Learning is a lifelong process.”— Peter Drucker

ADLs or Activities of Basic Living (sometimes referred to as BADLs: “Basic Activities of Daily Living”) are the basic self-care tasks that we initially learn as very young children. They include:

  • Walking, or otherwise getting around the home or outside. The technical term for this is “ambulating.”
  • Feeding, as in being able to get food from a plate into one’s mouth.
  • Dressing and grooming, as in selecting clothes, putting them on, and adequately managing one’s personal appearance.
  • Toileting, which means getting to and from the toilet, using it appropriately, and cleaning oneself.
  • Bathing, which means washing one’s face and body in the bath or shower.
  • Transferring, which means being able to move from one body position to another. This includes being able to move from a bed to a chair, or into a wheelchair. This can also include the ability to stand up from a bed or chair in order to grasp a walker or other assistive device.

IADLs or Instrumental Activities of Daily Living are the self-care tasks often learned as teenagers. They require more complex thinking skills, including organizational skills. They include:

  • Managing finances, such as paying bills and managing financial assets.
  • Managing transportation, either via driving or by organizing other means of transport.
  • Shopping and meal preparation. This covers everything required to get a meal on the table. It also covers shopping for clothing and other items required for daily life.
  • Housecleaning and home maintenance. This means cleaning kitchens after eating, keeping one’s living space reasonably clean and tidy, and keeping up with home maintenance.
  • Managing communication, such as the telephone and mail.
  • Managing medications, which covers obtaining medications and taking them as directed.

When obtaining support for ADls or IADLs people can vary from needing just a little help (such as a reminder or “stand-by assist”) to full dependency, which requires others to do the task for them.

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” — Benjamin Franklin

The important piece to embrace is that most, if not all, of these skills can be learned by everyone!  And when needed, creative strategies and Assistive Technology supports, along with evidence-based best practice can be implemented to achieve the highest level of success possible. It is also critical to remember, although targeting skills should being early for everyone, if someone hasn’t yet learned a skill, this may reflect that they haven’t been offered the right opportunities and support for learning. Welcome the opportunity to growth!

Check out the Allen County Board of Disabilities link for some great tips on Steps to Help Transition your Child into Adulthood