How to Teach People Independent Living Skills

Housekeeping is a part of independent living study.

Most people learn independent living skills by observing others, but for disabled individuals, the process of learning to care for oneself is not as simple. To teach a disabled person how to become independent in his day-to-day life, the teacher should take great care to adhere to the student’s learning abilities and show respect for his disability in planning and execution of lessons. With forethought, kindness and a strategy in place, the road to independent living can be traveled more readily.

Prioritize skill training. Different people require different instruction. Determine in what areas the student most requires help, and make that a priority. Priorities can vary by skill level, the importance of the task and the importance of being able to fulfill that task in a family or support group.

Use positive statements more frequently than correctional statements. This helps keep the students from giving up in frustration.

Stick to realistic expectations. Don’t overwhelm the student with more tasks then she can handle. Consider if it is a good time to engage in instruction, and if the student is capable of learning in the moment: especially students with autism or Asperger Syndrome.

Set goals. Goals should be appropriate to the student’s learning abilities. They help mark a student’s progression and act as gateways for rewarding completing tasks, which can keep students engaged and positive.

Educate the student on a wide variety of topics. If it is a task done in everyday life or required to live independently, teach it. Topics include social skills, financial management, home management and health management.

A professional writer since 2008, Charlotte Kirkwood’s articles have appeared on Pop Syndicate,, CollectionDX and other websites. She enjoys writing about travel, films, literature, beauty, homemaking, pop culture and anime. Kirkwood's previous jobs include makeup artist and book seller. She studied English and art history at Southwest State University.