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Chores question for Autism mommies

I have a high functioning Autistic son, 9 years old. I have a total of 5 children. I expect my 7 year old to do some chores, cleaning room, taking out trash, cleaning off kitchen table, etc. My 9 year old knows right from wrong and is perfectly capable of doing these things as well and it's not fair to my 7 year old he has to do everything. How do I find common ground? What incentives would you suggest to encourage my 9 year old? How do you handle things in your home? I'm always struggling with this scenario and feel lost. I feel like he should be able to learn some responsibility and I don't want to wait too long.


Asked by Desi_Momof4 at 4:05 PM on Aug. 1, 2010 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 17 (4,529 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (10)
  • The point IS to teach our kids how to function with real world skills. That means teaching them to get around their issues to learn or exhibit those skills.

    My son is the same way. I don't think it's a matter of seeing one as quick and easy but rather as seeing the other as impossible. I get a lot of "I can't"s because he can't see a way to work through from mess to clean. Maybe try breaking down his harder chores into more manageable pieces. Rather than saying "clean your room", be very specific. Make your bed, pick up your toys, put your clothes away etc. It makes for a longer list but it's a lot of smaller jobs rather a couple of really big ones.

    Also, if you don't use a list, that might be a good idea. I see a lot of getting sidetracked with mine. Your son can read so a written out list might be good. We use a pictographic chart. I have photos showing what the finished chore should look like.


    Answer by Liansmommie at 12:06 AM on Aug. 2, 2010

  • My 11 year old ASD son is not high functioning. He keeps his room clean. If he doesn't he I take a trash bag and throw the stuff away that is not put away. Even a medium functioning ASD child understood that. He now keeps his room clean

    Answer by layh41407 at 5:15 PM on Aug. 1, 2010

  • My son is 9 and has moderate autism. I fought tooth and nail with him to clean his room. Finally I decided that this battle would never be won. He's allowed to have his room a "clean mess" meaning no food in there,but his toys can be where he wants them. once a week,he picks them up and i dust and vacuum and such,and then he can make a mess again if he pleases. his room is his safe space. He is not allowed to have toys out in any other room.he cleans up his plate after he eats,and takes care of his dirty laundry. his fine motor skills are not very good so far,but are getting better all the time. Maybe your son's messy room makes sense to him. In his mind,the stuff IS in the right place.

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 8:50 PM on Aug. 1, 2010

  • finally,, though not the best solution, give him chores he enjoys. You said there things he will do with minimal complaint. Make those chores "his job". My son enjoys scrubbing floors with a scrub brush, it's a tactile thing, I don't get it but i use it. I let him scrub my kitchen and bathroom floors. That can be a huge chore in the house. He also likes cleaning windows and sorting laundry and is on this huge green kick, so we have given him the job of be responsible for remembering to take along our reusable shopping bags. Those aren't chores I would necessarily choose to have him do but it does help learn to contribute to the family unit. Oh he likes scrubbing the tub too.

    Answer by Liansmommie at 12:15 AM on Aug. 2, 2010

  • Incentives? None. He's a part of the family, isn't he? He needs to do his share. And the goal is to teach him to be a capable person, right? So he needs to learn how to shoulder responsibility just like you said. If he's perfectly capable, as you say, the it makes absolutely no sense to allow him to get away with being treated like a guest who is waited on in his own home. You're doing the right thing, wanting to teach him how to be at least semi-independent - unless he's living with you the rest of his life, he'll need those skills someday.

    Answer by missingruth at 4:18 PM on Aug. 1, 2010

  • I agree with missingruth. You said right out that he is very capable of doing the things you ask, so why would he get a free pass just because he is Autistic? If anything, giving him responsibility and jobs to do around the house will help him become more independent and a better person. It would be one thing if he was severely autistic and wasn't able to do too much, but if he is more than able, than he shouldn't be treated like he's any different from the rest of the family!

    Answer by Ash9724 at 5:18 PM on Aug. 1, 2010

  • Right. He is not waited on, he does know how to fix his own sandwich and make his own cereal, he bathes himself. I wouldn't be working with him on doing things if I thought he couldn't do them. We have worked with him to get him to this point. He will clean off the kitchen table with the least amount of complaining. And he does sometimes work at cleaning his room, but boy it is hard getting through that thick skull. I was always stubborn as a child, so I don't attribute it solely to his Autism.

    Comment by Desi_Momof4 (original poster) at 4:32 PM on Aug. 1, 2010

  • Ok, I see I didn't phrase things so clearly. My 9 year old IS expected to do chores. As soon as he was capable of doing so, I began expecting him to do so. I do treat my son as if he were not Autistic to the best of my ability. Each time I tell him to do a chore, he has a meltdown (unless he thinks the chore will be quick and easy). He gets toys taken away, timeouts, etc. when he does not obey. He knows what is expected of him, yet he would rather be punished than to do what he is told. I know no child sees chores as fun. It's work. I'm only looking for advice on how other moms encourage their children to do their chores when they are so stubborn. I have little to no trouble with my 7 year old. My 3 year old is expected to do a few things, and even my 5 year old who has a visual impairment and developmental delay will clean up his toys when told.

    Comment by Desi_Momof4 (original poster) at 6:22 PM on Aug. 1, 2010

  • Thank you so much moms.

    Comment by Desi_Momof4 (original poster) at 11:49 AM on Aug. 2, 2010

  • I have 5 kids as well. My 12 year old has autism. We have a chore chart posted in our laundry room, so it's very visible. Chores are not optional, but they get $4/week ($2 to spend, $2 to save) for doing them with a "happy heart" They know it is their responsibility to check the chore chart and do their chores, but I make sure their chores are done before they go anywhere/do anything that day. My older 3 kids (8, 10, and 12) sweep, dust, vacuum, do laundry, clean the vanity and toilets in their bathrooms, etc.

    Answer by missanc at 8:51 PM on Aug. 3, 2010