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A boy with cerebral palsy smiles at a woman standing alongside him.

Skills for life - As children grow into adults, they need to learn skills to navigate our world. Starting early gives them the best chance to learn and practice these skills before they are fully independent.

This article is about the skills they, with help, aim to develop before they leave home. Whether you are a parent, friend or support person of a person with disability, you can support them to develop life skills. We include a list of suggested skills to consider.

NSW High Schools

Life Skills program – Department of Education – Modified program – under Individual Education Plans.

Life Skills courses and content provide options for students with disability who cannot access the regular course outcomes. Particularly students with an intellectual disability.

The Year 7 – 10 Syllabus includes Life Skills outcomes and content.

In Years 11 – 12, there is at least 1 Life Skills course for each key subject area.

Students can, at any time, access Life Skills. The decision to access one or more of these courses is guided by the student’s needs and the collaborative curriculum planning process.

For more information, see NSW Education Standards on Life Skills.

 teacher with male student using digital tablet in classroom

NDIS Support

The NDIS can assist participants to live independently. Again, individual needs must be considered, and you may want to consider developing these life skills in planning conversations about the goals of your NDIS plan. Supports or carers can also help with these tasks.

Core Supports

In the Core support budget, “Assistance with Daily life” is the framework around assistance and supervision of personal tasks in day-to-day life.  This category includes daily personal activities, and help with household tasks to maintain the home environment.

Travel training also fits into core supports and your NDIS budget under several categories. Your LAC can explain how best this applies to you.

Capacity Building

  • Daily Activity
  • Home Living
  • Social and Community Participation

Non NDIS participants

For Non-NDIS participants, focussing on the help of close friends and family, online free supports or services, and education providers is the key to support and developing life skills.


The A list – Is an online hub for young autistic people and their families. In June 2021, they have released a week of videos around social goals.

Day 1 – Personal Care and meeting other peoples expectations

Day 2 – Problem Solving for young autistics

Day 3 – Role modelling behaviour

Day 4 – Understanding other people’s perspectives

Day 5 – Online Safety

little boy with down syndrome washing his hands picture id1044326908


Dad, How do I?

Created by a Dad, a series of Youtube videos of useful, practical content for many basic tasks - how to check car fluids, how to cook macaroni, basic baking, how to fix a running toilet, how to shave your face, how to use basic power and hand tools and so much more.  Know as the "The Internet's Dad", Rob Kenny decided to become the role model he never had.

Dad, How do I? on youtube.

Examples of life skills to encourage independence

Skills for Life List for Download

Download pdf Skills For Life List


  • Bathe and wash hands
  • Brush and floss teeth
  • Comb and style hair
  • Cut fingernails


  • Dress self
  • Coordinate outfits
  • Put clothes in the hamper
  • Fold/ hang up clothing
  • Sort laundry
  • Operate washing machine and dryer
  • Peg clothes on the line
  • Simple mending
  • Ironing

    Girl with disability folds tea towel with her feet. Her mother watches on.


  • Conversations Starters
  • Keeping in touch
  • Boundaries
  • Making friends
  • Sexual Health


  • Basic Budgeting
  • Savings
  • Life insurance (ambulance insurance)
  • What to do if a card is lost or stolen
  • Paying basic bills or buying things


  • Clean the inside and outside
  • Refuel
  • Check oil
  • Tyre pressure
  • Change tyre

Basic Housekeeping

  • Pick up toys and clothes
  • Empty garbage
  • Make beds
  • Load/unload the dishwasher
  • Set and clean table
  • Handwashing
  • Dust
  • Vacuum
  • Mop Floors
  • Clean windows
  • Scrub bathrooms
  • Wash walls

mother helping her son with disability to do housework


  • Feed self
  • Basic nutrition
  • Prepare simple meals
  • Make juice
  • Plan menu
  • Organise shopping list
  • Grocery shopping
  • How to store produce
  • Follow a recipe

Home care

  • Mow lawn and weeding
  • Use of basic tools
  • How to change a lightbulb
  • Emergency numbers
  • Where to turn off water, gas and electricity
  • Make bed

Social media

  • Screen time control
  • Healthy Social Media Use
  • Where to make reports


  • Road safety
  • Eating Out and ordering
  • Basic First Aid
  • Travel training
  • Basic exercise
  • Healthy lifestyle habits
  • Hobbies


  • Preparing a resume
  • Attending an interview
  • Workplace interaction
  • Health and safety practices
  • Teamwork
  • Customer service

Teen boy with cerebral palsy in the workplace with his supervisor

In our Blog Tips to help with chores, we have tips to help you encourage children to do chores. It also includes an approximate age-based guide to tasks.

IDEAS does information so you can do life skills.