Life skills

Form filling

You need to develop life skills to be able to live independently in the community.

Life skills include how to fill in forms, drive, make friends, and cook. It includes making decisions about where you want to live and what job you want to do.   

You will have to fill in forms if you apply for a job, university, benefits or a house. You can fill in forms:

  • by hand  
  • online and then signing by hand  
  • by writing and then sending them online  

When you are filling in a form:  

  • read it carefully before you start  
  • ask someone if you need help  

There can be different types of questions and ways of answering them, like,

  • ticking of crossing empty boxes  
  • crossing out a box  
  • writing a letter in a box  
  • circling an answer  
  • using drop-down boxes or tick buttons online  

For more skills and tips on filling in forms, visit BBC skillwise

Learning to drive

Most people can start to learn at 17. You can drive a car when you are 16 if you get the enhanced mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP). 

If you have special educational needs or a disability, there are disability specialist driving instructors.   

Get a provisional licence  

You can apply for a provisional licence online or through the post.  

You must provide your:

  • identification  
  • addresses of where you have been living over the past three years  
  • National Insurance number  

Driving lessons  

When learning to drive, you must be supervised in the car at all times. You can be with a driving instructor, family or friends providing they meet the laws.  

If you are paying for someone to teach you, they must be a qualified and approved driving instructor or trainee driving instructor.  

If you have special educational needs or a disability  

When finding a driving instructor, you may want to have a conversation and ask them some questions beforehand. Things you might need to know include:  

  • if the instructor can teach someone with your needs or disability  
  • if the driving instructor is registered on the approved driving instructor register  
  • what tests you will need to do  
  • how much it will cost  
  • how long it will take  

You will still have to drive to the same standard to pass your test. Examiners can make adjustments for the following conditions:  

  • physical disability  
  • deafness or hearing impairment  
  • reading difficulties (for example, dyslexia)
  • learning difficulties  

You must tell the DVLA about a health or medical condition that could affect your driving. If you don't, you could face a face of up to £1,000.  

Disability specialist driving instructors  

Some driving instructors can provide support specifically for people with disabilities. 

To find a local specialist driving instructor, you can visit disability driving instructors.  

Theory test  

Once you are 17, you can take your theory test at any point. If you receive the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP, you can take your theory when you are 16.  

Some books and apps can help you practise for your two-part theory test, which includes:

  • multiple-choice questions based on the books  
  • the Highway Code  
  • know your traffic signs  
  • driving – the essential skills  
  • hazard perception to test your ability to spot hazards on the road  

If you have passed your theory, you can book your driving test. If you fail, you can rebook after three working days.  

If you have a reading difficulty, disability or health condition  

When booking your theory test, you should inform them if you have a disability, reading difficulty or health condition.  

Support available includes:  

  • listening to the test through headphones  
  • extra time to take the test  
  • someone to read what is on the screen and write down your answers  
  • someone to reword the questions for you  
  • taking the test in British sign language, with an interpreter, lip speaker or hearing loop  

If you need support, contact the DVLA before your test on 0300 200 1122.

Making friends

Friendships are one of the many meaningful relationships that we can have. It can help to:  

  • build social skills  
  • improve self-esteem  
  • promote good mental health  
  • have someone to talk or share things with

How to make friends  

There are different ways you can make friends, like:

  • trying and activities you enjoy with somebody new  
  • trying a new group activity  
  • looking for local clubs online  
  • asking family and school or college to help you  

Where to go to make friends

You can look for local activities in lots of different places, like:

More information and advice  

For advice and information on building friendships, visit the Mencap website.

For advice for both parents and young people, visit the Contact website.  


You may start cooking for yourself as you get older.

To find advice about cooking and how to prepare food safely, visit:

Owning a pet

Owning a pet involves responsibilities, including feeding and cleaning. If you decide to get a pet, you must remember to:  

  • feed it a proper diet and fresh water  
  • have somewhere suitable to live  
  • keep it with or away from other animals, depending on its needs  
  • protect it from, and treat it for, illness and injury  
  • microchip it, if needed, and keep your contact details up to date 

Think PETS:  

  • P – how suitable is the place where you live?  
  • E – how much exercise can you give your pet?  
  • T – how much time can you spend with your pet?  
  • S – can you afford to spend money on your pet?

The PDSA have a quiz on their website that will help you decide if you are ready to own a pet.   

Buying a pet  

Before you buy a pet, you should consider:  

  • an animal charity first  
  • seeing young animals with their mum  
  • visiting the pet  
  • your pet's needs  

If you have any queries or would like some help with your pets, contact the RSPCA