Transition From Middle School To High School Tips For Students What Are Functional Skills And Why Does My Child With A Disability Need Them?

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What Are Functional Skills And Why Does My Child With A Disability Need Them?

Are you concerned that your child with a disability is not learning

academics at a grade and age level pace? Have you thought that your

child may benefit from a curriculum of functional skills? Would you

like to learn about a resource that can help you learn more about

functional curriculums for your child in special education? This

article will discuss functional skills, functional academics, why your

child with a disability needs them, and a resource for more

information.

Functional skills are defined as skills that can be used everyday, in

different environments. Functional skills focus on different areas

such as home (cooking, cleaning etc) family, self help skills

(bathing, brushing teeth, dressing, grooming), employment, recreation,

community involvement, health, and functional academics. All students

with disabilities will benefit from functional skill training, to help

them in their adult life.

Functional academics are also important for children with

disabilities, who may not be able to learn age and grade appropriate

academics. Functional academics are defined as academic areas that

will be used by the student for the rest of their life. For example:

Reading (read signs; stop, go, mens, womens, read a recipe). Math

(money, grocery shopping, making change, budget). Health (grooming,

oral hygiene, plan healthy meals). A wonderful resource to learn more

about functional skills, and functional curriculums to help children

with special needs is the book entitled Functional Curriculum for

Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Age Students with Special Needs.

The book is Edited by Paul Wehman and John Kregal, and is a resource

that you will use again and again.

Your child with a disability needs functional skills because these

skills will have meaning for your child, and will help them be as

independent as possible, as an adult. For example: Every child eats,

and being able to cook or prepare simple foods will help them be more

independent. If children learn simple household chores, these skills

can be turned into job skills when they get older. For example: My

daughter Angelina, who has a severe disability, learned how to fold

towels when she was in elementary school. When Angelina entered high

school she had a job folding towels at the high school pool. Because

Angelina already had the functional skill of folding towels, the

transition to a job folding towels was pretty easy. Angelina also

learned that when she worked hard folding towels, she was paid. On pay

day, she was able to spend the money that she made at her job.

Learning functional skills that can be turned into work is critical

for all children with disabilities. They will gain pride by being able

to work, and will understand the connection between work and money.

By learning what functional skills are and why they are important,

will help your child as they grow into adulthood. Do not be afraid to

bring up functional skill training for your child, when you are

participating in IEP meetings. Your child is depending on you to help

them be a happy fulfilled adult!

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