Tag Archives: independent living skills

CHECK, PLEASE!

Here at ARM we’ve resolved to master independent living skills for the New Year. While it’s satisfying to check off all our abilities, there are still many that need work. We invite you to join us as we tackle each new task, adding to our competencies.

CHECK, PLEASE!

If you dropped off your older teen and a friend at a casual, sit-down restaurant, would he/she know what to do?

Follow some simple steps to equip your kid appropriately.

  1. LOOK FOR SIGNAGE. Does it say “Wait to Be Seated” or “Sit Anywhere”? Follow the directions.
  2. WAIT LIST. If your teen doesn’t like waiting, have a Plan B ready. This would be his responsibility.
  3. MENUS. Either the waitress/waiter will bring them or they’ll already be on the table.
  4. PICK. Decide what you want to eat and be ready for the waiter to take your order. 
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    Give your teen the confidence to eat out by preparing him in advance.

  5. PLACE ORDER. Make sure you have enough money for what you order!
  6. SOCIALIZE. While you are waiting for your food to come, talk with your friend(s). If you need a refill for your drink, get the waiter’s attention and ask politely.
  7. BON APETIT! When your food comes, enjoy.
  8. CHECK, PLEASE. When you and your friends are finished and ready to go, ask your waiter for the check. Some restaurants ask you to pay at the check-out counter. Others will take your money for you.
  9. REMEMBER TO TIP. 15-20% is customary. Maybe your kid can do mental math with no problem. It never hurts to have and know how to use a tip calculator app.  
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    Don’t forget to tip your waiter!

Practice these steps when you dine out as a family. Have your teen say how many are in your party. Have your teen alert the waitress when you’re ready for the check. Have your teen figure out the tip. The more you do this the easier it will be when he or she is on his own.

Good Luck inching toward that all-important self-reliance…

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10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Independent Life After High School | SKILL #9

INDEPENDENT LIVING SKILLS — SKILL #9
Teach Your Child Basic Rules for Living
When an individual picks up after himself, he shows the world he’s responsible. Period.
And let’s face it, whether he goes off to college and lives in the dorms with strangers or
gets a job and shares his workspace or lunch room with co-workers, they will expect him
to tidy up after himself because they sure as heck won’t. And at this point, no parent
can be waiting in the wings to save him.   Image
I came across this list years ago and I freely post it throughout the house. I like to think
it’s made a difference. I added #16 and #17. They’re my favorites. Or maybe they’re just
the ones I find myself barking the most!
1.       If you open it, CLOSE IT!
Image2.       If you turn it onTURN IT OFF!
3.       If you unlock it, LOCK IT!      Image
4.       If you break it, ADMIT IT and REPAIR IT!
5.       If you can’t fix it, CALL IN SOMEONE WHO CAN!
6.       If you borrow it, RETURN IT!
7.       If you use it, TAKE CARE OF IT!
Image8.       If you make a messCLEAN IT UP!
9.       If you move it, PUT IT BACK!
10.     If it belongs to someone else, GET PERMISSION TO USE IT!
11.     If you don’t know how to operate it, LEAVE IT ALONE!
12.     If it doesn’t concern youDON’T MESS WITH IT! Or, if it’s none of your business,DON’T ASK QUESTIONS!
13.     If it’s not brokenDON’T FIX IT!
14.     If it will brighten someone’s day, SAY IT!
15.     If it will tarnish someone’s reputation [or hurt someone’s feelings], KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!
16.     If you see something on the floorPICK IT UP!
17.     If you empty it, REFILL IT!    Image
~~ Author Unknown ~~
And, my friends, if all else fails, just set a good example
As the mother of a son with autism, I’ve committed myself over the years to learning, understanding and sharing the most effective ways to nurture, protect and prepare a child with autism. Strategies with the potential to reap great rewards for our kids. Strategies for transitions and more, which I’ll gladly share with you.
And right now I’m offering speaking engagements to parent groups, educators, autism support groups, government agencies and community organizations.
Call 714-501-8735. The talk is free. The information is priceless. 

If you’ve missed any of my earlier messages you can find them on my blog by clicking here. Follow me!

For more ideas, contact me today at Debora@autismresourcemom.com. Be sure to like ARM on Facebook.

10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Independent Life After High School | SKILL #8

SKILL #8
INDEPENDENT LIVING SKILLS

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If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to be fluffing and folding your child’s laundry for the rest of your life. So start instruction early. Be prepared for repetition. Only with practice will these new skills be mastered.
 
