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How to Create a Chore Chart for a Special Needs Child

by Cara Batema

Many special needs children are somewhat limited in tasks they are able to do, but failing to encourage your special needs child to help around the house can hinder his ability to live independently. He needs to learn the vital skills of responsibility or self-care. A chore chart for a special needs child gives him a concrete representation of what is expected, plus it serves as a reminder and teaches daily, weekly and life skills.

Make a list of chores that must occur daily and weekly around the house. Consider adding activities of daily living, such as self-hygiene, as well as tasks like making the bed or cleaning a room.

Put a star next to activities your special needs child can accomplish, even those he can do with some assistance. Also consider those tasks your child does not do by himself currently but that you would like him to learn. Special needs children might become frustrated with tasks they are unfamiliar with, so make sure you have chores at which your child can be successful, such as picking up his toys or putting his dirty clothes in the laundry bin.

Draw straight lines on a piece of paper to make a grid, using a ruler and pencil. You can also make a grid on your computer if preferred. Make a row for a list of chores and one row for each day of the week.

Write the list of chores in the top row and the days of the week in the first column of your grid. For each chore, you can place a sticker or check mark for each day of the week the task is completed.

Color coordinate the chores for special needs children who are particularly visual learners. Your child will begin to associate the color with a task, which grabs your child’s attention and might reduce the amount of times you need to remind your child to do the activity. You can also use pictures next to the words of each chore to aid learning.

Let your child draw a check mark or place a sticker in the chore chart once he completes a task. This action will boost his self-esteem and encourage him to repeat the tasks daily or weekly.

Items you will need
  • Paper/poster board
  • Ruler
  • Stickers
  • Markers
  • Pictures of chores

Tips

  • Draw your chore chart on a large poster board and use bright colors to grab your special needs child’s attention. You can place sticky notes in each grid on which to place stickers or check marks, so you can remove the notes and re-use your poster board each week.
  • Don’t be afraid to modify the chart. Once your special needs child is able to do a task successfully, add another component to the activity. If your child struggles with a chore and becomes frustrated each time, take it off the chart until he is ready to try again.

References

About the Author

Cara Batema is a musician, teacher and writer who specializes in early childhood, special needs and psychology. Since 2010, Batema has been an active writer in the fields of education, parenting, science and health. She holds a bachelor's degree in music therapy and creative writing.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images