Life Skills in ABA

teaching life skills in aba

Life Skills in ABA

Life skills are meant to be practical and useful in a variety of real world situations. They are typically necessary for daily living and can greatly improve quality of life. There are a wide range of functional skills that we help with, some include: 

  • Communication skills: using and understanding verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Safety skills: avoiding dangerous circumstances
  • Leisure skills: playing independently or or with others appropriately
  • Self-care skills: hygiene, completing daily tasks
  • Vocational skills: fostering independence to move about in a work environment without or with minimal supervision
  • And many more!

But, how do we teach life skills?

At Project Play Therapy, we understand that each learner is unique and reaches their fullest potential in different ways. That is why it is essential to individualize skill teaching for the learner, so we can better foster opportunities for growth and independence!


That being said, there are numerous ways in which we can go about teaching life skills. Some examples include: practicing in the natural environment (Natural Environment Training), breaking down the skill into smaller steps and teaching each step (Task Analysis), using visual schedules, using video models, repetition (Discrete Trial Training), and many more. Check out this video we made that goes more into teaching skills in smaller steps. 

One important key to success for any learning is motivation. Kids might not always be motivated to learn many of the important skills that we want to teach them.  While we eventually want our kiddos to do these things with natural consequences, we sometimes need to start with using reinforcement or reward systems for initial teaching to increase motivation and attention while decreasing potential challenging behaviors!

Please reach out to your friendly neighborhood BCBA at Project Play Therapy if you have any questions about teaching your kiddo life skills!


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