Learn about Functional Life Skills Resources to add to your toolbox.

Teaching functional life skills can feel very overwhelming at times because there are so many different skills.

You may not feel like you know where to start or what teaching strategies to use?

Check out all of these amazing resources below to help you gain confidence knowing what functional life skills to teach.

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What are functional life skills?

Functional life skills are the skills a person needs in order to live and work as independently as possible. Skills are defined as ‘functional’ when the skill supports and improves the person's level of independence. For some, those skills may be learning to care for personal needs. For others, it may be learning to use a bus. And still for others it includes learning how to work as part of a team.

Functional Life Skills for Autistic and Neurodivergent Individuals

We are working on a lot of these skills with my teenage brother right now to help him as he transitions into adulthood. I wanted to put together a more comprehensive post about various life skills and strategies you can use to help teach those life skills.

Functional life skills are essential for all individuals to learn and develop as they get older to learn to be more independent with their everyday life. It can feel overwhelming when you think about all the different areas of life skills you can teach and that someone has to try to learn.

Neurodivergent Life Skills Membership

Below you will find a large list of life skills you can help teach and some helpful links to resources on how to help teach those skills. You can also check out The Mega Bundle of Functional Life Skills Resources for Teens and Adults to help you teach a variety of functional life skills resources.

Get your Free Life Skills Checklist

We have created a Free Life Skills Checklist for you! Click Here to get your Free Life Skills Checklist or enter your email address below to get your free life skills checklist to help you know what skills to teach your teenager.

life skills checklist

Self-Care Skills


  • Taking shirt on and off
  • Taking pants on and off
  • Taking underwear on and off
  • Taking bra on and off
  • Taking socks on and off
  • Taking shoes on and off
  • Tying shoes
  • Completing buttons and zippers on clothing
  • Tie a tie
  • Pick out appropriate clothes for the day/weather
  • Mend tears in clothing/sew a button
  • Picking out the right sized clothing
  • Read and understand fabric labels
  • Folding clothes and putting them away in the appropriate location

Resources for Dressing Skills

31 Sensory Strategies with Dressing for Children with Autism by Learning for a Purpose

Sensory Considerations for Dressing by Your Kids OT

Independence with Self-Dressing and Fine Motor Skills by The OT Toolbox

Teach Kids how to use a Zipper by The OT Toolbox

Get Dressed! How to Modify your Child's Dressing Routine by Miss Jaime, OT

Child Development: Teaching Kids How to Dress Themselves by The Inspired Treehouse

Improving Following Directions with Getting Dressed for Kids by Growing Hands-on Kids

Visual Perceptual Skills in Dressing by Kids Play Space

Work on Dressing Skills through Play Activities by Therapy Fun Zone

When do Kids Learn to Dress Themselves?: The Developmental Progression of Self-Dressing Skills by Mama OT

Gross Motor Skills and Independent Dressing by Your Therapy Source

Tons of therapy treatment and play ideas to work on Activities of Daily Living by Therapy Fun Zone

Shoe Tying Tips and Tools for Kids by The OT Toolbox

Teach Kids How to Button the Fun way by The OT Toolbox

Neurodivergent Life Skills membership

Personal Hygiene

  • How to Use the Toilet
  • Washing hands
  • Taking shower
  • Taking bath
  • Brushing hair
  • Brushing teeth
  • Washing face
  • Flossing
  • Shaving face
  • Shaving legs
  • Menstrual cycle cleanliness
  • Applying makeup

Resources for working on Personal Hygiene Skills

Personal Hygiene Sensory Strategies Toolkit Freebie by Learning for a Purpose

Everyday Life Skills: Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom Ebook by Learning for a Purpose

Calming Strategies for Teaching Personal Hygiene Skills by Learning for a Purpose

Free Resources to Teach Boys about Puberty by Learning for a Purpose

15 Sensory Strategies for Sound Sensitivities during Personal Hygiene Cares by Learning for a Purpose

Tons of therapy treatment and play ideas to work on Activities of Daily Living by Therapy Fun Zone

Kitchen Skills

  • Making a sandwich
  • Getting a snack from the fridge or cupboard
  • Getting a bowl of cereal to eat
  • Making toast
  • Pouring self a drink (milk, water, or juice)
  • Reheating a meal in the microwave
  • Packing lunch for school
  • Follow a basic recipe
  • Using toaster
  • Using the oven to make a meal
  • pack leftovers from dinner
  • Read food labels
  • Knife safety skills
  • Tell ripe food from spoiled food
  • Set the table

Resources for Kitchen Skills

How to Teach Kitchen Safety Skills for Autsitic Teens with FREE Kitchen Safety Visual Supports by Learning for a Purpose

How to Teach Autistic Teens How to Use the Microwave with FREE Visual Supports by Learning for a Purpose

Everyday Learning in Everyday Life at Home by Your Kids OT

Tons of therapy treatment and play ideas to work on Activities of Daily Living by Therapy Fun Zone

Attention, Behavior, and Meal Time Problems by the OT Toolbox

Cooking with Kids by the OT Toolbox

Fine Motor Skills for Mealtimes by the Therapy Fun Zone

Postural Control, Gross Motor Development, and Mealtime by Your Therapy Source

15 Tips for Picky Eaters by The Inspired Treehouse

Visual Perceptual Skills Needed for Independent Feeding by Growing Hands-On Kids

Neurodivergent Life Skills toolbox membership

Home Management Skills

  • Cleaning up toys, putting away in bin/basket
  • Washing a load of laundry in the washer and using the dryer
  • Sweeping the floor
  • Vacuuming the floor
  • Throwing away items in the trash
  • Taking out the trash
  • Sorting out recyclables
  • Washing off countertops
  • Washing dishes
  • Loading dishwasher
  • Washing dishes by hand
  • Cleaning the shower/bathtub
  • Cleaning the toilet
  • Putting away clothes
  • Put dirty clothes in the hamper
  • Folding clothes
  • Making the bed
  • Sorting certain items in the home and organizing them into the correct location
  • Feeding Pets
  • Bring in and put away groceries
  • Basic home repair skills such as unclogging toilet or sink

Resources for Home Management Skills

Free Visuals to help with Teaching Laundry Skills by Learning for a Purpose

Apps to Teach about Laundry Skills by Learning for a Purpose

Everyday Learning in Everyday Life at Home by Your Kids OT

Check out the Functional Life Skills Bundle!

