Get Started Helping Autistic Individuals Reach Their Unique Potential
We are here to support you as you explore and learn life skills for each age and stage. Check out our adult independent living skills checklist for goals to build toward.
Welcome to the Milestones Autism Planning (MAP) Tool where we share lessons learned from families, autistic individuals and professionals. Learning life skills starts at an early age and builds over time step by step to help children and teens gain the skills they need for adulthood and to reach their unique potential. We believe in lifelong learning throughout adulthood.
While we have grouped tasks by age range, think about what is the right age and stage for you or your child. Different children and teens will be ready for learning different skills at different paces and ages.
We have written the MAP articles for ages 0 - 6, 7 - 13, and 14 - 17 for families, while most articles for ages 18 - 21 and adults age 22+ are written for autistic individuals. Families, individuals and professionals can find useful information across the age ranges.
Take It One Step at a Time
All individuals have strengths and abilities. Believing that our children can learn skills and feeling that confidence can help your child believe it. Presume competence, meaning believe your autistic loved one can learn and do things. The key is to pick one or two skills at a time to work on gradually, so you and your child are not too overwhelmed.
Don’t be discouraged by challenges. If you’re having a hard time, explore if there are behaviors or issues that you can work on with your child’s therapist or other professional. If you are not making progress on a goal or in an area, sometimes putting it aside for a bit and revisiting it later can help. Work on something else in the meantime. Sometimes it comes later.
Different Sibling Needs
If you are teaching skills to a neurotypical child, think about how to handle it for your autistic child. For example, if you are teaching about not wandering and running off, tailor what and how you communicate that for each child, based on each child’s learning ability.
The Role of Schedule and Breaks
Maintain and think about how your or your child or teen’s day is scheduled from what time you wake up to how the day flows into evening. What activities are before or after school or work, including therapy? Is there enough time to wind down before going to sleep? When is a good time to take a break?
It is helpful for many of us to have or use a schedule that can be on your phone or a checklist, picture or written. It is important to build in choices and breaks. The Milestones Visual Supports Tool Kit provides tips and guidance.
We’re Here for You
We know how overwhelming it can be. It’s OK to take a break and be realistic about what works for your family and situation, knowing that you are still doing good for your child. Everyone has different levels of support and challenges.
You don’t have to do this alone. Milestones is here for everyone. The Milestones free autism Helpdesk can support you with information and resources for your situation. In Ohio, resources may be available through the County Board of Developmental Disabilities which we provide information about in the Milestones DoDD Tool Kit.
Explore the Adult Independent Living Skills page with goals to gradually work toward. These are the essential skill areas an adult needs in order to live independently. In each category we provide examples of skills and knowledge to learn. Learn more here. You can also download this skills information by clicking the button below.