you with amazing resources and content that will best serve you! Check it out here and then you can download our FREE Checklist!

Click Here to Download!

 

Necessary Life Skills for Teens with Autism

Necessary Life Skills for Teens with Autism

Necessary Life Skills

Necessary Life Skills for Teens with Autism

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure statement for further information.

I am not misbehaving, I do not know how to act in social situations. I do not understand how to read body language or how to ask for help. I don’t know how to hold a conversation with my peers. I may look like I am not paying attention, but I am listening. I may not understand how to be okay with change in different situations.

I may get taken advantage of because I don’t know how to advocate for myself. I don’t know who to trust or how to ask for help. I also don’t know how to say no to people. I may get myself into trouble, because I don’t know how to evaluate a situation to understand if this is risky. I have a hard time understanding if this might be an unsafe situation for me to be in.

I am not lazy, I may not understand how to care for myself. I may need help with managing my money, how to cook a meal, taking care of myself, going to the store to buy things I need, or how to use transportation to get around. I can have a hard time figuring out how to manage my day and how to manage my time.

I want to figure out how to organize my day, but I don’t know how to plan out my day. I don’t know how to create a “to do” list or how to plan ahead for changes within my day. If my schedule changes, I can become frustrated and not know how to deal with this.

I want to have a job doing something I like, but I don’t know how to find a job or how to be a good employee. I don’t know how to talk with my co-workers.

Sometimes I can get so anxious that this keeps me from going outside of my house or trying something new. I don’t know how to deal with these overwhelming feelings of anxiety and fearfulness.

Are these questions that you can hear your teen telling you? Do you know how to help your teen learn how to deal with these every day life skills?

Can you picture where your teen may be at in 5 years? How do you picture them living and where do you see yourself as the parent for them?

Life is a journey for all of us and we all go down different paths. As a parent, we want what is best for our child. We each have a different meaning of success for our child and what their adult life may look like.

Everyday is an ongoing process for us to build our own skills to become the person that we want to become. We all have skills that we are really good at and skills that we need help with. Some may always need support in certain areas of their lives.

The more we can think out the future for our teen, the sooner we can start to work on building their strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully we will have a better idea of where they might be in 5 years to meet their individual levels of success.

We would LOVE your help! Fill out a couple questions with honest answers to help us best be able to serve you and your family on your journey to helping your teenager with autism as they start this transition phase into adulthood. We went to provide you with amazing resources and content that will best serve you! Check it out here and then you can download our FREE Checklist!

Click Here to Download!

People Skills

This would also be the area of social skills.  These skills would be things like making friends, asking for help, working in a group, communicating in person or online, holding a conversation with someone, or talking with family members. These are just a few of the social skills we may use every day in our lives. Social skills is such a broad topic and can be very overwhelming to think about how you may go about teaching all of these skills to someone. Social skills can be taught in a variety of ways through social stories, social scripts, practice out in the community, through social groups, acting classes, or through books. Check out your local community to see what resources they may offer for you. Sometimes finding a peer or a mentor for your child to talk through and practice through some of the different scenarios can be helpful as well.

Social Skills Picture Book For High School and Beyond

Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells you About 

 

Self Advocacy Skills

Teaching teens how to get their needs met is such an important skill to learn. Do they understand how to ask for help, who to go to for help, how to ask questions, how to say no, or when to give their own opinion. These skills are vital for your teen to learn to be able to get their own needs met.

Autism Life Skills: From Communication and Safety to Self-Esteem and More

Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum: A Parent’s Guide to the Cognitive, Social, Physical, and Transition Needs of Teenagers with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Personal Safety

Keeping your teen safe is a huge priority! Nothing scares me more then seeing kids being taken advantage of because they can’t defend themselves. Do they know how to call 911 in an emergency,    how to avoid risky situations, how to tell someone no, or understanding when they are in a bad situation. Do they know who they can trust and who is a stranger. There are so many dangerous situations that sometimes we don’t realize are dangerous until they happen. Talk with your teen when they are going into new situations to help them be aware of some potential risky situations. Talk through what to look for and how to assess their environment to unsafe situations. Teach them red flags to help keep them safe.

How to Care for Myself

These would be personal care skills such as daily hygiene, dressing, nutrition, exercise, or coping with stress. Can they complete the basic every day life skills to be able to care for themselves independently? Check out our ebook Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills for the Bathroom to help you teach your teen personal hygiene skills. Break down the steps to complete each skill to help your teen. Create checklists, visual sequencing cards, or use verbal directions until your teen can find strategies that help them learn the skill.  How to Teach Teenagers with Autism Personal Hygiene Self-Care Tasks.

