Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Special Needs and Chores

We have a some what offensive term in our household regarding Tyler and his chores. It falls into many categories and not just with us as his parents. EVERYONE around us does it. It doesn’t just happen to Tyler but to kids that are sick, or handicapped or just cute. We call it “ The crippled kid syndrome.”

Mind you, if you said it, you would probably get some nasty looks regarding your words but the syndrome could be dubbed anything. Like “ sick kid syndrome,” Our kid has issues syndrome” Cute syndrome.” Grandma syndrome” or “sucker syndrome!”

All the syndromes are the same. Basically, because things are hard for Ty to do them AND they take forever we just either 1) do it for him or 2) he tries and cries and we do it for him. The biggest part of the syndrome is when you go someplace, Ty is SO polite that people just give him stuff. While it is nice sometimes, it can create massive problems when he CAN’T have something.

Fast forward to Ty being “ Almost 8” and has no chores to do. Not kidding. I do EVERYTHING. Dallas is doing the best he can to help me but I would get all sad when I saw all the fun stuff on toddlers doing chores and yet my 8 year old isn’t doing anything.

I went on a search. What chores can my visually impaired kiddo do?  Should they even have them? How long can I do everything? Is it showing responsibility to allow Ty to do nothing. Not even put his plate in the sink.

So I googled searched and Pintrest shopped. I came up with some things for Ty to do. And in turn also found some toddler ideas that Ty and Grayson can do.

What I found was interesting. There is nothing on what chores a visually impaired person should do. But there are a lot of reasons they SHOULD do something.

The NFB ( National Foundation for the Blind) encourages you to give your child chores. But to also be understanding that the task WILL take several times longer than a typical child. He will also need hand over hand until he is proficient. He will fight you. And most of all, once you have something he can do, you CANNOT change the drawer or location of the items that he is expected to do.

What we have implemented:

  • A reward system: Using a jar and cotton balls as tokens Ty is able to add his tokens into the jar for things he has done to help during the day. While this worked REALLY well at first, we took the jar off the table and have forgotten. But we still remind him to earn tokens and when he misbehaves we remind him that we can take them away.  He has picked the reward and he cannot go until he earns the money. He can go bowling someplace else, but he can’t go to the place he wants to go, Flipside.
  • If he doesn’t do the chores or be kind or show us respect, he loses some of his tokens. That gets him going so quickly. He doesn’t like to fail and he likes his reward. He earns the tokens at everything including his therapy. 
  • We ask, he does. If he needs help we slow down

What are his chores and what adaptations have we made: 

  • Ty puts away the silverware in the dishwasher. I take it over, remind him by physically putting his hands on all the slots where the utensils go. He can’t handle the knives so I do those. He has to be reminded where each slot is, but he does it and he can do it faster as the days go on. 
  • He is suppose to help bring the plates to the kitchen sink. He, however, can’t do that if anything is on it. We have lost SO many plates this summer. He has to have someone close by to help him get it to the sink. 
  • He helps clean up the carpet ( aka, the sitting room) and he needs a lot of direction because he can’t see all of the stuff that needs to be picked up. He just simple can’t do it. 
  • Ty can separate clothes in the laundry room. I pick up the basket of stuff, he sorts it. He can start the laundry with me pointing out the  buttons. He can also help me with moving them into the dryer. 
  • Ty has to return the laundry baskets to each room. 
  • Ty has to put away his own clothes. 
Grayson’s chores:
  • Cleaning up the floor with Ty and Dallas 
  • turning on the dishwasher
  • When Ty brings in the small clothes hamper from the Boys bathroom, Grayson puts it in the right bins. 
  • Grayson puts away his folded laundry.
  • Grayson is able to help put the toys in the playroom away. 
Both boys: 
  • Hang up their towels and hang in Ty’s room. 
  • Make sure Ty’s room is clean of clutter so he can get around.
Adaptations for Ty make thing so much longer. They just do. But he is learning. There is a HUGE satisfaction in hearing him tell his dad that he did it all by himself. We are proud of him. 

So why do we ask our blind kids to do chores? 
  • We teach them that they can do something on their own. Especially hard things. 
  • We are teaching them to work as a team because we have to be able to work together to get things done. 
  • Gives him something to work for. We found the right reward that works for chores, but not for the bathroom. So we keep trying to figure out what works for each situation
  • We need and want Tyler to be independent some day. We have to start somewhere.
Chores and responsibility has made him become a bit more grown up. He is more aware that things need to go in the trash. That we have garbage that needs to go out. That he can take stuff to the trash. He can listen to directions and do what is asked. 

What chores do you guys have your kids do?

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