For individuals with special needs, it may be difficult to make the transition into school or workforce. Depending on the transition training they got and the life skills they possess, they might be more or less successful adjusting to the new challenges that they’re about to face.
Parents, caregivers and teachers all play a vital role in preparing an individual with special needs to transition successfully into a new environment or stage of life. Let’s have a look at why life skills and transition training are so important, as well as how caregivers can help with transition.
Why Is Transition Important?For special needs children and adults, proper transitioning means more success in the new activity. Unfortunately, the educational system often fails individuals with disabilities and special needs. In 2015 in the US only 34.9% of people with disabilities aged between 18-64 had a job, according to the 2016 Disability Statistics Annual Report.
This shows that there’s a clear need for better transition training and making sure that obstacles preventing children and adults with special needs to function independently and successfully in a community are easier to navigate. Additionally, transition services are required by the IDEA and school districts have to provide them and make them a part of the special education curriculum.
Key Life SkillsThere is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to key life skills, considering that not all special needs individuals face the same challenges. However, there are a few key areas to focus on, depending on an individual’s needs and existing skills. For example, social and communication skills are important for individuals on the autism spectrum, so they’d have an easier time adjusting to new situations and circumstances. Whether the transition involves school, adulthood or work, life skills are the tools that provide support and confidence.
However, the general curriculum often doesn’t cover learning these skills. Knowing how to balance checkbooks and manage money, prepare meals or navigate different social situations means that an individual with special needs can be successful in independent life, whether it’s a school or work environment.
How Does Teaching Life Skills Help Transition?Skills that predict success in various situations and ensure that individuals with special needs will have proper support while adjusting to the change are crucial for successful transition training.
Caregivers should be aware of what type of training and life skills will be necessary for an individual to learn, so they could plan in advance and ensure that the process of transition will be as seamless as possible. Caregivers, parents and teachers should cooperate in order to provide the best possible opportunities for learning and adjustment.
ConclusionCaregivers and parents can determine the best approaches and ways of teaching skills and preparing individuals with special needs to transition into a new life stage, according to their individual wishes and abilities. This in turn helps them achieve their goals and have good quality of life.
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Various diagnoses and subtypes of autism exist on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). One of them is Asperger’s syndrome, which was regarded as a separate subtype of autism until 2013. That’s when the DSM-5 diagnostic manual was brought forth, folding Asperger’s into a single diagnosis of ASD.
History of Asperger’s Syndrome AwarenessIn 1944, Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger first described the symptoms that were later connected with this syndrome. He observed similar social difficulties in four young boys, but his observations sunk into obscurity until 1981. It was then that Lorna Wing, an English physician, published a series of case studies on children with similar symptoms, and widely popularized Asperger’s work. From 1994 until 2013, Asperger’s syndrome was described in the DSM-4 diagnostic manual as a syndrome separate from autism.
The Characteristics of Asperger’s SyndromeOn the autism spectrum disorder, Asperger’s syndrome is considered to be on the high functioning end. In this case, that means that while affected adults and children show difficulties in social interactions, their cognitive development is not impaired. Those affected by Asperger’s can often have a restricted range of interests and engage in repetitive behaviors. However, within their specialized fields of interest, they often wield a very developed vocabulary.
Behaviors Associated with Asperger’s SyndromeSome of the actions commonly observed in those affected by Asperger’s vary wildly from person to person and don’t have to be the same in intensity or degree. Still, individuals may show some of the following behaviors:
● Speech-related behaviors – monotone, “robotic” speaking or repetitiveness, average to above average verbal skills coupled with challenges in nonverbal communications such as understanding facial expressions, body language, and gestures;
● Social behaviors – inappropriate or limited social interactions, tendency to have one-sided conversations coupled with the obsession with particular topics, lack of eye contact, inability to understand emotional or social issues, difficulty interpreting nonliteral phrases, tendency to discuss self over others.
Diagnosis of Asperger’s SyndromeUnfortunately, Asperger’s frequently remains undiagnosed until later in life, once social difficulties begin manifesting as a lack of success in school, workplace or generally personal life. Adults often get diagnosed only after seeking help for issues such as depression or anxiety. When it comes to children, Asperger’s is often misdiagnosed as ADHD, until it becomes clear that the child doesn’t suffer from the inability to focus attention, but rather the inability to socialize effectively.
Support for Individuals Affected by Asperger’s SyndromeDifferent things may help with Asperger’s syndrome, but the common thread of most treatments is learning social skills. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be used both for children and adults and teach social skills as well as self-control of repetitive behaviors, emotions, and obsessions. Group programs can be quite useful and provide necessary support for training social skills. Another option is speech and language therapy to help with conversation skills.
It’s important to note that individuals affected by Asperger’s syndrome can lead happy, fulfilled lives. With the proper support, the social issues they have can be minimized, and they can make better use of their unique gifts, such as the ability for high focus that many of individuals with Asperger’s possess.
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