Friendship Circle Logo
Pure Friendship for Individuals with Special Needs
Becca Eisenberg

12 Skills and 5 Household Chores That Can Serve as Preparation for Future Vocation

As a speech-language pathologist, I have seen many older children and adults with varying developmental disabilities without any experience in vocational skills. Why? Most of these individuals are capable at completing these tasks, but lack the experience and were often not encouraged to complete these tasks at home. Chores at home can lead to greater success in vocational settings, especially with regard to taking responsibility and learning to respect authority. Here's five chores that can be worked into your child's daily (or weekly) routine to help them with some vocational experience:

1. Laundry

For individuals with developmental disabilities, laundry can become an opportunity to incorporate speech and language goals and teach skills for a future. For example, doing laundry can improve:
  • Categorization (separating whites from colors)
  • Following directions
  • Literacy (reading the words on the care tags, washer & dryer, detergent, etc.)
  • Math skills (measuring the detergent)
  • Problem-solving (what happens when you add too much soap, etc.)
  • Sequencing (timing loads and establishing process)
Experience with the task of laundry can help lead to jobs such as working in a laundromat, fitness center, etc.

2. Filing

Like any household, there is always filing to do! If your child cannot read yet, work on filing categorized by color or first letter. Another option is placing a picture on the file folder tab with the word to help the individual recognize the folder name. This activity can help teach an individual:
  • Categorization
  • Literacy
  • Following directions
  • Expanding vocabulary
  • Sequencing
Experience with filing can be beneficial if your child is interested in working in an office in the future.

3. Preparing Food

There are many speech and language goals that can be targeted during food preparation. Skills include:
  • Sequencing
  • Literacy
  • Expanding Vocabulary
  • Articulation
  • Describing and Commenting
  • Actions
  • Answering "Wh" Questions
  • Problem Solving
  • Turn Taking
  • Recalling Information
This article explains these skills and how you can incorporate them into food preparation. Experience with these tasks can lead to a job in a restaurant or catering business.

4. Recycling

Recycling is an ideal opportunity to have your child categorize the different items of plastic, paper, metal, etc. How are they the same? How are they different? Discuss why it’s important to recycle and what the process is with regards to recycling. If a child gets used to doing this chore at home, future jobs involving the supervision of recycling can be an easier transition such as working at a supermarket, café, etc.

5. Setting the Table

Setting the table can be another opportunity to work on:
  • Following directions
  • Problem-solving (e.g. will you need spoons for the meal?)
  • Sequencing (e.g. first put the plates down, then the napkins, etc.).
Setting the table at home can be a chore at home but can be beneficial to working in a restaurant in the future. As a parent, there are many ways to help your child find meaningful employment, but some work needs to be done at home to help develop the child's skill set.

WRITTEN ON February 10, 2016 BY:

Becca Eisenberg