Life Skill Programs: An Exploratory Survey of School Based Programming in the Public High School Setting

Dr. Kathleen Hegarty Follis OTD, OTR/L
Dr. Christina Helfrich PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Dr. Allison F. Sullivan OT, DOT, OTR

American International College


The purpose of this survey was to explore the uniformity of current life skill programs by identifying how individuals are provided instruction in the daily living skills needed to complete routine life functions, through categorizing common curriculum themes and standard program formats. Methods: Special education professionals (N=100) working with adolescents with cognitive disabilities completed descriptive online questionnaire surveys. Results: The survey identified a lack of understanding of state requirements for life skill programming and the criteria that defines a life skill program. While some programs used a curriculum, the majority did not. Additionally, pre-test assessments were not used to gather baseline data. Conclusion: Life skill programs vary widely in scope and structure. Life skill programming needs to become more standardized, with the use of baseline assessments to measure progress and program effectiveness. Future research is needed to determine best practice approaches to life skills programming.

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