• Stacy Crouse

Using Digital Materials to Target Life Skills

Helping students to be more independent with tasks of daily living, and therefore more ready for the “real world,” is a very important part of the high school years for students receiving special education. Special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, and occupational therapists may target life skills as part of a transition program and to address goals in a meaningful way. But working on these skills doesn’t have to require hours of preparation on the part of the teacher or therapist. In fact, it’s easy to use activities that are engaging, practical, and don’t even require printing a single sheet of paper.

One way to functionally target life skills with out any printing or prep work is to use websites to gain information. For example, you could work with a student on searching for and understanding the weather forecast, webpages of local events, or store advertisements. The resource shown below also addresses utilizing community resources and can be viewed on a smart board, computer, teletherapy platform, or tablet.

Cooking activities are always very motivating for older students. Whether you're working on transition goals, or just want to address language within the context of a functional activity, these No Print Visual Recipes are easy to save on a tablet or computer to use whenever you need them!

YouTube is already an entertaining platform for many students, but it also contains some awesome videos to assist with teaching cooking skills. Sarah Wu is an SLP with some great wordless cooking videos on YouTube. It's important to always preview the video before viewing it with a student.

Another way to bring excitement to working on life skills is to use smartphone or computer apps. In a time when most high school students have their own cell phones and are very comfortable with using them, apps such as Pinterest to look up recipes, Google Maps to get directions to the library, or Ticketmaster to find out about upcoming events, will teach real world application of the technology they already have at their fingertips. Boom Cards on the free Boom Learning app, such as this deck targeting identifying supplies for a given household task, can also be used via an app or web browser to prepare students for post high school readiness.

Lastly, teaching students how to complete forms (such as applications, order forms, and registrations) is a valuable skill for transition to adulthood. Many forms can be found when Googling, or your student might have the need to actually complete a form to order a school shirt, for example. The picture below shows a no print job application with fillable text boxes which is available in my email subscriber freebie library and can be accessed HERE.

If you are a busy speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, or teacher, it's no doubt that planning and prep time is minimal. I hope that these activities give you some ideas of ways to target life skills without spending your lunch time doing it!