Check out these resources for personal care skills:

Dressing Skills

Taking Care of Myself 

Everyday Life Skills

Practical every day skills could include cooking meals, shopping, budgeting money, using transportation, home care tasks such as cleaning, laundry, or doing the dishes. If they were living in an apartment or home would they understand how to care for their home to keep it clean and safe? Would they be able to make meals for themselves and safely prepare foods? Include your teen in these activities everyday to help them practice and understand this routine. Provide them with visual supports such as checklists or visual sequencing cards. They may need verbal prompts as well. Check out your local community to see if they offer classes to help with some of these skills.

Life Skills of the Month

How to Teach Life Skills to Kids with Autism or Asperger’s

Executive Functioning Skills

These are skills that help us organize our day. They help us understand how to manage our time and what our routine will be for the day. They are skills that help us plan for our day with understanding our “to do” list, plan ahead for changes in our day, or how to analyze a situation. These are higher level problem solving skills to help us make decisions each day.

Job Skills

How will your teen learn to support themselves? Will they be getting a job? How do you help them find a job, create a resume or gain work experience? Help your teen think about jobs they may like to do or have good strong skills to complete. What are their strengths? Would they do better working on their own or with people. Helping them find a job with their strengths with help them better succeed at the job. One way to find job opportunities is through volunteer work. Seek out potential jobs that your teen may be good at is contacting local businesses. You could try contacting local sports programs, libraries, grocery stores, churches, or community programs to see if they offer any volunteer opportunities that would be of interest to your teen. Also do some research for community services in your area to see if they offer job coaches or vocational supports for your teen.

How to Manage my Emotions

Our emotions can make a big difference for us during our day. We can start our day feeling happy or we can feel sad. If we can’t understand how to manage our emotions we will have a hard time getting the things we need to get done. If our fear and anxiety get too big, we may not be able to go out into the community. Help your teen through their emotions by using affirmations, building upon their strengths, journaling, talking to them, letting them share how they are feeling with you, or finding calming strategies for them.

We would LOVE your help! Fill out a couple questions with honest answers to help us best be able to serve you and your family on your journey to helping your teenager with autism as they start this transition phase into adulthood. We went to provide you with amazing resources and content that will best serve you! Check it out here and then you can download our FREE Checklist!

Click Here to Download!

life skills checklist

Looking for more Autism Resources? Check out our 180+ FREE Autism Resources! 

Disclaimer: Sara Anderson is a pediatric occupational therapist.  The advice in these tips are not to replace medical advice from a physician or your pediatrician. Please consult their advice if you suspect any medical or developmental issues with your child or teen. These tips do not replace the relationship between therapist and client in a one on one treatment session with a individualized treatment plan based on their professional evaluation.
All activities are designed for complete adult supervision. Please use your own judgement when completing these activities with your child or teen. Learning For a Purpose is not liable for any injury when replicating any of the activities found on this blog.

Essential Life Skills to help Teenagers with Autism Transition into Adulthood

Essential Life Skills to help Teenagers with Autism Transition into Adulthood

When you think about the future for your teen what scares you the most?

Essential Life Skills to help Teenagers with Autism Transition into Adulthood

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for further information.

What are things you feel that your child excels at and what are things you feel that your child needs to improve upon as they transition into adulthood?

The future is coming and time continues to pass us by. Do you feel like you are able to help your teenager with autism with every day life skills?

Our family is working on finding strategies to help my brother to reach his highest potential. He is 15 years old and the future is vastly approaching. What direction in life is he going to take? These are all questions we take one day at a time. We work on these skills one day at a time to help him reach his dreams and desires.

Life Skills

We wanted to share with you all a list of essential life skills to help you have an understanding of skills your teenager may need to work on.

You can download the entire checklist below by helping to answer some of our questions!

life skills checklist

We would LOVE your help! Fill out a couple questions with honest answers to help us best be able to serve you and your family on your journey to helping your teenager with autism as they start this transition phase into adulthood. We went to provide you with amazing resources and content that will best serve you! Check it out here and then you can download our FREE Checklist!

Click Here!

Personal Hygiene Skills

Cleanliness and personal hygiene skills are important for your teen to be able to take care of themselves and to keep their bodies clean. Check out the Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom Ebook!

  • Shower and bathe appropriately
  • Brush Teeth
  • Groom Hair
  • Wash Face
  • Floss Teeth
  • Toileting Cares and Hygiene
  • Shaving
  • Girls understanding their menstrual cycle
  • How to care for their bodies

Dressing Skills

Wearing clothes and picking out the proper clothes to wear each day is an important skill for teens to understand. Being able to dress oneself and taking care of our clothes are good skills to know.

