Gateway School Teaches Daily Living Skills Making the Bed and Laundry

Gateway Daily Living Skills: Making the Bed and Doing Laundry

As part of our Life Skills Program, students at Gateway School have the opportunity to practice and gain confidence to face many of the daily challenges found in a home or apartment environment. Making the bed, doing laundry, using the microwave and loading the dishwasher are skills we teach in our Activities of Daily Living (ADL) room on a regular basis. Together with the guidance and support of the teachers and therapists, as well as paraprofessionals in the room, students participate by carrying out the different tasks individually or in small groups. Depending on the individual class curriculum, some classes are in the ADL room more often than others.

learning to make the bed

Step-by-Step Task Analysis

When teaching daily living skills, we dissect each job into smaller tasks and then develop a training sequence for the student to follow according to the student’s individual needs and abilities. Students learn and practice each successive approximation of the task in the sequence until they have mastered each step. Each practical skill may include a long list of several discrete steps for the student to memorize, perform and learn to fluency.
For example, washing a load of clothes in the washing machine involves a sequence like this:

  1. 1
    Bring the full laundry basket to the ADL room.
  2. 2
    Take clothing items out of basket and sort them based upon dark vs. light colors.
  3. 3
    Open the washing machine door.
  4. 4
    Place one of the piles into the machine.
  5. 5
    Measure the laundry detergent and add to the machine.
  6. 6
    Choose the right washer setting and turn the machine on.
  7. 7
    When the machine has finished, then open it and take the clothes out.
  8. 8
    Put clothes in the dryer and select the appropriate setting and then start the dryer.
  9. 9
    When the dryer has finished, return the clean, dry clothes to the laundry basket.
  10. 10
    Bring the dried clothes to the appropriate place in the home or apartment.
  11. 11
    Fold the clothes.

Sometimes colored pieces of tape, or other adaptations, are applied to the washer, dryer or stove to cue the student on the desired and appropriate setting.

This step-by-step method can be applied to any of the life skills we teach. As students are working, teachers are able to assess which parts of the task a student can already do without help and which parts need adult support. This makes it easy to assess progress and set clear goals for future instruction.

We provide prompts or supports for any steps that students can’t complete independently, but the step-by-step sequence of all the skills used to do laundry and make the bed can be practiced at home with parents on a regular basis. With positive reinforcement and prompts if necessary, the student will eventually learn to perform all the steps independently and master the practical skill. Our hope is that these activities in the ADL room will support the student throughout life and help foster a greater level of independence in adulthood. 

Request a Tour of The Gateway School

Since 1980, RKS Associates has been a leader in providing the needs of special education students and helping children grow to their fullest potential. Each of our schools seeks to empower each student with skills for life, work, and recreation; we believe that every individual possesses the dignity and potential to contribute to a better world.

As part of the RKS Associates Network of schools in New Jersey, the goal at the Gateway School is to assist all students in becoming as independent as possible and help them get ready for the future. Located in Carteret, NJ, we serve individuals throughout Central and Northern New Jersey. Contact us at our main office at 732.541.4400 with any questions or schedule a private tour of the Gateway School today.

Chris Hoye, Principal-The Gateway School of Carteret, NJ