Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Best Kind of 'Home Work': Chores!!

Do you read FamilyFun magazine? I do and I love it! They have some of the best ideas. My favorite section of the magazine is the "it worked for me" section where parents write in with ideas, tips, etc. I read my FamilyFun during our weekly library visit. I love to read old issues and scope out new ideas. I snap pictures of my fave ideas to archive for later use with my kids.

I also am always on the watch for new ideas to with my students. I came across this job chart during my latest library reading time. I believe in chores, stewardship (that's what I call it in my family), jobs, family responsibilities---whatever you call them, for children. I am not going to lecture anyone on how to parent their children (that's the first thing I tell my parents/families when I come to their homes to work with them). My children are 4 & 5 and have daily chores but I have come to learn that not every family operates like that. 

You may have a family that doesn't operate with weekly or daily chores. That's fine.....but let me ask you this, how does your child with a vision impairment learn about independent living skills (ILS)? ILS must be embedded in your child's daily routine--period. Your child will not learn the crucial ILS if they do not engage in them everyday. They don't have to be the same chores everyday but they do have to be something. They cannot acquire these skills at school. School instruction can be supplemental but it's still artificial because they don't live in their classrooms (clearly residential programs designed especially for children with vision impairments are excluded from that last statement).

 I recommend 20 minutes (minimum!!) of ILS daily for my students (regardless of their age). That equates to about 4-5 chores. Those chores can be anything from clearing the table, helping prep dinner, cleaning a bedroom/bathroom/family room---anything!! Students can get the mail, pack their own backpacks, lunches (even their parents' lunches!) or order the pizza for dinner that night. Start as early in age as possible! Like I said, my children are in PreK and K and have been doing chores for the last two years. Elementary, tween, middle school and especially high school age students need to have the reality check of doing chores everyday. They must do this by hands-on experiences everyday. I know, I am on my soap box about this but I tell you this---the students that have regular chores, expectations to have ILS and can do these skills are the ones who are on the path to an independent life. Need chore ideas? You have a couple of easy resources at your fingertips. You can email your TVI or you can consult the Texas School for the Blind Independent Living Skills Assessment (ILSA). Remember me talking about the ILSA? It's not so much of an assessment as it is a checklist divided by age. And last but never least, you can always email yours truly (robbin.keating@gmail.com).

But now back to a fun find that I found in FamilyFun. I loved this job chart! It has lots of fun potential for our kiddos with the right modifications. See picutre below for the ideas and the "how to's". This is great because it has the who tactual feel to it. You can easily modify this. Here's how:
-Clear Braille labels on top of the print (always put print with the Braille so you can read it, too!)
-Use contrasting colors. They used green and yellow. Make sure you avoid busy patterns with paper!
-Use an easy to read font like Arial in the font size that works best for your child.

You may not do this DIY Vision Project but just remember: Every child needs 20 minutes (minimum) of independent living skills (ILS is straight out of the Expanded Core Curriculum!) so find the chores that work best for your family and your child and go for it! Here's to increased independent living skills!!

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