September 5, 2018 | By: Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center
Categories: Transition to Adulthood
Here are a few tips on how to structure your household to help your child become as independent as possible. It may be difficult for you to loosen control, but you must give your child a chance.
One of the most important items to have in your home is a calendar. A dry-erase calendar allows easy changes. Having several calendars is also helpful. For example, a calendar with a red rim could be used to write important dates, such as appointments, due dates for bills, payday, etc. Use another calendar for weekly chores.
Post-it notes can be useful. Write anything your child needs help remembering to do on them—such as don’t forget to brush your teeth. Place the note on the mirror in the bathroom. Having alarms on a cell phone or a tablet are helpful for not forgetting tasks.
Laundry may be a difficult task because everyone has their own way of washing their clothes. What has worked for us is having a hamper(s) near the washer. White clothes can go in the hamper, colored clothes can go directly into the washer (or vice versa). Once the washer is full, instruct them to wash the clothes.
Place a coat hanger hook on their bedroom door. Once the clothes have been washed and dried, they will be hanged and placed on the door. This will remind them they have to put them away in their closet.
Allowing them to shop for the household is another way to improve their independence. Start them shopping for a few items. Build the list until you reach one week’s worth of groceries. When you get back from the store, review the items purchased. Explain if they did a good job in their choices or not. Gradually add items to the list, such as bathroom items or laundry items.
Learning new things can take time. Break the task down into little items. Like with many other things, repetition is key. Mistakes will be inevitable but it’s okay because that is how they will learn. The goal is to assist them in becoming as independent as possible.
Teaching your child independence is one of the most important things you will do for them.
Just when I thought maybe the “autism thing” was calming down. And that maybe I had a few months to catch my breath before researching everything I needed to know about guardianship before my son turns 18. Wham–another big change brought us back to reality.
Support is out there for families of individuals with disabilities–you just have to ask! Take advantage of the community of others who are going through the same things as your family.