ActIvities for skill development

Parents, educators and service providers can support youth as they develop new skills.  Areas that need further development may be identified through assessment of the youth’s current skills.  Work on these skills can happen in class, other school activities, through IEP goals, with goals through service providers or at home.  Youth may have a variety of skill areas that they need to work on in order to be prepared for their next steps after high school. As youth gain skills they are empowered to do what they need and want to do now and in the future. Below you will find a variety of resources that can be used to support youth skill development. 

Multiple Areas of Skill Development

Transition Tennessee- A website providing resources on preparing students with disabilities for life after high school including a variety of activities.
Youthood- Youthood is a virtual classroom based transition tool for youth with disabilities that includes many activities.

Health and Wellness

 How to Talk to Your Doctor- A self-advocate describes "How to Talk to Your Doctor" about disability related issues and needs.
 Managing Your Own Health and Career Goals- The Office of Disability Employment Policy created a checklist which provides information and resources about health insurance coverage, self-care, health care transition, decision-making, and career planning and management.
 Transition to Adult Health Care Quick Guide- This guide from the University of Iowa Hospitals focuses on building independent health care skills including self-advocacy, preparing for the adult model of care, and transferring to new providers.
 Video Series: Taking Charge of My Own Healthcare- Youth leaders discuss the process of taking charge of their own health care with a series of short videos.
Able 2 Learn Website- Free materials that include social stories and adapted curriculum on health and puberty, toileting, visual recipes, behavior management and independent living skills are provided.
 Self-Care for Kids with Special Needs- Find tips, tricks, and creative ways to encourage independence in personal care tasks through these therapist-approved strategies for typically developing children and those with special needs.  
 Sexual Education Resources- These sexual education resources from RespectAbility include videos, documents and curricula that are designed to help students with disabilities understand their sexuality.
Sexuality Education for Students with Disabilities- A collection of resources for sexuality education includes information about disability and sexuality, content to be taught and information about the role of parents.
 Teach Self-Care Skills to Children with Disabilities- This article describes the importance of teaching life skills as well as some techniques that are often used by teachers, therapists and parents to teach life skills to children with disabilities. 

Life Skills

 Accessible Chef- The Accessible Chef website includes over 300 visual recipes and a recipe creator to create your own visual recipes. 
 Able 2 Learn website- Free materials that include social stories and adapted curriculum on health and puberty, toileting, visual recipes, behavior management and independent living skills are provided.
 Cyber Disclosure for Youth with Disabilities- This workbook can help youth understand the advantages and disadvantages of disclosing their disability online.
 Spend Smart Eat Smart- Information about meal planning, shopping tips, cooking and healthy recipes are provided with some videos, handouts and a blog from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
 Words on Wellness- Learn about including healthy practices into daily living with research-based information about nutrition, exercise, and food safety from the Words on Wellness blog from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.  

School (IEP)

 IEP Owner's Manual- This workbook supports youth participation in their own IEP meeting, addressing IEP goals, course of study, target graduation date, etc. 
 Whose Future Is It Anyway?- A curriculum that helps prepare students for their IEP meetings and gain self-determination skills through lessons on making decisions, communicating, identifying goals and being a good team member.
 Your IEP Meeting: A Great Place to Practice Self-Advocacy Skills- This document from PACER describes what self-advocacy skills are and how students can be involved in their IEP meeting.

Financial

 Financial Well Being Tools- The National Disability Institute's free financial well-being tools can be downloaded and used to help individuals, families, and community partners improve the financial well-being of people with disabilities.
 Making Cents: Financial Literacy- Use this video series from PBS Education to teach teens and pre-teens how to manage their money and foster an entrepreneurial spirit.
 Money as You Grow- The Consumer Protection Financial Bureau provides activities to help children of all ages grow their money skills and habits. 
 MoneySKILL- MoneySKILL educates students of all ages on the basic understanding of money-management including the content areas of income, expenses, saving and investing, credit and insurance.  
 Practical Money Skills Lesson Plans- The Practical Money Skills Curriculum provides plans for students of all ages including students with special needs with topics ranging from basics such as "What is Money?" to more comprehensive courses for young adults who are about to become financially independent.
 Spend Smart Eat Smart- Information about meal planning, shopping tips, cooking and healthy recipes are provided with some videos, handouts, and a blog from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.  

Self-Advocacy/ Self Determination

The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities- The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability created this workbook to help youth with disabilities and the adults working with them to make decisions about whether or not to disclose their disability and the impact of that decision on their education, employment, and social lives.
Best Practices in Self Advocacy Skill Building- Resources for self-advocacy skill building including resources for youth, factsheets, toolkits and resources in other languages are provided by the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR).  
Disability Disclosure- The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability provides multiple publications for youth about disability disclosure.
ME! Lessons for Teaching Self-Awareness and Self-Advocacy- The Zarrow Center offers a curriculum including lessons with supplemental materials and resources for teaching students with disabilities self-awareness and self-advocacy skills.
Sample Self-Advocacy Plan- Youth can use this worksheet to help be prepared to participate in their IEP meeting. 
Self-Advocacy and the Transition to College: A Curriculum for Practitioners- Self-Advocacy and the Transition to College is an eight-lesson curriculum  designed for teachers and/or service providers working with students with disabilities who are getting ready for postsecondary education.
Students Get Involved- These resources explain and support the basics of student involvement and person centered planning including materials for youth.
T-Folio- T-Folio is a free online transition portfolio tool for high school-age youth with disabilities. The curriculum provides lesson plans and tips to help youth build self-determination and job-readiness skills through a series of interactive exercises.
The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Families, Educators, Youth Service Professionals, and Adult Allies Who Care About Youth with Disabilities- This workbook can help adults to support youth with disabilities to understand their disability and who, what and when it is appropriate to discuss details with.    Transition Education Resources- The Zarrow Center provides free lesson packages/ curricula that can be used for skill building.

Employment Preparation

Building a Resume: Tips for Youth with Disabilities- Tips for young people with disabilities and their families on effective strategies for building the first resume are outlined in this document from The National Parent Center on Transition and Employment.
Explore Work Website- The Explore Work website provides activities to help youth explore their interests and strengths related to learning and working after high school.
Managing Your Own Health and Career Goals- The Office of Disability Employment Policy created a checklist which provides information and resources about health insurance coverage, self-care, health care transition, decision-making, and career planning and management.
My Next Move- Search careers with key words, browse careers by industry or answer questions and get suggestions on the My Next Move website.
O*Net Website- Detailed occupational information is available on the O'Net website including matching skills to careers. 
Roadtrip Nation- The Roadtrip Nation website highlights the stories of a variety of professionals with online tools, videos and curriculum to help individuals pursue fulfilling careers.
Soft Skills to Pay the Bills- The Office of Disability Employment Policy developed this curriculum teaching workplace readiness skills to students with disabilities.