Functional skills are defined as skills that can be used every day, in different environments. Functional skills focus on different areas such as home (cooking, cleaning etc), family, self-help skills (bathing, brushing teeth, dressing, grooming), employment, recreation, community involvement, health, and functional academics. All students with disabilities will benefit from functional skill training, to help them in their adult life.
Functional academics are also important for children with disabilities, who may not be able to learn age and grade appropriate academics. Functional academics are defined as academic areas that will be used by the student for the rest of their life. For example: Reading (read signs; stop, go, men, women, read a recipe). Math (money, grocery shopping, making change, budget). Health (grooming, oral hygiene, plan healthy meals).
Your child with a disability needs functional skills, because these skills will have meaning for your child, and will help them be as independent as possible, as an adult. For example: Every child eats, and being able to cook or prepare simple foods will help them be more independent. If children learn simple household chores, these skills can be turned into job skills when they get older. Learning functional skills that can be turned into work is critical for all children with disabilities. They will gain pride by being able to work, and will understand the connection between work and money.