Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Functional Skills, What Parents need to Know

Parents of exceptional students attend several teachers’ conferences a year. During these meetings parents and teachers discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their specific children, and write academic and functional goals. Often academic goals are tied to functional skills goals. Functional skills are designed to help students when they gain their independence. Such as, recognizing coin values, counting money and purchasing skills (something all adults need to be able to do) is usually written as a math goal.

Other functional skills exceptional children need to master and that are tied to academic goals are:

- Sight words such as grocery words, fast foods, restaurant words, community signs and job and work related words, which are included in reading and language arts goals,

- Lessons on weather and temperatures, plant identification, equipment use, safety, animal care, measuring cups and spoons as well as following recipes, all fall under science goals,

- Reading maps, understanding directions, collating papers, stapling papers and shredding paper all fall under work related skills and social studies.

In order for exceptional student to be successful, independent adults, schools need to prepare them for the outside world. Mastering functional skills, those skills most adults use every day, will help these students succeed and transition into the world, after their years in school.

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