It is important to teach life skills to our children, but Autistic children and children with Sensory Integration Disorder will need a bit more direction. You can also turn the chores into opportunities to work with them on fine and gross motor skills as well as sensory therapy.
Consider picking a few chores that can be incorporated everyday. Other things such as the “sweeping square” or “painting the fence” are good to use when you are trying to keep them busy while you are working on something in the yard or having coffee with a friend.
The Sweeping Square:
Use blue painter’s masking tape to mark off a large square on your patio or kitchen floor. Show them how to sweep the dirt or grass into the square. They need very clear visual boundaries for how to complete the task. Simply asking them to sweep into a pile is too broad of a direction. It is also helpful to keep the tools such as the broom and dust pan in the same place every time. Organization and predictability is helpful in the event they spontaneously want to sweep! If you have a small hand size broom and dust pan, you can create a sweeping square inside your home. Take a small bowl with kidney beans and dump them out on the floor next to the square. Help them practice sweeping the beans into the square and then into the dust pan. Once the task is complete they may enjoy dumping the beans back out onto the floor and repeating the task.
Painting the Fence With Water
On a hot day, this is sure to keep your child busy. Grab a bucket of water, a paint brush or clean roller and let them paint your wooden fence or sidewalk with water. As you do it, run the paint brush down their arm or the roller on their hand to feel the texture of it. You can work with them to paint letters, shapes, or play tic-tac-toe with the water. If you want to practice taking turns, limit your supplies to one brush. Count five strokes for you, then five strokes for them, then five for you and so on.
Misting the Plants
Spray water bottles are great for strengthening the muscles in their hands. Show them how to fill up the bottle with water. Screwing the top on is a very important skill for them to learn. Then let them mist the plants in your yard.