Some children do not seem to mature as quickly as other children do. They seem to need more help, guidance, and hand-holding to complete their day-to-day tasks.
You may see this need in your very bright child who is reading two grade levels ahead. Maybe you have no concerns academically, but you wonder if your child would ever make it to school on time, bathe, or choose proper clothing for the weather without your support.
You may be the parent of an 8-year-old, but already you are wondering, “How will this child ever make it in college?” Children mature at different rates, and often people say that girls mature faster than boys. In very young children, we need to adjust our expectations for premature babies by taking into account gestational age at birth.
What do challenges with Adaptive Skills look like?
- Acting really immature for his or her age?
- Crying and melting down in a moment, with little provocation or warning?
- Struggling to manage a basic morning routine?
- Failing to take his dishes to the sink?
- Still needing help in the shower?
- Going to school with dirty, uncombed hair, un-brushed teeth and the same clothes as yesterday if you don’t step in to assist?
- Not knowing how to tell time, to read a calendar, or to count money?
- Not following through with chores?
Why is Adaptive Skills happening?
Adaptive skills are daily life skills that make someone seem like they are acting their age. These are the daily living tasks that are required for children to mature into adulthood. Sometimes adaptive skills are called ‘Activities of Daily Living’ or ADL’s. These are skills like bathing, dressing oneself for the weather, cleaning up, and maintaining basic hygiene. In older teens and adults, adaptive skills include navigating around town, keeping appointments, and showing up for work at the scheduled time. Individuals with poor adaptive skills may act silly when it’s time to be serious. Compared to peers, they seem very young. If adaptive skills are a concern, you will notice immaturity as compared to peers. In older teens and adults with poor adaptive skills, you will note that they need a lot of support from others to go about their daily tasks and routines.
How can I manage Adaptive Skills at home?
Break skills down into simple steps, and support these developing skills for your child. Work with them to clean up toys in the bedroom or to rake the yard.
Create a morning routine poster to hang in the bedroom and bathroom that reminds your child of the steps to complete the routine. Make a chore chart with stickers that can be exchanged for family game night, ice cream or a trip to the park. Keep things simple, and make rewards meaningful.
Don’t threaten things you cannot or will not enforce, such as, “No TV for a week if this room isn’t clean.” If everyone else watches TV, this consequence may not be possible. Instead, say, “First put all your dirty clothes in the hamper, then you can play outside.” This reward is simple and immediate, and the chore is clearly stated.
Some children struggle with adaptive skills even with all of these lovely strategies. This struggle means it is the time to consult a behavior therapist. Consider having your child evaluated to better understand his or her strengths and weaknesses that may contribute to adaptive deficits.
How can Clear Child Psychology help with Adaptive Skills?
We Help You, Immediately
Our Free Discovery Session is a 20-minute consultation where we can talk one-on-one about the concerns and questions you have about your child.
We Help Determine Next Steps
Our Initial Consultation allows us to get a deeper understanding of your child’s needs and determine if an assessment is appropriate.
We Build a Customized Plan
Our Assessments allow us to determine your child’s specific strengths and challenges. We can use this information to develop a customized support plan which includes: referrals
We Connect you with the Right Professionals
Once we understand your child’s needs, we will help families get connected to the right specialists. No more guesswork, no more wasted time and resources.
We Provide Ongoing Coaching and Support
Our Coaching Packages allow us to continually support families as they continue their journeys. Parental coaching, life-skills practice, and school advocacy are just a few examples of ways we help.