This can be one of the easier chores to teach kids on the spectrum, since it involves activities they often enjoy—sorting [whites, colors, towels] and repetitive tasks. My son is our official “towel folder” and I find great comfort in knowing he’s mastered this skill.
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So continue to prepare your child for life after high school and transition to independent adult life by teaching basic laundry skills. Wash, dry, fold, repeat. 
 
SKILL #8 – Teach Your Child To Do His Own Laundry. 
·         SORT
a.      Whites, colors, towels
·         LOAD WASHER
a.      Teach how to load your machine
b.      Measure out the soap, fabric softener
c.       Set the settings and turn on
·         LOAD DRYER
a.      Transfer clothes to dryer
b.      Check/clean the lint filter
c.       Set the settings and turn on
·         FOLD CLOTHES AND PUT AWAY
a.      Some items may be difficult for some kids to fold—especially if they
         have fine or gross motor issues. If so, make it a team effort.
b.      Then put the folded clothes away.     Image
 
And just remember, it all comes out in the wash!
 

If you’ve missed any of my earlier messages you can find them on my blog by clicking here. Follow me!

For more ideas, contact me today at Debora@autismresourcemom.com. Be sure to like ARM on Facebook. 

10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Independent Life After High School | SKILL #7

SKILL #7
INDEPENDENT LIVING SKILLS
 
It’s June already and the issue of transition to independent adult life is bearing down upon us. So we continue our focus on transitions with our seventh installment of ways to prepare your child for life after high school.
 
Personal safety is an indispensable skill no matter what your teen plans to do after graduation. Some of these steps require advance planning—be sure to take the time needed to help make your teen safe. Preparation now will pay off in the long run.
 
SKILL #7 – Teach your child about personal safety.
  • Boundaries We should all have boundaries on our personal space—we decide what to do with our time, money, actions and emotions.

Likewise, we must respect the personal space of others, ask permission before using property that isn’t ours, always knock on a closed door before entering and ask permission before touching someone else. I’m sure you can think of many more. It’s important to teach our kids to advocate for themselves. Please don’t take that; I’m using it right now, or Please move over; you’re sitting too close to me.

  • Uninvited Strangers Stay Outside Your kids should know that they are not obligated to allow people to intrude when they have not invited them. If your door
    has a peephole, use it—even if you are expecting someone.   Image
It is also good to know your immediate neighbors just in case of emergencies. Knowing who lives across from you and on each side could help in an emergency. And if you notice suspicious activity in the neighborhood, call the police. Observant neighbors help keep communities safe.
  • Stay Alert When Walking, Biking, Driving  Know what to do in case of a car accident. Print this Accident report form and keep a copy in the glove box of your car.
  • Emergency Exit  Know how to exit home/apartment in case of an emergency [fire, earthquake, explosion, etc.] using an escape plan you’ve prepared in advance.
  • Lock Windows and Doors at Night/When Away
  • Basic First Aid Skills  Finally, teach your teen to handle minor crises with a basic first aid kit—always keep one in your home and car. Build one together. Basic Components of a First Aid Kit. Also, know when to get assistance—by calling a neighbor or 911.    Image

ImageIt’s a good practice to carry a whistle and a flashlight on your key chain. You never know when you might need one of them. The ability to rely on yourself to stay safe is just another step toward living independently—and successfully.  Image

If you’ve missed any of my earlier messages you can find them on my blog by clicking hereFollow me!

For more ideas, contact me today at Debora@autismresourcemom.com. Be sure to like ARM on Facebook. 

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10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Independent Life After High School | SKILL #6

SKILL #6 
INDEPENDENT LIVING SKILLS
Two of my family members celebrated their graduation from college in the past week. Part two of my son’s ITP meeting was yesterday. The issue of transition to independent adult life couldn’t be more imminent. So we continue our discussion with our tip #6.
Whether your child is going on to post-secondary education, employment or both, personal hygiene is essentialGrooming and personal care tells others how you feel about yourself. So help your kids learn to send out the message that they care about themselves and how they look. A little effort can go a long way.
SKILL #6 – Teach your child proper grooming.
I divide this lesson into two categories:
    1-      Grooming practices
    2-      Vital personal info
 
GROOMING PRACTICES
Looking presentable on a consistent basis takes some work. Simplify the process by making
personal hygiene a routine.
SKIN
–   Wash face morning and night
–   Reinforce hand washing        

HAIR

–   Shampoo hair regularly
–   Comb hair and know when haircut is needed      
Image–   Shaving—Men shave facial  hair; Women shave legs and underarms

MOUTH
–   Brush teeth and tongue [at least twice a day]–   Floss
–   Have breath mints handy—bad breath is a big turnoff!

