Blog on Special Educational Needs - Asian College of Teachers

How to Teach Essential Life Skills to Children with Special Needs for Self-Help

19th October 2020

For normal students, learning basic life skills isn’t that tough with the help of parents and teachers. However, the case is totally different when we talk about children with various kinds of special needs. They are different and that’s why their learning style is also not the same, with the SEN teacher training online the special needs educators help the special needs children to develop their knowledge and aptitude. Life skills are indispensable to functioning independently, and they must be encompassed in the instructional lessons for students with special needs. Developing a sense of independence in children is a significant objective of any parent as they want their children to be prepared when any kinds of change happen.

Now, you may think, what are the basic life skills for special needs children?

How do you teach the basic self-help aids to special needs children?

Why basic life skills are being taught contrarily to special needs children?

And many more…

So, at first, let’s see what are the basic life skills for special needs?

The basic life skills are not characteristic and these are usually being learned as a crucial part of education for children with special needs to formulate them for the everyday tasks of their community, classrooms, workplace as well as becoming more self-governing at home.


The three major life skill areas that need to be addressed are daily living, personal/social, and occupational skills. 

The basic life skills are “hands-on” and “multi-sensory” undertakings which surge the prospect of learning the lessons to articulacy. These consist of an inclusive range of awareness plus abilities that help the special needs children to handle the day-to-day responsibilities on their own. At present, a lot of special needs children are not trained with basic life skills even. These learners need proper education as well as support to learn these necessary behaviours. They have to be able to dress as well as groom suitably also they need to learn the appropriate table manners, and so on.

Understanding the Daily Living Skills

The daily living skills instructional responsibility lies with special needs educators, general educators, parents, as well as peers. Daily living skills include several responsibilities needed for a self-governing living approach like:

  • Counting money
  • Housekeeping and home maintenance tasks
  • Hygiene, washing and packing clothing
  • Identifying any kinds of danger
  • Appropriate eating habits
  • Understanding health care
  • Avoiding substance abuse
  • Identifying different security signs
  • Identify unaware sounds 
  • Washing the clothes

These are some basic life-skills that special needs kids need to learn well.

Understanding Social Skills

Well, the social skills let special needs kids to get along with others as well as participating in society. This includes:

  • Self-awareness
  • Identifying feelings
  • Understanding their own needs
  • Showing the appropriate behaviour as well as respect towards others
  • Getting around the others
  • Understanding the difficulties
  • Asking for the help if required
  • Speaking, listening, and communicating appropriately
  • Understanding the social etiquette in public places
  • Making new friends

These are some of the basic social life-skills that the special needs kids should have to learn well.

Understanding the Occupational Skills

Educators and parents with special needs children still have much to do in this part. This includes the following skill areas: 

  • Maintaining the consistent attendance
  • Following directions
  • Understanding the protocols
  • Job training and vocational education
  • Identifying personal values
  • Working with others
  • Interviewing for a job
  • Understanding how to adjust to changes in employment

These are some of the basic occupational life-skills that the special needs kids should have to learn well.

Teaching Life Skills to Children with Special Needs

With a set of techniques, teachers, therapists, as well as parents can help a special needs child to learn the basic life skills. These techniques can be correspondingly effective for teaching the special needs children, no matter what their aptitudes or challenges.


Task Analysis: The task analysis step is basically a development for breaking down any prearranged assignment into its small module parts. Like we can take the example of brushing teeth, you may divide it into smaller parts like finding a toothbrush, toothpaste, putting toothpaste on the brush, brushing the bottom teeth, rinsing, rinsing again, cleaning the brush, and putting all the equipment away appropriately. This will help the special needs child to learn the basic life skills for their survival in a better way.

A Visual Guide: We all know the fact that visuals are attractive and especially for the children with special needs. Several teachers, as well as parents, make different kinds of attractive visual guides to help the children with special needs to sort the sense of, remembering, and getting comfortable.? Visuals can include photos, clip-art style images, smart art, etc. of each step in the specific development which has been assigned to the child.

Prompting: Well, at first, a child with special needs may want a lot of assistance in remembering each step for completing a task. By prompting, you may understand their needs. This may involve physical and hand-over-hand support by providing the verbal prompts. Gradually by doing this as a habit, the child will start to do the work without even the verbal reminders. When you see that the child needs no prompts then we can say that the child has learned the task.

Moreover, there are a few extra teaching-learning tools that may be helpful depending on how a particular child learns. These usually include a series of steps, social stories, video models, different kinds of learning apps, etc. Also, another fact is students with special needs also learn social skills training through different kinds of distinct as well as group activities, the local library, parks, supermarkets, plus other public spaces. Remember, not every special needs child will undertake all of these life skills perfectly, as a special needs teacher you need to learn all of these crucial teaching strategies with the SEN teacher training online.

Teaching the special needs child about developing healthy associations by gaining the self-esteem helps these children to live more confidently in the society.


Written By : Aditi Ghose

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