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Vanguard's Daily Living Center

The Daily Living Center (DLC) is an apartment-style immersive classroom that allows students to experience different aspects of independent living, such as using a clothes washer and dryer, cooking meals, making a bed, and maintaining a neat and functional space. Daily Living Skills Teacher, Theresa Martin, enjoys coming up with new ways to introduce common household tools and critical life skills to her students so they have fun while they learn. As part of their curriculum, students learn how to change flashlight batteries and lightbulbs, fix broken clothes hangers with duct tape, hammer a nail into a piece of wood, use a screwdriver to change a light switch plate cover, and install a cabinet door handle. Students have also spackled a hole in a sheet of drywall that Theresa created just for a learning exercise!

"I am delighted to witness the enthusiasm our students exhibit when presented with tasks that they had never been exposed to before. Such things as home repairs, first aid/medication safety, and allowing them to take the reins and follow a recipe with me as a bystander there to help if necessary,” Theresa said. “They jumped in with both feet so eager and determined to prove what they are capable of if just given the chance," she added. 

In her lesson about the importance of clean and orderly spaces, students were tasked with tidying a completely disorganized DLC. For this exercise, chairs and books were scattered about and the bed was messily unmade. Students worked together, helping each other and delegating jobs until the DLC was neat again.

Theresa’s lessons also include First aid and medication safety. The students were introduced to common items found in first aid kits and doctors’ offices, including a stethoscope, scale, otoscope, eye chart, and blood pressure cuff. Students were asked to touch them, turn them on, and listen to the noises that they make. The goal was to show students that doctors aren’t scary and to reveal the purpose of each medical instrument. Younger students put bandages on an instructional aid poster, “BooBoo Betty," to learn how to properly place bandages on sores. The older students discussed the labels of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Theresa and her students defined terms like dosage, storage, side effects, expiration, and precautions. The lesson also included a vital warning about never taking medicine prescribed to someone else and taking medication only in the presence of an adult. 

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