BODYImage
–   Exercise
–   Keep nails trimmed and clean [finger and toenails]
–   Use deodorant daily
–   Clean ears
–   Body spray or perfume—use sparingly [less is more]
–   Makeup for women—use sparingly [less is more]
CLOTHING
–   Check zippers/buttons/snaps
–   Clean clothes on a clean body
–   “3 Fit Rule” – 1) Fit your body [not too large, not too small] 2) Fit the weather 3) Fit the occasion

First impressions are important. Start now to help your child make good grooming a habit, so it becomes easier when he’s out there on his own.

VITAL PERSONAL INFO

Maintaining some basic personal health info is another important skill.
VITAMINS/Rx/SUPPLEMENTS
–   Organize a system and stick to it
–   Know how to fill/refill a prescription [Have your teen call in for refills.]
 
KNOW YOUR VITALS
–   Height, weight, DOB, SSN & blood type
–   Help your teen arrange this material into a binder.
–   Teach your teen the importance of keeping certain data private [SSN, etc.].
KNOW HOW TO REACH YOUR MEDICAL PROVIDERS/HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY
–   Have your teen make his own appointment [this is great practice!]
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READ A THERMOMETER

Being in charge of one’s body on various levels is just another step toward living independently—and successfully.

If you’ve missed any of my earlier lessons you can find them on my blog
at https://autismresourcemom.wordpress.com. For more ideas, contact me today at Debora@autismresourcemom.com.
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10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Independent Life After High School | SKILL #4

 
INDEPENDENT LIVING SKILLS
With graduation season not far off, we are reminded of the importance of transition to independent adult life. Think of the various things you do to organize your household—then figure out if your teen could do the same for him or herself.   Image
Our focus on transitions resumes with this fourth installment of ways to prepare your child for life after high school. How many times have you said, “I was going to do that today, but the day just got away from me…”? It’s no secret that keeping track of everything can be a challenge for the best of us. For sure, it’s a skill set that our kids have to be taught. It’s all about planning ahead. Helpful supports include calendars, planners, a system of reminders or alarms, or technology such as a Smartphone, iPad or the like. [It’s a fact: schedule use is one of the best predictors of employment success.]
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So teach your child to design and maintain schedules for different areas of his life: school assignments, leisure time, chores, personal hygiene.
SKILL #4 – Teach your child to organize his time, tasks and things.
Some other things to think about:
You’ll be surprised how having an orderly life can reduce anxiety. Start teaching these skills now! For more tips or an individualized program, contact me today!

Preparing Your Child for Independent Life After High School | SKILL #3: Teach Your Child Basic Food Prep

INDEPENDENT LIVING SKILLS
 
With graduation season just a few months away, we are reminded of the importance of transition to independent adult life. I realize those can be scary words—at least to us parents and caregivers. Nonetheless, we need to give our kids the skills necessary so they can succeed.
 
Here we continue our focus on transitions with this third installment of ways to prepare your child for life after high school. Sure, I know as well as you do, that many times it’s quicker and less messy if we just ‘do it for them.’ But a young, independent adult should know how to prepare or cook two or three breakfast, lunch and dinner items for him/herself.
 
SKILL #3:   Teach your child basic food preparation.
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For example:
  • Wash hands first!
  • Use knives and kitchen appliances safely
  • Use a stove, microwave and oven safely
    • Don’t put metal items in microwave.
    • Know how to preheat oven, use potholders and timer and turn off the oven when done. 
    • Be careful with gas/electric stove tops. 
  • Follow proper food handling procedures
    • Refrigerate foods needing refrigeration.
    • Wash fruits and veggies prior to eating.
    • Be aware of expiration dates and toss expired items.
  • Clean up
    • Store food in covered containers, throw out any trash and always wipe down the work surface. 
    • Scrape and rinse the dishes/utensils and either wash them or put them in the dishwasher.
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Start with meals that don’t require cooking. A breakfast with fruit, cereal with milk, yogurt and juice, for example. When those skills are mastered, move on to cooking one breakfast meal. Then cooking one meal for lunch. Then dinner. Repeat the process to become proficient with several different items for each meal. Bon appétit! 
 
As the mother of a son with autism, I’ve committed myself over the years to learning, understanding and sharing the most effective ways to nurture, protect and prepare a child with autism. Strategies with the potential to reap great rewards for our kids. Strategies for transitions and more, which I’ll
gladly share with you. 
 
Contact me at 714-501-8735 or debora@autismresourcemom.com
 

Teach Your Child Proper Phone Skills

 
INDEPENDENT LIVING SKILLS
 
We continue our focus on transitions with this second installment of ways to prepare your child for life after high school.
 
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Granted, kids these days communicate mainly through texting, Facebook or Instant Messaging, but they still need to know how to start and end a phone call.

