There is a common misconception that disabled children won’t go onto lead full lives as adults, but that just is not the case. A lot of disabled adults are able to lead full and happy lives and are either fully independent or semi-independent. Either way, disabled adults need to understand how to take care of themselves to some extent and how to complete basic daily tasks. Otherwise, their chance of any independence is low.
As a parent of a disabled child, you know that they may have more obstacles to face than other people in life. Because of this, you want to ensure that life is as easy for them as possible so that they are able to live it to the full and enjoy their life. That’s why teaching basic life skills from a young age is so important, as it is these skills that will give your child the best start in life and help them on the road to adult life.
With that in mind, the question is: what life skills is it vital that your child learns?
Money management skills
One of the most vital skills for adult life is understanding how to manage money. If you want to give your child every chance of having some independence, then it is crucial that from a young age, you take steps to help them learn about money and how to manage their own finances. We aren’t talking about coping with all of their monthly bills themselves, just understanding how to ensure that their weekly funds last them for the week.
When it comes to teaching money management skills, there are plenty of ways that you can do that. One of the best of which is allowing your child to watch how you manage your money; you see kids tend to mimic their parents’ habits, which means that when it comes to money management if you are good with money, there is a higher chance that your child will be. Say for instance, you budget effectively and never spend more than you need to. And if there is a Marks and Spencer discount code, or any discount code for that matter, you always tend to take advantage of it, then it is more likely that your child will learn effective money management skills from you.
Play is another useful way that you can teach your child about money management. If you want to help your child understand money and its value, providing them with the toys to learn is important. A cash register and a selection of coins and notes is all that your child needs to practice their money skills and learn the value of money. Play shop with your child and let them be the shopkeeper, and over time they will begin to grasp a better understanding of the value of money.
Completing household chores
Whether you hope that your child is able to one day live alone or live in partially supported accommodation, it is still important that you teach them how to complete basic household chores. From changing their bed to washing their clothes, there are plenty of chores that are important for adult life. Of course, that being said, when teaching a disabled child these kinds of skills, it is not always a straightforward process and can take longer than you would like. However, if you consistently teach them about different chores and how to complete them, you will be helping to ensure that adult life is as easy as possible for them to adjust to.
One of the best methods for teaching your kids about different chores is to write down each of the steps for each task and put them where they can see them. If your child finds reading difficult, use pictures instead to demonstrate each step. Make sure that the steps are ordered in chronological order, as this will help to make things easier. Don’t expect your child to pick up these skills right away; it will take time and lots of consistent learning.
After you have spent a few days teaching your child how to complete a task, such as putting on a load of washing, ask them to do it on their own. Watch what your child does and help them should they get stuck or make a mistake. Encourage your child to complete their own chores each week, so that they are constantly practising them and learning more life skills all of the time.
Cooking food safely
If your child is going to grow up to live alone or even in semi-supported housing, they are going to need to know how to prepare and cook food safely, aren’t they? So with this in mind, it is important that as part of the life skills that you teach your child, you take the time to show them how to cook and prepare food safely
To understand what they can and cannot do safely, you will need to assess them. You may find that your child is able to learn to safely use the cooker to make meals, or you may find that the microwave and the toaster is as far as they can safely go. It doesn’t matter what your child can do in the kitchen, just as long as they are doing it safely.
There are various video tutorials online that you can use to teach your child how to cook and prepare food in a safe and responsible manner. Sit and watch these with your child, to help them to develop their cooking and food preparation skills. You could also opt to take them to a children’s cooking class, to help them further hone their skills, as well as to grow their confidence.
As a parent, you naturally want to do what is best for your child, giving them every chance in life. That’s why as the parent of a disabled child, you want to do everything that you can to give them a head start on the skills that they will need to master for adult life. Hopefully, the tips and advice above will help you to do that, and give your child every chance to lead a partially independent life.