I have an autistic teenager. When is it appropriate to start teaching life skills?


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Discussion: “For most of the kids who are older and on the autism spectrum, the big problem is service and educational communities giving up on them,” states Dr. Greenspan, and abandoning thinking skills in the process. We shouldn’t stop challenging older children simply because they are autistic.

That isn’t to say that life skills aren’t valuable, notes Dr. Greenspan. “You can do that as part of opening and closing circles of communication and teaching thinking skills. When you use life skills training as an excuse to stop the thinking process, then you create a leveling-off of learning.”

It shouldn’t be thinking skills versus life skills; it’s the way you consider the entire program and how you inspire imagination within the older child or teenager. It can be difficult if the older child is still under the influence of catastrophic affects, but we want to continue to improve the quality of the person’s life.