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That's LIFE! Life Skills
Ages: 11-Adult   Grades: 6-Adult

Individuals with developmental disabilities gain independence with these language and reasoning lessons in homemaking, health, money management, entertainment, and government.  


  • Understand language and vocabulary for independent living
  • Improve decision-making for everyday activities
  • Know community expectations
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** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

The 170 one-page activities teach functional skills and target:

  • general knowledge
  • vocabulary
  • following directions
  • decision-making
  • knowing what to expect
  • planning a course of action

The book covers a huge range of information essential to functioning as an adult.  The activities are organized in six areas of independent living:

  • Homemaking—laundry, finding and furnishing a home/apartment, property maintenance, kitchen essentials, meal preparation, and purchasing groceries
  • Health Concerns—diet and nutrition, weather conditions/safety, first aid, making appointments, health insurance, hospital and emergencies, medicines and prescription drugs, immunizations, vision and dental care, and fire safety
  • Consumer Affairs—types of stores, comparison shopping, evaluating bargains and saving money, warnings and labels, how to use the newspaper, paying bills, filling out an order form, and alternative shopping methods
  • Money Matters—establishing and sticking to a budget, banking, use of credit, bills and statements, applying for loans and employment, creating a resume, and job search and interviews
  • Going Places—restaurants and menus, brochures and advertisements, maps and travel, entertainment, and public transportation
  • Government—local and state government, elections, time zones, postal system, national holidays, driving safety, road signs, taxes, and the judicial system

Copyright © 1998

192 pages, answer key

The manual, That's LIFE! Life Skills, is an excellent tool to use with high school students with learning disabilities and processing disorders.  The material is comprehensive and interesting to the students.  That's a hard task to handle!  My students ask to do activities out of the book!

Stacy Stroh, SLP
Elk River, MN

  • ASHA (2005) recommends specialized speech therapy services must consider functional communication skills at home, at work, and in the community when working with adolescents and adults with mental retardation.
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004) is a federal mandate that dictates that transitional topics, including vocational skills, community participation, and independent living skills are included in a student's individual education plan starting at age 14.  This publication covers these vital transitional topics in a step-by-step fashion.
  • Individuals with developmental disabilities need direct instruction on following directions, requesting assistance, and using appropriate vocabulary in the workplace (Levinson & Palmer, 2005).
  • Middle school and high school students with mental disabilities need to be exposed and taught a variety of life skills across various settings so they may transition out of high school and into group or semi-independent living with limited stress on themselves and their families (Levinson & Palmer, 2005).

That's LIFE! Life Skills incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2005). Roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists serving persons with mental retardation/developmental disabilities [Guidelines]. Retrieved February 4, 2010, from

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (2004). Retrieved February 4, 2010, from

Levinson, E.M., & Palmer, E.J. (2005). Preparing students with disabilities for school-to-work transition and postschool life. Retrieved February 4, 2010, from


Patricia Smith


Patricia Smith, CCC-SLP, serves as the speech-language pathologist at Oldham County Middle School in Buckner, Kentucky.  She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky (home of the '96 and '98 NCAA men's basketball champs) and earned a masters degree from Western Kentucky University.  In addition to Pat's professional experience in working with adolescents, she is also mom to three adult children and one pre-teen.  Her first-hand experience preparing adolescents for independent living is evident throughout That's LIFE! Life Skills.


Living independently is a need we all have, whether we are 2, 22, or 72.  Who hasn't dealt with a two-year-old stubbornly stating, "I can do it myself!"

Understanding the language that is in everyday activities is a key to achieving the kind of independence we all desire.  Vocabulary opens closed doors to all of us.  Following directions, knowing what is expected in given situations, interpreting information, making decisions, and planning a course of action are also keys to doing things independently.

That's LIFE! Life Skills is comprised of six targeted areas of independent living:

  • Homemaking—Cooking, cleaning, and repairing sum up the homefront responsibilities.
  • Health Concerns—The mysteries of medical terms, prescriptions, and hospital mazes are simplified.
  • Consumer Affairs—Who doesn't like to shop?
  • Money Matters—Employment and income make independent living possible.
  • Going Places—Restaurants, movies, and sporting events are favorite forms of entertainment which will be studied.
  • Government—The ways of the road, basic tax information, and the postal system are explored.

Just as there are varying levels of independence, there is a wide range of activities in this book.  Some are quite simple, providing practice with basic life skills vocabulary and information.  Others are more complex, challenging your students to apply information they already know to real-life situations.  The activities themselves cover a broad spectrum, from sorting types of food, to completing a loan application, to driving a car.  Each activity contributes to performing practical living skills your students need to achieve their independence.  In addition to providing paper and pencil practice with life skills concepts, these activities will no doubt serve as springboards for further and more complex discussion.

The goal of That's LIFE! Life Skills is to help students become better communicators by gaining the confidence they need to live fulfilling and enjoyable lives!