Teaching Asperger's and Autistic Children to do Chores: The Dot Method

It is often tough for Autistic children and children with Asperger’s to do chores. Often it is a battle that leaves both child and parent drained. Often parents will try to reason with the child, which goes nowhere or try to bribe them, which often fails. Autistic children, like most children, do not want to do chores but instead want to do their own things. However, children have to learn how to do chores, so one day when they are on their own, they will know how, and will be able to take care of themselves. The question is, how can an autistic child learn to do chores, without a huge fight? I have found a method that will help, called The Dot Method.

What is the Dot Method?

The Dot method is a very simple and easy to implement. All you need is a clipboard, a marker, and dot stickers. First, you create a chore list of 10 chores you wish the child to complete. These can be the chores you have assigned in the past but were rejected. Make sure the list is varied, with many different types of chores. Now, go to your child, and show the list, and ask the child to choose one chore they wish to do. Now, tell them once they complete the chore, they get to take a dot and put it next to a chore they do NOT want to do. This gives the child a choice of chores to pick, that will take the place of chores they do not want to do. Now, have them complete the chore, then come back to the list. The child then takes the dot and places it next to the chore they do not want to do. The child does this part, so they feel empowered. Now, have them repeat this until five chores are done, and 5 have dots on them. In the beginning, it is better to get them to do half of the work, over none of it.

Do this for 1-2 weeks, then get the chore list out again, and this time, when they complete a chore, they get to put a half sticker next to a chore they do not want. There may be some resistance here, but again, they will be able to choose some chores they do not want to do. Repeat this every few weeks, until they are doing most of the chores. You may need to revisit the chore chart and do this again, but in the end, they will be doing more chores than not.

Why does this work?

For someone with Autism and Asperger’s, it is all about control. They want to have control of themselves and their lives, but the world limits them severely. If they feel they have some control, some choice, they will be more inclined to complete it. This should work with non-Autistic children as well. If a child feels they have no control, then they will have no reason to complete it. This may not work the first time, and may not work for all children, but it is a good method, that is easy to try.

To view a video explaining this technique, look below:


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Nathan Driskell

Hello, my name is Nathan Driskell and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor – Supervisor in the Houston / Cypress area specializing in the treatment of Internet Addiction & Asperger’s / Autism. I work with children, adolescents, adults, couples & families.

You can reach me at my website or call me directly at 832-559-3520 if you have any questions. Thank You!
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