  • Understanding how to dress for a specific occasion, whether it be an every day task, going swimming, going to a fancy party, or going to bed.
  • Understanding how to dress for specific weather conditions (cold and snowy vs hot and sunny outside)
  • Being able to do the laundry
  • Folding clothes and putting them away in their appropriate place
  • Basic sewing skills for sewing on a button or fixing a slight tear would be good skills to know
  • Packing a suitcase
  • Reading and understanding fabric labels to understand how to appropriately wash and dry the clothes

Cooking Skills or Food Skills

We need to be able to feed ourselves food every day to keep our bodies healthy and strong. Having a basic understanding of cooking and food skills are essentials for teenagers.

  • Making simple meals for daily nutrition
  • Using a microwave
  • Using an oven
  • How to prepare meats and foods safely so they do not get sick or food poisoning
  • How to go grocery shopping
  • How to follow a recipe
  • Kitchen Safety with hot pots and fire safety
  • How to store food
  • Reading and understanding food labels

Health Skills

Understanding how to take care of oneself is vital for teens as they transition into adulthood. Things from every day tasks to taking care or our bodies to a basic understanding or what to do in a medical emergency.

  • Understanding basic first aid
  • How to go to the doctor and when to go to the doctor
  • How to take over the counter medications safely for common illness such as cold or headache
  • Understanding health insurance and how this works for them
  • How to handle medical emergencies, what number to call
  • Safe sex education

Money or Budgeting Skills

Taking care of their own money and finances is a great skill for your teen to understand to better be able to care for themselves.

  • Creating a budget and how to stay on track with your budget
  • How to manage a checking account, savings account, use ATM, write a check
  • How to pay with dollar bills
  • How to pay with debit card/credit card
  • Understand how credit works
  • How to save money
  • How to pay bills

Transportation Safety

Safety around transportation are good skills for your teen to understand to help keep them safe.

  • Use a bus route to get to their destination
  • Safety get in and out of the car
  • Safely cross a busy street and parking lot
  • Safely walk around the neighborhood on the sidewalk or road

Organization Skills

Organization skills are great for your teen to understand to help keep them on track and understand how to complete tasks on their own.

  • Get up in time and ready for their day on their own to go to school or work
  • Take care of their things and know where they are
  • How to clean a house, apartment, or room
  • Basic home repair skills or who to call for repairs

Social Skills and Manners

Socializing with others and understanding how to be nice to people is a good skill to have for communication skills.

  • Have manners when talking/socializing with others
  • Develop and maintain relationships
  • Explore hobbies and interests and meet like minded people
  • Healthy family relationships
  • Respect others and their views/opinions

Driving and Auto Maintenance Skills

Driving Skills may be important depending on where you live. We live in rural Iowa and we do not have a bus system that can take my brother from point A to point B. These skills may be important to you as well.

  • Potentially get a drivers license
  • Take care of a car
  • Car insurance
  • How to maintain car (gas, oil, tires)
  • Road safety when driving
  • What to do if in an accident

Navigational Skills

Navigational skills are important to help your teen not to get lost. Do they understand how get back home if they were out in the community or can they understand how to use an app to read a map to give them directions.

  • Understands how to get from point A to point B
  • Can understand how to read road signs
  • Ask for directions
  • Able to use an app or electronic device for directions
  • Understand directions (North, South, East, and West)

Communication Skills

We communicate with the outside world every day whether it be in person or through online social media. Does your teen understand safe communication skills in person and online?

  • Can ask people questions to get information they need
  • Understanding potentially different forms of communication from (different languages, non-verbal gestures, sign language)
  • How to read non verbal language
  • Using different modes of communication: phone call, text, email, or writing letters
  • Understanding safe social media guidelines
  • Listening to others

Safety Skills

Understanding safety in our every day life is a huge skill for us to know so that we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

  • They can call 911
  • Know what to do in a fire
  • Know what to do in an emergency situation
  • Can identify an emergency situation
  • Can call for help
  • Knows own address and phone number
  • Knows basic medical information about themselves
  • Stranger safety

Behavioral Skills

We can exhibit many different interactions with others and with ourselves during the day. How we respond in those situations can either help us or hurt use in our every day life.

  • Can they accept a mistake that they made
  • They are polite with other people
  • How to stay true to themselves
  • How to ask for help when they need it
  • How to accept criticism
  • How to apologize
  • Moral behaviors

Coping with Emotions

We all have different emotions every day and throughout our day. Being able to control your emotions so they do not take over your day to day life activities is an important skill to learn.

  • They can self manage or self regulate their own emotions
  • Avoid impulsive behaviors
  • Manage stress
  • Manage fear, anxiety, loneliness
  • Manage feelings/emotions in a healthy way

Problem Solving Skills

Being able to understand how to solve problems within your life is  a good skill to have as we transition into adulthood. Being able to identify problems in our lives and figure out solutions that will work for us can help make our lives a little easier.

