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    Engaging in Chores at Home: A Facilitator of Employment in Youth with Disabilities

     

     

    Parental expectations (Lindsey, 2014), and engagement in chores at home (Lindsey, 2014; Weyman, 2014) are considered to be facilitators to getting a job for youth with disabilities. What is the connection? Performing chores at home is complex for youth with disabilities. The child has to have the understanding, physical ability and motivation to complete those tasks. As a parent of children without disability, it is hard to get kids to do chores. Children with disabilities may have difficulties performing the tasks themselves, lack motivation, or be uninterested in engaging in these tasks. However, it makes sense that encouraging engagement in these activities will increase their responsibility at home, proficiency in self care and independent living. For youth with disability, it will give them more skills that may be used in a job setting. When I interview parents of youth with disability, I find kids are not engaging in as many tasks as they are capable of.

     

    A parent proxy measure called the CHORES (Children Helping Out: Responsibilities, Expectations, and Supports) has been developed for school age children (Dunn, 2014). Rasch analysis has determined the items have good fit. When this tool was used with 3 groups of children ages 6-14 (typical development, cognitive impairment and physical impairment), the younger participants and participants with physical disability scored lower than other groups. Unfortunately this test is not published and readily available. Elements of the ABAS-3 answer these questions, although it is typically administered by psychologists to determine diagnostic categories of intellectual disability. One checklist analyzes participation in chores at home.

     

    In an effort to guide my interviews with parents, I have developed a checklist  that can be used to help assess a student’s participation in chores at home. This tool is currently undergoing construct validity studies and I plan to publish it open access for anyone to use.

     

    My advice?

    1.Encourage home/school communication about daily activities that have a chore component (cleaning up, putting items in a trash can, putting lunch items away). Parents may not even be aware of what their kid can do at school so they may not do the tasks at home.

    2.When evaluating kids, ask about engagement in chores at home.

    3. You can use this infographic to educate your families about chores. Hopefully this infographic can help your families figure out what activities their child can do and what ones to add to their repertoire.  

     

     

    Dunn, L., Magalhaes, L. C., & Mancini, M. C. (2014). Internal structure of the children helping out: Responsibilities, expectations, and supports (CHORES) measure. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(3), 286–295. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.010454.

     

    Harris, P., Oakland, T. (2016). Adaptive behavior assessment system, Third edition. Retrieved August 22, 2016, from http://www.pearsonclinical.com/psychology/products/100001262/adaptive-behavior-assessment-system-third-edition-abas-3.html.

     

    Lindsay, S., McDougall, C., Menna-Dack, D., Sanford, R., & Adams, T. (2014). An ecological approach to understanding barriers to employment for youth with disabilities compared to their typically developing peers: Views of youth, employers, and job counselors. Disability and Rehabilitation,37(8), 701–11.

     

    Wehman, P., Sima, A., Ketchum, J., West, M., Chan, F., & Luecking, R. (2014). Predictors of successful transition from school to employment for youth with disabilities. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 25(2), 323–334.

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