Essential Life Skills for Children with Autism

For a child with Autism, managing small daily tasks that everyone else takes for granted can pose a big challenge. And while you can help them when they’re young, they will need to learn how to take care of themselves so that they can function adequately when you are not around. While teaching your child self -sufficiency can seem daunting, it can help to break it down into a list of key skills to build up over the years. Here’s a quick guide to the most important life skills for your child with Autism.

Understanding Autism

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a range of neurodevelopmental disorders that affect social, behavioral, and communicative abilities. Children with Autism tend to have trouble communicating with others and following social rules, for which occupational therapy and other treatment for Autism in Hyderabad is crucial. 

Important life skills for your child with Autism to learn

To give your child the best shot at a healthy individual life, it’s important to start young with skills training. Your healthcare team can give you guidance on the right teaching methods and exercises. In addition, come up with your own ideas depending on your child’s needs and likes. Here are the six key groups of life skills to focus on when raising your child with Autism.

  • Personal care: These skills include personal hygiene, nutrition, and exercise, as well as the ability to handle emotionally challenging situations as well as physical illnesses. Children should be encouraged to learn these as early on as possible. Creating easy-to-follow routines and breaking down each segment of personal care into multiple steps will help children with Autism grasp them better and replicate them as needed. 
  • Daily living skills: These include skills related to managing a household and carrying out more complex activities, such as laundering clothes, cooking meals, cleaning the house, reading maps and so on. The best way to incorporate these skills is by involving your children with Autism in household tasks as early as possible. The sooner they start learning their way around tasks like cooking and shopping, the likelier they are to get used to doing them independently. 
  • Executive skills: These include tasks and decisions related to planning and organising, such as determining one’s schedule or creating (and sticking to) a to-do list. This category may be challenging for your child and will require ongoing effort. Step-by-step routines and interactive activities can help.
  • Social skills: This is a critical skill set that should be taught from an early age, as children with Autism tend to struggle the most with this. They include participating in group activities, making friends, sharing things, holding conversations, taking turns, and so on. Enlist the teacher’s help to create a school environment where your child can learn these skills effectively. This also includes knowing how and whom to ask for help as needed.
  • Job skills: These include the skills that will enable your child to build a career of their choice, and include the job-search process as well as the skills to do well at the job. Once your child is a little older and has mastered some social skills, consider taking them along to your place of work to show them what you do and let them try things hands-on. You can also ask around to see whether any companies or organizations in your neighborhood offer volunteer opportunities. Other ways to learn job-related skills include volunteering at parks, signing up for youth clubs, enrolling as a boy/girl scout and so on. It is important to choose something based on what your child’s interests are to sustain their attention.
  • Self-advocacy: This is somewhat akin to self-care, but at a higher level. It involves teaching children how to state their opinions, how to ask questions, and when and how to say no. For children who have made progress on their social and executive skills, guidance in self-advocacy can help them navigate complex situations and resolve conflict gracefully without compromising on their own needs and beliefs.

It is important to remember that your child will not learn these skills overnight. They will take their own time and their education needs may evolve as they grow. The key here is to provide a safe, loving atmosphere that motivates your child to learn through encouragement rather than fear of punishment. With the right care at home supplemented by the best treatment for Autism in Hyderabad, your child will be well on their way to becoming an independent, productive adult.

Dr Na'eem Sadiq is a respected stem cell specialist at Plexus, and a prominent neurologist in Bangalore. He studied neurology and clinical neurophysiology in London, and worked with some of the most prestigious medical institutions in England, and the Middle East. He completed his MBBS at Bellary Government Medical College, and a postgraduate degree in psychiatry from NIMHANS in Bangalore.

Dr Na'eem has perfected his knowledge and expertise in Continuing medical education (CME), and training in tissue culture, Stem Cell Therapy, and neurology. Dr Na'eem Sadiq possesses an undying passion to improve people’s lives. This led to the creation of Plexus, a neuro and Stem Cell Research centre in Bangalore in neurosurgery, and neurorehabilitation.