  • Can they identify problems
  • Create a possible solution to solve the problem
  • Analyze each situation to come up with the best solution to the problem
  • Go back and analyze the problem to see if they made a good decision
  • They can learn from the decisions they make

Time Management Skills

Managing our time is vital when we have to meet deadlines or be somewhere at a specific time. Teaching teens good time management skills will help set them up for success as they get older.

  • Can they organize their day to accomplish tasks that need to get done
  • Can they prioritize their time during the day to meet their responsibilities
  • They can identify important vs. non important tasks
  • Can meet deadlines
  • Can develop a routine that works for them

Work/Employability Skills

If your teen hopes to find a job these would be great work related skills to help teach them.

  • Can accept criticism
  • Can learn from mistakes
  • They are willing to learn something new
  • They can evaluate their own skills and identify their strengths and weaknesses

Decision Making Skills

Being able to make a decision is an important skill for teens to be able to do in order to move forward in their lives. Understanding the  decisions they are making and what the possible outcomes of their decisions might be are vital.

  • Can the child make their own choices
  • Can they learn from the choices that they make
  • Can they understand that a choice may come with a consequence

We understand that this list can be daunting and feel overwhelming, depending on where you and your teen are at in their transition process. Every person grows and develops at their own rate and everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. When we are able to focus on our strengths and find ways to incorporate those strengths into our adult life, that will really help us to sore and reach our greatest potential. We are here to help you find your child’s strengths and to help your family along your own journey.

We would LOVE your help! Fill out a couple questions with honest answers to help us best be able to serve you and your family on your journey to helping your teenager with autism as they start this transition phase into adulthood. We went to provide you with amazing resources and content that will best serve you! Check it out here! 

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Strategies for Helping Children and Teenagers with Autism with Thanksgiving Social Situations

Strategies for Helping Children and Teenagers with Autism with Thanksgiving Social Situations

Thanksgiving Social Situations For Family Gatherings

Thanksgiving

It is that time of year for the Holiday season and this can bring on new experiences, especially new social situations. These new social situations can bring added stress for children and teenagers with autism. Thanksgiving can be a time when we get together with extended family members and this could mean answering a lot of new and confusing questions, especially if the extended family members may not understand your families situations.

If you are going to a family members house for Thanksgiving or even having family members over to your house here are some strategies to help your child or teenager feel less stressed. Every person responds to situations differently, and it is important to try to understand what situations are stressful for your child or what activities may be harder for them to deal with. Below are some strategies that you can try to help your family situation.

Strategies

  1. Talk with your child ahead of time about the family gathering so they know who might be coming and what they can expect for the family gathering. Are you going to just eat lunch/dinner and then sit around and watch TV, or will there be games/activities to do with the family? Some children like to understand what will be happening ahead of time and this can help ease anxiety for some children if they know what to expect.
  2. If your child becomes overwhelmed by a large group of people try to have a plan ahead of time to help your child. Some examples could be find a room in the house where your child can retreat to, to find quietness and do an activity they enjoy. You could bring a game, book, music, or electronic that they enjoy to help them calm down.
  3. If you can tell they are getting stressed and anxious, help them in those situations by talking with them or helping them walk away for a little while and then try to come back.
  4. Try giving your child specific jobs you know they can do to help them participate during the meal time. Such as setting the table, filling up water glasses, bringing food to the table, or telling everyone it is time to eat.
  5. What if my child is a super picky eater? If you know they won’t eat the food that is being served for dinner, make sure to bring food items you know your child will like to make sure they don’t go hungry. Don’t feel pressured to make your child eat in front of the family members, as this will be added stress on your child. You can talk to your child about polite ways to say no thank you to foods they do not like.
  6. What if a family member asks my child questions they don’t know how to answer?  You can help your child in these situations, by answering parts of the question or giving your child more prompts to help them to understand how to better answer the question. You can rephrase the question to be yes or no, or you can ask the question in a way to help guide them to the answer.
  7. Remember, in all situations to remain calm and to show your child how to stay calm. If they start to see you get stressed and anxious those feelings can rub off onto your child and then they can start to feel more anxious and stressed.

Social Situation Cards for Problem Solving Different Situations for a Family Gathering

We have created a FREE download for you to help you and your child prepare for a family gathering, by providing you with various social situations you may encounter at a family gathering. This allows you to opening talk about new and different situations with your child or teenager to help them prepare and understand some of these new situations. Various social situations include: topics with grandparents, toddlers & babies, dogs/animals, greetings & goodbyes, when accidents occur, situations with food, and irony and idioms. Download the FREE resource below by providing us with your name and email address and you will receive an email with the download in your inbox.

 

Thanksgiving Social Skills Situation Cards Preview


The holiday season can be a time of newness and added stress. We hope these tips and the FREE resource can help you and your loved ones better prepare for the holiday season. Please let us know in the comments below if there are strategies that have worked well for your family! The more strategies we can give for families the better!