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Avoiding Summer Slide with Special Needs Teens

With summer off, how do we keep our teens with special needs from losing valuable skills during the break? The answer is: adult living skills. With academic pressure off and more flexibility with schedules, this is a perfect time to hone skills teens need for transitioning into adulthood. Activities around cooking, transportation and housekeeping not only keep teens busy during long summer days and allow for independence during the school year, but success in everyday chores also leads to self-confidence and a transfer of that confidence to other subjects.

Cooking Up a Storm

Cooking is a very concrete activity—do it successfully and you get to eat the fruits of your labors. Mess up, and you get a clear lesson in cause and effect. The Daily Living Skills program provides a unit on cooking skills that includes Kitchen Basics, Nutrition, Grocery Shopping and Making Meals. The books provide the scaffolding to create an intensive unit that supports meal planning, field trips to the grocery store and simple recipes that can be prepared in the microwave or cooked on the stove.

But, you don’t have to spend a dime to get the benefits of the program. A dozen free videos are available here. Whether it’s making hot dogs or burritos, cooking up oatmeal or pasta, you’ll find lots of “how-to” videos free of charge on the site.


As students are out-and-about, it is important that they travel in a safe manner. “Bicycle’s Safety Seven” from Daily Living Skills’ Transportation provides students with a quick and easy resource to staying safe while on a bike. Copy this free lesson and help students keep in mind the rules of the road.

Other lessons in Transportation include sign knowledge, a driver’s license game to help students pass the written exam, and tips on cooling road rage.


Getting a handle on cleaning can be a valuable skills to work on during the summer. Students have the extra time they need to really clean and organize their living spaces before the extra stress of school and extracurricular activities eat into free time. Check out the free videos modeling how to clean bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens and living spaces here.There’s even a video on how to change the sheets! Checklists and extra hints are offered in the workbook Cleaning House. Or, help students learn to wash, fold and put their clothes away with the free book Doing Laundry offered on the site.

Using Summer to Your Advantage

By working on practical, necessary adult skills during the summer, you can engage your teen’s mind on new skills and still offer a “break” from regular classroom activities.

Daily Living Skills books are written on a 3rd/4th-grade level but honor a teen’s sensibilities and maturity while offering Indicator 13 skills and federally mandated transition services. Try out these free lessons here, and if you like them, check out other products here!

7_3 Bicycle Safety WS
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