As people with autism start to grow and develop, it is helpful to get them involved in activities that allow them to take care of themselves in some capacity. Children respond to chores in different ways, but most children enjoy the idea of being counted on to be responsible for themselves.
The key to developing a sense of responsibility is to take the process in phases based on your child’s age. You can also develop a reward system that gives your child a sticker for each day they take care of their responsibilities, and when they fill up a week they get a reward such as ice cream or something else they enjoy. When you turn responsibility development into a game your child can feel like they are winning, then the process goes much smoother.
Another way to help get your child excited about developing responsibility is for you to be excited along with them. When you give them a sticker for accomplishing their tasks, cheer with them and make them feel like what they are doing is not only important, but fun as well.
The tasks you choose for each stage of responsibility development must match up with your child’s abilities. In their infant to toddler years, tasks such as picking up their toys and putting plates and silverware in the sink after dinner are easy for your child to understand.
It is also important to reward singular accomplishments such as learning to dress themselves or learning to brush their teeth. This approach can also work if you having problems potty training your child.
Early School Age
When you child reaches five years old, going to school becomes a very important responsibility and should be rewarded when the process starts. Over time, your child will become accustomed to going to school and rewards will no longer be necessary.
Some activities at this age that help develop responsibility include putting clean clothes away, cleaning up their bedroom, getting their own snacks and drinks, and cleaning up messes that they make. Positive reinforcement in the form of rewards and encouragement will be much more powerful in helping to develop a sense of responsibility than punishment or yelling.
Into The Pre-Teen Years
Once your child starts to reach the age of seven or eight, you can replace a sticker reward system with an allowance. Tasks such as mowing the lawn, specific house cleaning tasks, and completing homework should all be part of earning an allowance.
There are many benefits to this approach that will help your child as they develop. Not only does your child learn responsibility, but they also associate a job well done with being rewarded. If you withhold the reward when your child does not take their responsibilities seriously, then your child associates bad behavior with punishment. This is all done in a healthy learning environment that will reinforce good behavior and discourage bad behavior.
Eden II Programs helps the autism community by providing programs and services combined with lifespan support to improve the quality of life for individuals with ASD and their families. Eden II has the greatest ability to help individuals with ASD reach their highest potential for independent, self-sustained living through high-quality ABA services, educational programs, adult day programs, group residential care, family support, respite, and a number of other services. Eden II Programs uses the evidence-based practices of ABA to develop skills, promote independence, and change lives for the better.
For information on programs and services available at Eden II, please visit us online at eden2.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.