Practical Tip #22 Chores & Special Need Children

A month after Tristan was placed in our family, we had early intervention therapists come to our home.  Susan was Tristan’s developmental therapist.  She came to our home weekly for two years.  Susan and I spent a lot of time together. I clearly remember one of our chats. She would gently encourage me by saying, “ALL children need to do chores.  A child needs to feel like part of the family.  Special needs children must do chores.”


  I really valued Susan’s perspective because she was a special needs child.  She has cystic fibrosis.   As an adult she received a lung transplant.  She still faced lots of medical care but you would never know it.   She looked like a healthy adult.  Susan would emphasis, “When children complete chores, they are an active family member.”    This can be tricky.  Each special needs child’s is unique.  Therefore, match a child’s chore by ability and developmental age.  Yes having Tristan do a chore takes much longer!  Yes Tristan doing a chore requires much supervision!  I often remember Maria and her insight on being a special needs child.  Another benefit is our teenage son often sees his younger brother complete chores.  Then life seems more “fair.”  What the older sibling does not realize is that Tristan enjoys doing jobs!  Tristan views them as “fun.”  There have even been a few occasions that Tristan has surprised us.  For a long period of time, he resisted folding towels.  Then one day a whole basket of blankets were folded very neat.  He folded them without any supervision!

Tristan is developmentally around a 2 to 4 year old.  These are the chores we work on together:

*making the bed

*empty recycling every other day

*feeding the dog

*putting away dishes

*folding towels

*helps unload groceries and put them away

Do you expect your special needs child/adult to help with chores?  What chores can he/she complete?

I found this great resource at  

Click here to download a Chore Chart

If you click on the image it will enlarge.


3 thoughts on “Practical Tip #22 Chores & Special Need Children

  1. I wrote a post a few months back about the fact that I made my son lazy! I had done EVERYTHING for him for so long, I wasn’t allowing him to lift a finger…I have since changed and now MJ takes out the garbage, cleans off the table after dinner, loads his clothes in the washer, and puts away his toys.


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