Do you work with individuals in middle school, high school and beyond who have very limited leisure skills? Leisure skills allow us to enjoy life and have something fun to engage in either alone or with friends.
When leisure skills are a deficit, they need to be addressed within a student’s day. If we do not directly teach leisure skills, when a need is present, we will be leaving out such a critical and functional set of skills. When we have leisure skills, we can more easily be a part of the school and larger community environment. Leisure skills also can help individuals fill their time with activities that make them happy!
Below I will describe the life of a leisure skill, that can become a life long skill.
A student you are working with demonstrates a deficit in engaging in cooperative group activities. He has a goal for increasing his ability to participate in group activities for a 20 minute duration with minimal adult guidance. You work in collaboration with the classroom teacher and plan a social/ leisure skills group. Your students are in 8th grade. You decide to work on teaching students how to lift weights. You chooses this target, because in gym in 9th grade students will have the chance to lift weights and go to a local gym for community based outings.
The first step in teaching this skill is to practice the moves needed to complete this task. You decide to use water bottles to teach the skill, because they are familiar, lighter and readily available.
The students work on following multiple step directions to retrieve needed items for the group. They also need to orient to the group leader and imitate the exercises demonstrated. Engaging in a leisure skill in a cooperative group, mirrors taking a work out class in the community. This will help us plan for the generalization of this skill.
You report specific progress on the progress report, so that all team members know that you have been working on this skill. Once the skill is mastered in the classroom setting, it can be generalized to gym class and to the larger community environment. This specific focus can help students increase their leisure skills, social skills, participation in the community and their overall happiness.