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SKILL #2:   Teach your child proper use of the phone.
For example:
  • Initiating the call
    • Say your name and who you are calling for. “This is Joe Smith and I’m calling for Bill.”
    • Explain why you’re calling. “Hey Bill, it’s Joe from Spanish class. I have a question about the homework—do you have a second to talk?”
  • Ending the call
    • Explain why you have to hang up. “Thanks man, now I get it. Gotta finish my homework.”
    • Say you enjoyed talking to the person and you’ll talk to him/her later.
    • Say good-bye. “Later, dude.”
  • Leaving a Voice-Mail Message
    • Don’t assume you’re being recognized—say your name—and who you’re calling for. “This is Mike Jones calling for Tony.”
    • Explain the reason for the call. “Tony, just wanted to see if you’re up for a 
      movie on Saturday. Gimme a call.”
    • Say the day and time of your call. “I’m calling on Thursday around 4pm.”
    • Slowly, give your phone number.  “You can reach me on my cell — 123-4567.”
    • Say good-bye. “Hope you’re available on Saturday. Later, man.”
  • Know how/when to call 911—and when not to.
  • Know how to call for a cab/shuttle and to order take-out.
  • Know how to retrieve messages on your phone.
Mastery of telephone skills is an important step toward independence. Good luck!
 

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As the mother of a son with autism, I’ve committed myself over the years to learning, understanding and sharing the most
effective ways to nurture, protect and prepare a child with autism. Strategies with the potential to reap great rewards for our kids.
Strategies for transitions and more, which I’ll gladly share with you.
 
And right now I’m offering speaking engagements to parent groups, educators, autism support groups, government agencies
and community organizations. 
 
Reserve your booking by calling 714-501-8735. The talk is free. The information is priceless.

 

Preparing Your Child for Life After High School | SKILL #1

INDEPENDENT LIVING SKILLS
 
With graduation season soon to be upon us, it brings to mind the importance of transitions. Thank goodness my son still has a couple of years to go—that’s lucky for us. All the more time to prepare.
 
To make the move from high school to college or the workplace as seamless as possible, of course proper planning has to occur. I’ve learned a lot from the various workshops and trainings I’ve attended, and would like to share some strategies with you here.
 
Over the next 15 weeks, I’ll send out 10 ways you can help prepare your child for this next phase in his/her life. Remember, it’s never too early or too late to prepare our kids for life after high school. But, the earlier we start, the better.
 
When do you think transition prep should begin? Gold stars to all you who answered “From day one.” Yes, from the moment you put your child in someone else’s care, you start preparing that child for transitions throughout his/her life.
 
So all you parents with kids in elementary school, pay close attention. And all you parents with kids in middle school, incorporate these into your child’s lifeAnd all you parents with kids in high school, practice these daily with your teen!
 
Good luck!
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” —Alan Lakein
 
SKILL #1:   Teach your child to wake to an alarm.     Image
It’s one of the fundamentals of independent living. When an individual can get himself up in the morning
without relying on someone to wake him, he’s on the right track. It doesn’t happen overnight, so be patient.
 
Some tips:
 
  • Put the alarm clock away from the child’s bed so that he has to physically get up to turn it off. This will help keep him from going back to sleep after he turns it off.
  • Paint the alarm button with day-glo paint or put a neon sticker on it, so the child can easily identify it.
  • Reward your child when he doesn’t use the snooze button or go back to bed. 
 
As the mother of a son with autism, I’ve committed myself over the years to learning, understanding and sharing the most effective ways to nurture, protect and prepare a child with autism. Strategies with the potential to reap great rewards for our kids. Strategies for transitions and more, which I’ll gladly share with you.
 
And right now I’m offering speaking engagements to parent groups, educators, autism support groups, government agencies and community organizations. 
 
Reserve your booking by calling 714-501-8735. The talk is free. The information is priceless.
Remember to set the alarm!

 

Pick Your Battles

For some reason, when my son cooks fish or chicken fingers, he uses the potholder to flip them. I don’t know why he’s averse to using utensils. I tried and tried various ways to remind him and change him, but it didn’t work. It’s very frustrating to open the potholder drawer and find them covered with crumbs. After months and months of trying and failing to change his behavior, last week I gave up the fight. From now on, I told him, he has to clean off the potholder before returning it to the drawer. When I see him clean it, he’ll get bonus points toward rewards.

Results? No more crummy potholders! I’ve actually watched him take the time to walk to the sink to brush off the crumbs before returning the potholder to the drawer. Aha!

Moral to this lesson:  If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Also, flexibility on mom’s part is always a good thing.

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It’s important to know when to be flexible. That goes for us as well as for our kids.