How Community Outings Can Help Teach Functional Skills
Individuals with autism benefit in many ways from being active in the local community. The classroom offers a controlled environment where a person can slowly develop skills that will help them to feel more independent. When that same person is taken out into the community, they are given a wide variety of new experiences that will reinforce their functional skills and create a variety of positive experiences for them to remember.
Real Life Skills
The learning opportunities available when out in the community are endless. The patience it takes to sit at a table in a restaurant and wait for lunch to arrive is a great opportunity to help a person with autism focus on their personal growth. The same can be said for waiting in a doctor’s office to be called, or waiting in line at a bank for an available teller. These are excellent opportunities that demonstrate how beneficial patience can be and how to be mindful of others.
One good approach to community outings is to bring a little of that controlled classroom feel to help ease the individual into a sense of independence. For example, prior to going on a shopping trip, you can provide a timer and explain that the shopping trip will be over when the timer goes off. This will help to develop the patience to look through different items and make choices, and it will also help them to feel in control of the situation.
These types of reinforcements will allow community outings to become events a person with autism may look forward to. Over time, they will have developed the functional skills necessary to leave the timer at home and enjoy whatever they are doing. It is a matter of helping the individual to focus on the event at hand and maximize their positive feelings.
During community outings, it is important to avoid rewarding inappropriate behavior. The individual might get restless and start insisting they want to leave. Family members should remain positive and engage their loved one with plenty of good reasons to enjoy their outing. It is important to illustrate that the point of the event is to have fun and inappropriate behavior will not cause the family to leave.
When the desire to leave an event early is outwardly displayed, the individual is hoping the family will respond by leaving. Giving in to this behavior can set a difficult precedent, and it is behavior that should not cause the family to change their plans. Try to point out all of the new things the individual will learn and all of the new experiences that are ahead of them. Your positive outlook on the outing, can positively affect the person with autism.
Community outings can help to enhance existing functional skills as well as learn new functional skills that will impart an even stronger sense of independence.
Eden II Programs helps the autism community by providing programs and services combined with lifespan support to improve the quality of life for individuals with ASD and their families. Eden II has the greatest ability to help individuals with ASD reach their highest potential for independent, self-sustained living through high-quality Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services, educational programs, adult day programs, group residential care, family support, respite, and a number of other services. Eden II Programs uses the evidence-based practices of ABA to develop skills, promote independence, and change lives for the better.
For information on programs and services available at Eden II, please visit us online at eden2.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.