The fundamental goal for adults with autism is to achieve the greatest degree of independence possible. That means a life skills programme for autism should be able to empower its pupils to take charge of their own lives rather than just teach them fundamental skills. Even if they still need some support when living alone, they will still be able to make their own decisions and set their own goals.
Topics covered in our life skills programme at Brighton Launch for people with autism include:
Basic household activities, such as keeping the house clean, fall under this category. In addition to cooking, the person with autism may require assistance with meal planning, preparation, and purchasing to maintain a nutritious and balanced diet. Some people with autism may struggle with basic hygiene tasks.
Being able to budget finances is a crucial aspect of being self-sufficient and living independently. This includes looking at income (whether from work or official support) and calculating how much you can afford to spend, deciding what are essential expenses and where expenditure can be cut, and knowing how to save responsibly. Budgeting is necessary for keeping household utilities running, purchasing necessities such as food, having access to public transportation and other parts of daily life. Financial management also involves understanding different payment methods, such as cash and debit cards, and being able to use them.
Social skills are an area where many people with autism struggle. When living independently, the likelihood of having to interact with people they do not know, and who do not understand their condition, increases. To navigate situations such as going shopping or being in the workplace, an adult with autism may need to improve their communication skills, ability to self-regulate and a general understanding of the rules of social interaction.
Language, reading, writing, mathematics and, in the modern world, digital literacy are considered foundational skills for anyone who wants to complete their education, obtain and hold down a job and generally function in society. At the functional level, these skills cover things such as holding a conversation, filling in a job application or adding up change when going shopping. It becomes quite difficult to participate in regular life without them.
An important task for anyone who supports an adult with autism is to learn how to advocate for their specific needs and desires, rather than trying to impose what they think is best. One of the strongest ways you can support their independence is by teaching them how to perform this kind of advocacy for themselves. This could include approaching a potential employer or applying for various forms of assistance. When an adult with autism faces difficulties, the ability to self-advocate ensures that they have the means to seek help from the appropriate person at the appropriate time.
The life skills program for autism at Brighton Launch provides a valuable way to teach adults with autism how to live independently. Essential areas such as home and financial management, social interaction, functional skills and self-advocacy can all make it easier for them to control their own lives and achieve personal satisfaction.
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