Click here to check out the functional life skills bundle or click on the image below!

Functional Life Skills Bundle

Get the functional life skills bundle here.

Taking Care of Body/Health and Safety

  • Taking medicine
  • Treating a wound
  • How to call 911 and what to say to the operator
  • How to stop bleeding from a cut
  • What to do in a fire
  • What do to in an emergency
  • Knows own address
  • Knows basic medical information about themselves
  • Understands stranger safety
  • Use an epi-pen for self or for friends
  • How to call the doctor to make an appointment
  • How to go to the doctor
  • How to take over the counter medicine safely for common illnesses

Taking Care of the Body/Heath and Safety Resources

Taking Care of Myself 2: for Teenagers and Young Adults with ASD by Mary Wrobel

Taking Care of  your Body: Answers for Girls with Autism by Kids Health

Personal Hygiene and Teenagers with Autism Spectrum Disorder by Raising Children.net.au

A Guide to Safety by ResearchAutism.org

Shopping/Community Outing Skills

  • Making a grocery/shopping list
  • Going to the grocery store
  • Finding food or items at the store
  • Purchasing food/items at the cash register at the store
  • Order items online to be shipped to home
  • How to checkout at online store
  • Using public transportation safely
  • Walk around the neighborhood safely
  • Crossing a busy street and parking lot
  • Understanding car safety when driving
  • How to read road signs
  • How to go to a restaurant
  • How to go to the mall
  • How to go to the park
  • How to go to the movie theater

Shopping and Community Outing Resources

Living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): The High School Years by AOTA

The Ultimate Life Skills Prep Bundle for Community Outings by Speechie Side Up at Teachers Pay Teachers

Functional Life Skills at School

  • Eating lunch in the lunchroom
  • Having an organized desk/locker
  • Getting the homework completed each day
  • Following school routine
  • Hanging up backpack and coat
  • Getting ready for recess
  • Using the bathroom/restroom at school
  • Getting food from the vending machine
  • Navigating to the correct classroom
  • Staying at a school desk
  • Typing on computer
  • Checking out a book from the library

Resources for Functional Life Skills at School

Sucessful Participation at School: Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder by AOTA

Organization Skills

  • Get up in time and ready for the day to go to school/work on time
  • Create a checklist of things to do in the day
  • identify important tasks vs. non-important tasks
  • Meet deadlines
  • Develop a daily routine
  • Takes care of their things and know where they are in the home

Resources for Organization Skills

Autism and Organizational Skills: Helpful Teaching Tips, Strategies, and Resources by Learning for a Purpose

Organising, Sequencing, and Prioritising by the National Autistic Society

Tips for Teaching Orgaizational Skills by Indiana Resource Center for Autism

10 Steps to Foster Oganization: Homework and Beyond! by Michelle Garcia Winner at Social Thinking

Teaching Organizational Skills by the Autism Support Network

neurodivergent life skills toolbox membership

Money Skills

  • Creating a budget
  • how to manage a checking account
  • how to manage a savings account
  • How to use an ATM
  • How to write a check
  • How to pay with dollar bills
  • How to pay with debit/credit card
  • Understand how credit works
  • How to save money
  • How to pay bills
  • Understand how taxes work

Resources for Money Skills

Tips for Teaching Money Management to Teens with Autism by Learning for a Purpose

Managing Money by The National Autistic Society

How to Teach Money Management for Independent Living with Autism by the Autism Awareness Center Inc.

Teaching Money Exchange by Autism Classroom Resources

Tools for Teaching Financial Literacy Skills by Life After IEPs

Are you looking for additional help and strategies to help teach life skills to autistic individuals

Check out our new online course Learning Life Skills for a Purpose! We will teach you the step-by-step process of how to use task analysis and visual supports to help teach life skills to autistic children, teens, and adults. Plus we give you step-by-step resources to help get you started with specific skills!

You can learn more about the course here!   

Check out the amazing resources you get when you enroll in the course!

Life Skills Ideas Course Display Image

Learning Life Skills for a Purpose Life Skills Checklist template display image

Life skills course workbook display image
Progress Monitoring charts life skills course display image

Additional Life Skills Products and Resources

Executive Functioning Challenges with Task Initiation: Resources to Help Teach Life Skills by Learning for a Purpose

Feel Successful and Confident Teaching Life Skills by Learning for a Purpose

Teaching Life Skills Autism: Books to Add to your Toolbox by Learning for a Purpose

Life Skills-Activities of Daily Living Printables and Products by Your Therapy Source

Life Skills Activities for Secondary Students with Special Needs by Darlene Mannix

Steps to Independence Teaching Everyday Skills to Children with Special Needs by Bruce L. Baker and Alan J. Brightman

Taking Care of Myself 2: for Teenagers and Young Adults with ASD by Mary Wrobel

CBT Toolbox for Children and Adolescents: Over 200 Worksheets and Exercises for Trauma, ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, Depression, & Conduct Disorders by Lisa Phifer, Amanda Crowder, Tracy Alsenraat, and Robert Hull

The Best Functional Life skills resources for individuals with autism