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Children with ASD Can Help Out Around the House

May 29, 2017

Ever wondered how to get your child involved around the house? Or maybe you are overwhelmed on how to divvy up household activities among family members to make life a little easier?

Caregivers have a variety of priorities regarding their children, and household chores are among them. Social and motor skills that are not developed in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may impact the child’s ability to participate in meaningful activities throughout their day. However, with thoughtful planning and individualization, your child can participate in household activities. Here are some ideas to help you engage your child in household activities:

  • Consider your child’s likes and dislikes to individualize a household activity that suits them. If loud noises upset them, vacuuming may not be the best. Contrary, some kids love the sound of the vacuum!

    • If motor movement is of concern, consider sorting or folding laundry while sitting in the living room or place a chair in the kitchen during clean up so they can help you dry dishes as they are washed. If motor movement is not a concern, watering plants, dusting selected pieces of furniture, unloading the dishwasher, and cleaning mirrors are among your options.

  • One a household chore is selected, consider how you will teach your child to complete this activity, both through physical and visual explanations.

    • You could have a visual support that breaks down the steps of the activity and models each step for your child.

    • Perhaps you start with the first step and once that is mastered, add each step following.

    • If you are seasoned on a smartphone, you could video your child doing each step and put them together to make a video self-model they can watch each day to show them what they are going to do.

  • Another important part of instruction is reinforcement. Each time your child completes a step or finishes their activity, provide them something they are fond of (e.g., verbal praise, high five, hugs or tickles, favorite food, favorite toy).

    • Erika Kearney, Executive Director of the May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities says that feeling needed and appreciated helps our kids develop more self-esteem.

Through individualization, planning, teaching and reinforcement, your child can help out around the house and that’s a win-win for you and your child!

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