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Chores in spite of SPD and EFD

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    Chores in spite of SPD and EFD

    I have a child with high-functioning autism. She does not have any IQ challenges, but she does have executive functioning issues and severe SPD. Last year she received a concussion that made it difficult to do anything. As a result, she has not had any regular chores for quite a while. In order to maintain our home while homeschooling, and to build her work ethic and life skills, I think that it is necessary to start working her back into a chore schedule. However, it can be very frustrating for her. I think that I need to both walk her through how to do the chores and provide a picture-chart kind of check list. Teaching her to do chores is just going to be time-consuming, and, honestly, probably difficult. I think that I need to take this slowly and not demand more than I can follow through on helping her with. She has about 15 minutes in the morning to fix her bed and pick up her room (put away books that she slept with). She has a few minutes at the end of the day to put play-things away. I would like for her to start doing the aquarium and terrarium chores, even if it is with my help, so that she realizes how much work each new pet would be. Other than that, over the weekend she has time in her schedule to do weekly chores, like scrub the shower and water plants. Does anyone have experience with this? How do I make progress in this area when it comes so slowly? I guess the simple fact that it is so difficult for her just illuminates how critical the development of these skills is.

    It sounds like you are on the right track with properly training her to do everything. We accompany our children the whole way through a new task every day for a week or until our children revolt and demand to do it on their own. From start to finish we lovingly describe each step and why doing it a certain way is important. First, we do it while they watch, the next time they do it while we watch, and then they do it with verbal reminders of the steps until we decide they can do it with a post-completion inspection. I've tried visual reminder posters, but they were worthless. Timers and routines are much more effective here. My children get a timer set to do a certain number of chores or morning routine, and then they get a 5-minute and 1-minute warning. If they do not finish because they get distracted, they do not earn time doing a desired activity. For every minute they finish early with a job done to standards, they earn a point. During the year we keep a points chart for their Saturday morning preferred activity. It's pretty rewarding. What's nice is how even over the summer when we don't offer speed incentives, they still happily do all that's required because we had a full year of shaping their habits.

    Mama of 2, teacher of 3

    SY 21/22
    5A w/ SFL & CC Narrative class

    Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A
    SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1


      Thank you
      Senior Member
      enbateau .


        Jessica Louise
        Senior Member
        Jessica Louise, we face this here, as both of our twins have Executive Function difficulties. We try to keep chores simple and keep expectations lower if we do not have time to supervise: "Some" is better than none.

        Examples of simple, repetitive chores demanding lower EF skills and less supervision after initial and periodic training: emptying the dishwasher, sorting dirty laundry into piles by color to be washed on Fridays, distributing clean laundry to each person on Saturday afternoons. Because it occurs every week, we have been able to expand this over the years to include more tedious laundry tasks such as matching and bundling everyone's socks. Time spent by my daughter: 1-2 hours weekly.

        Other items requiring repeated processes: vacuuming, sweeping the driveway, sidewalk, and patio; and serving as "runner" from room to room during family cleanups.

        Start smaller and build up. 7th grade is a good time to require this. You might create a big list and let her choose 5 items from that list. This works well here. Examples: My son likes to vacuum and clean bathrooms, while those processes overwhelm my daughter (too many supplies). My daughter loves the proprioceptive work of sweeping our long driveway, while my son does not (too much work!).

        Match your daughter's assignments to her preferred chores. Select tasks you know she can learn. Create a chart of straightforward instructions, whether verbal or pictorial or both. Laminate these and have her review them out loud to you. Demonstrate the task. Then let her practice with supervision. Finally, turn her loose! Give periodic inspections, reviews, and evaluations just like an employer might. You're right: This will be hard work, but this will be important for her. It will show her what she CAN do.


          MP Representative
          cherylswope Thank you! You gave me very clear instructions!