Autism Independent Living Skills: Teach Kids to Help Themselves

Never stop learning freeway

Teaching children with autism independent living skills can seem daunting and difficult. 

But I’d like to set your mind at ease. As someone has said, “This isn’t rocket science.” Sometimes we may think it's as hard as rocket science, but it’s not.

Of course, our kids may not learn as quickly and easily as regular kids. It’s true that a lot of typical kids can learn by simply watching their Mom and Dad, and their brothers and sisters.

But our kids can learn, too. Sure, it takes a lot of patience and sometimes a lot more instruction from us. But I can assure you, most kids with autism can learn how to tie their shoes, wash their hands, and use the restroom.

Speaking of using the restroom, I know that potty training can be a challenge even for parents of typical children. Training kids with autism can be quite a daunting task.

My first post is about toilet training. I truly believe that skill is one of the most worrisome items on a parent’s to-do list. 

I know it was for me. I tried everything I could find to teach my son to be toilet-trained. In the end, I asked God for help because I needed it.

To make a long story short, I developed a technique that is especially well-suited for children with autism. 

Other autism independent living skills are also important, but I believe they won’t present as much of a challenge as toilet training. 

I am here, however, to help with those skills as well.

But first, let’s dive in and start with toilet training.

Possible chalkboard drawingBelieving it's possible for our children to learn makes it possible.

How to Potty Train Your Child With Autism

Restroom sign

Are you concerned that your child is still in diapers or pull-ups while all the other kids his age are well past that stage? 

Do you look forward to the day when you will no longer have to buy diapers or pull-ups?

Do you try hard to cover up the fact that your child is still in pull-ups?

Maybe you feel embarrassed at family gatherings when you have to change your child’s diaper instead of bringing him to the restroom.

Before my son was trained, I experienced all these feelings, wondering if he would ever be able to perform this simple function for himself.

And as I mentioned earlier, I tried every technique I could find, but nothing worked for my son because no one method works for every child.

In the end, I had to develop my own potty training program. Unlike the other techniques I tried, this procedure works with rather than against an autistic child’s tendency to avoid changes in his or her habits and routines.

This method worked when nothing else would. 

Click or touch here to learn more. 

Autism Independent Living Skills: Forward Chaining

Heart chain necklace

Forward chaining is a technique that is particularly helpful for teaching children with autism independent living skills. When you need to teach your child to perform multi-step tasks, such as brushing teeth, tying shoes, and other daily living skills, this method comes in very handy. Click or touch here to check out the article on forward chaining.

Backward Chaining


Backward chaining is a lot like forward chaining, but in reverse. This method is also useful for teaching tasks with multiple steps to children with autism. Because every child is different, you may need more than one technique in case forward chaining isn’t working for your child. Backward chaining can be very helpful for children who need that feeling of accomplishment from completing a task. Click or touch here to learn more.

Related Articles

1. Teaching Strategies for Autism: Tools for Effective Learning

2. Occupational Therapy for Autism: Why Practice at Home?

3. Fading -- Moving Toward Greater Independence

4. Personal Information Your Child Must Know

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