Special Education » Secondary Life Skills

Secondary Life Skills

The high school life skills class is designed to maximize independence and prepare students to enter the “real world” after graduation.  Classroom instruction takes place across curricular areas while regular education teachers instruct the students in the areas of physical education, art, music and technology education in their domains of the school.   Transition activities include community-based instruction and vocational training where the students learn skills in their natural environments.  In essence, the community then becomes the “classroom” and students not only learn “skills” but they are actively engaged with people and learn how to get along with others. 

Community-based instruction activities include learning to shop and eat out in various stores & restaurants around town.  Students also learn the purpose and function of community facilities such as the post office and public library.  We can teach the pre-requisite skills of reading food labels, reading menus, counting money, etc. in the classroom and simulate some of the steps, but the ideal learning scenarios are “real places with real situations”.  Our students can often be found consulting shopping lists, reading aisle markers, and comparing prices at area stores.  Groups may also be seen in restaurants taking their time to read menus, order food and calculate bills and tips.  Many students can tell you the price of stamps and where to mail letters at the post office.  The employees in these locations understand our goals and are willing to take the extra time with our students to help them learn.

Community-based vocational training is also an integral component of our program and prepares students to enter the work force.  Many businesses have graciously opened their doors to us so that we can teach students job skills on-site.  A trained instructional assistant acts as a job coach and students are either given assignments upon arrival or work alongside regular employees learning the skills necessary to work at each location.  The training program is designed to teach the students not only how to do a job but how to relate to others while working.  Being a good worker isn’t all about doing the job, it’s about getting along with others and knowing how to take orders, advice, and constructive criticism.  The natural work environment allows the students to see the interactions of others as a model as well as having the benefit of someone helping them to make the right decisions as situations occur.

Our overall goal is for our students to be productive citizens and to be as independent as possible in their home and work life.  All aspects of the program are geared to help each student reach their highest potential.  We have a great team of support staff working with the students both in the classroom and community and everyone works together for the benefit of the students.