Daily Living and Functional Life skills refer to the day-to-day tasks that we all engage in and are essential for an individual to life independently. Most individuals have a long-term goal of living independently from their parents or guardians, and this is an essential step in the development of an individual’s personality and self-esteem. Some individuals however, need some assistance to develop some of these skills before they can begin to live more independently, with a long-term goal of living on their own.
Development of daily living and functional life skills is often through the use of a functional life skills program. These programs are generally structured around six main areas of development, but also consider the strengths and preferences of the individual. The six areas are:
Prompting: prompting the individual to participate in the activity – prompts can be verbal, gestural, modelling (i.e. showing the action or task), video footage or physical
Fading: reducing the frequency of prompting over time
Reinforcement: provide reinforcement to encourage engaging in the task and continuing to improve the skill
Chaining: linking the specific task to the strengths of the individual. This area includes breaking the task down into smaller, achievable segments
Schedules: this includes the development and implementation of functional schedules
Rules: development and implementation of basic rules to assist in facilitating the development of the task or skills
The typical skills and programs that Developmental Educators work on can include: Transport programs, Cooking programs, Personal hygiene & Self-care – dressing, feeding, etc.
Independent living – house cleaning, laundry, shopping, etc.
Emotional awareness and identification, or self-regulation as it is commonly known, is an individual’s ability to identify and monitor their own feelings and behaviours. This allows the individual to understand what they are feeling and why. Being able to self-regulate supports the individual to manage and control their emotional responses to various situations by understanding their behaviour and developing strategies to control them.
There are a range of skills and individual characteristics that support self-regulatory behaviours by focusing the individual’s attention on how they regulate their emotions and how they manage their thought process.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is used to help develop an individual’s self-regulatory skills, by developing processes and strategies to assist with managing emotions and thoughts and coping with different situations. When using DBT for emotional regulation, it focuses on: Identifying and labelling, Emotions, Identifying obstacles, Reducing vulnerability brought forward by the emotional mind & Increasing positive emotions.