Independence is an important part of growing up, and as young adults, the students in Room 221 are hard at work to attain skills that will make them more independent. Throughout each school day we work on organization, hygiene, money skills, vocational tasks, home skills, following written/visual directions, and taking responsibility for their own schedule.
One aspect of our weekly schedule that has been particularly effective in developing skills needed for independence has been our community trips. Outings in our local community have allowed students to practice skills such as budgeting, ordering items, paying for a purchase, comparison shopping, navigating a grocery store/department store, observing vocational opportunities, and social skills.
For example, our most recent trip into the community was to a local clothing store. Before the trip, season-appropriate clothing was discussed using a sorting activity. While in the store, students had to view the items available in the store and choose items that they liked, determine whether they had enough money in their wallet for the item, locate the size they needed, try it on, determine if it was a good fit, and pay for the item using the correct amount of money and displaying appropriate social skills.
The next day nearly all the students in our class wore their new clothing. They had big smiles on their faces as they told anyone who was available for a conversation that they picked out the clothes by themselves and paid with the money they earned working at their jobs!
Other trips we have taken to develop independence have been to the train station to work with train schedules, comparison shopping in the grocery store, setting up a spending plan for getting their own hygiene items by taking price finding trips to the drug store, purchasing and preparing items for a class activity, and accessing leisure activities. We are finding the path to independence very enjoyable!