Five Important Skills to Teach Special Needs Students Who are Transitioning out of High School

Association of Educators
May 7, 2013 — 2,281 views  

To create a curriculum that adequately teaches students with special needs an assortment of essential life skills, teachers will first need to obtain each student’s educational plan. The goals and objectives listed throughout the plan will determine the life skills that each student needs to be taught. 

For example, if a student has plans of attending a post-secondary institution, it is important to teach him or her how to live on one's own. The life skills needed for this student will be very much different than the life skills needed by a student who will be living with caretakers for the entire duration of his or her life. 

#1: Personal Conduct

Transitioning from high school to adult life is a crucial learning experience for students with special needs. They must be taught how to conduct themselves in a proper manner; this includes saying "excuse me" after burping, not picking their nose in public and much more. 

#2: Money Management

For the most part, students with special needs will need to be taught money management. Although they may not have full control of their finances, including their spending and investments, it is still crucial that they understand to the best of their ability the importance of properly managing money. To teach students about the exchanging of money, and money management, there are several activities that can be carried out, including the following:

- Have students visit a grocery store and send them in to buy certain ingredients for certain food dishes. 
- Have students take part in a bake sale, including taking money from customers and providing them change. 

#3: Proper Hygiene

Even though special needs students tend to know how to wash their hands, they must also learn how to take a shower without assistance. Proper hygiene is essential in them being able to be independent once they graduate from high school; this is especially true if the student is going to be attending college by him or herself. 

Teachers themselves cannot watch the students take showers; however, they can ask caretakers of the students to watch the students, followed then by having the caretakers complete an assessment worksheet on any areas of the showering process that need to be perfected. For instance, if a student does not know how to properly wash his or her hair, teachers can work with the individual at school on this issue by washing wigs on a mannequin. 

#4: Food Preparation

Everyone has to eat. Students with special needs need to be taught how to work stoves, ovens, microwaves and toasters. They need to know how to properly hold and use utensils and much more. Teaching them can be relatively easy because the students will eat on a daily basis. 

#5: Running a Household

If a student with special needs intends on living by him or herself after graduating from high school, the student must be taught how to run a household, including how to pay bills, how to do dishes, take out the garbage, clean, make the bed and more.

Association of Educators