Several parents of my music therapy students were discussing the fact that other children in the family are required to do chores around the house, but – in many cases – children with autism and other disabilities are not asked to pitch in. They asked for some ideas for appropriate chores for their pre-teen boys.
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SPECIFIC STRATEGY Over the years, I’ve observed that even people with very significant disabilities can be productive and helpful at home or in the classroom if given the chance. Unfortunately, many families allow youngsters with significant disabilities to be only the recipients of assistance, and no one ever thinks to include them in household chores list. Family members and other caregivers must always be on the lookout for ways in which individuals with disabilities can lend a helping hand. Many times, youngsters with autism really thrive when given the responsibility of critical tasks. Remember that participation – NOT perfection – is the goal. Some youngsters are capable of doing sophisticated jobs, but the pre-teen boys in question have limited motor skills and cognitive abilities. So, here are some ideas for encouraging them to pitch in and help around the house: + Keep a box or bag in a certain spot in the house that can be carried out at a certain time each day to the mailbox to retrieve the mail. Other chores that can be done with some independence include: + Feed and/or water the pets + Take laundry out of dryer + Push the button to turn on dishwasher + Take groceries out of sacks + Turn alarm clock on + Select the menu for one or more meals each week + Choose clothes for the next day + Push around dust mop or vacuum + Lock the front door and turn out porch light. Just keep your eyes peeled for small but important tasks that help individuals with autism feel as if they have an active role in the family.
NOTE TO LISTENERS AND READERS: I am Cathy Knoll, a board certified music therapist and long-time friend of many folks with autism. At FAQautism.com we are committed to providing free, practical, everyday tips for making life better for people with autism. You can click on a button to send me an email with your thoughts or challenging situations or innovative solutions. Check out our website for a wealth of ideas and a glimpse into the world of autism. www.FAQautism.com