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How Do You Discipline An Autistic Child?

This may be even running through your mind all the time, how do you discipline a special needs child?

How do you stay calm when you're just at your breaking point?

Can they really know when they've done wrong?

Let's get to answering these questions...

First of all, we need to hear the truth: if you have a feeling that your child doesn't deserve discipline, it's just as if you're telling your child "I don't think you can learn" and if you don't believe this, how will your child believe?

What experts call behavior management, is not about demoralizing your child but instead, it's a way that you can communicate boundaries and expectations in a loving and nurturing way.

Discipline: correcting your child's actions, showing them whats wrongs and what's right, what's okay and what's not; is one of the ways all parents can take the time to show their kids that they love and care about them.
Some of yall may have heard the saying, I'm only doing this because I love you, now turn around. *Smack* *Smack* *Smack*

Learn about your child's condition, taking the time to actually do this can help by a long shot because now you will know what to look out for and what they have no control over, etc.  

Like for example:

It’s one of those moments you hate to deal with.

It’s the holidays, and your house is crowded with relatives chatting and enjoying the moment.

Suddenly something small and hard hits you in the face.

You realize it's your six-year-old child throwing crayons at you.

Now he steals a handful of crayons from one of the cousins and chucks them all right at you, while your visitors stare.


What do you do?

You have to remember that your child may not know and trying to do strong reinforcement will actually deter the positive result you're looking for.


Realize what's going on

Problem behaviors are generally the child trying to communicate something. Simply “punishing” the behavior won’t bring about long-term results.

A child with autism generally won’t respond to authority in the same way a neurotypical child would, and many traditional methods will likely backfire in the long run.

Strong reactions from you will probably reinforce the behavior instead of deterring it. If your voice gets louder, your face turns red or you wave your arms you’re suddenly very interesting. Instead of feeling chastised, your child may be curious and repeat the behavior to see what kind of show you’ll put on next.

CALM DOWN

Your interpretation of the “why” behind the behavior might be increasing your own anger… and it might be wrong.

It’s possible that what you observe as disrespectful might actually be your child’s reaction to physical pain or an inability to clearly express legitimate needs.

Look further into your child's condition

Look for patterns to see what your child might be trying to say. What happened immediately before the problem behavior? It might be as obvious as you refusing to buy a donut or as subtle as sensory overload each time Aunty sue hugs your child.

PUNISH & REINFORCE

Behaviors have consequences. You will need to create a behavior plan that includes what we in the ABA professional community refer to as reinforcers and punishments in order to begin the change process.

Reinforcers are consequences that increase the likelihood of the behavior repeating. If your child knows that by not melting down in the store he gets to play with a favorite toy on the car ride home, the toy is the reinforcing consequence. It increases positive behavior.

Punishments are consequences that make your child less likely to repeat a behavior. If your child hits their sibling while playing with blocks, you remove access to what they want: the blocks and a playmate.

Consistency is the key to making this work, so you will need to repeat the same steps multiple times before you start to see a change.

Things will probably get worse before they get better, but if you persist it will work.


Because autism has neurological roots some sensations are truly painful for your child.

In all likelihood, your child’s behavior is a visceral reaction to some kind of trigger. It’s worth putting in the effort to try to pin down what that trigger might be.

The solution to a major meltdown could be as simple as asking Aunty sue to avoid wearing perfume when she comes over.

But What Do I Do RIGHT NOW?

IGNORE … If you know the behavior isn’t in response to true physical pain, and the behavior is non-harmful, seek to ignore it. For example, if your child is throwing crayons at you get up and walk out of the room. Any verbal discipline or chastisement actually reinforces what your child most likely wanted…your attention!

After some time away from the child, return to the room and offer your presence.

REMOVE … Until you start practicing ABA principles at home and preparing your child for upcoming triggers, you may need to remove your child from the situation. This may mean that in the short term you leave the store without finishing your grocery list or your child goes to his room until visitors leave the house.

RememberABA is all about working toward long-term changes in behavior, and sometimes short-term solutions will only prolong the change process.

For some children, time outs are effective both at home and in public. However, they are only part of the story and alone will not result in long-term change.

Spanking is highly discouraged when working with children with autism.


Why? Because your child’s final takeaway will be that when others do something they don’t like, they can respond physically. This can lead to hitting other children or throwing rocks on the playground when they are upset.

In addition, spanking fails to take into account the reality that your child may be acting out because he or she is truly in pain or experiencing a valid need.

Instead, we want to give our children the tools to respond to the situation appropriately and be able to tell us what is wrong.









About Me

Hello ! Nina Here, I am a blogger and a mother to 5 lovely children (blended family), with our 6th bundle of joy, Joylin who was born on 10.27.2020. Our Family is now complete.
As you can see, I’m an experienced mommy with the joys of motherhood becoming more challenging than ever in this Day n age of Internet, smartphones and chaos. I want to help other mothers make the most of what they have so they can be their best selves and be the best parents they can ever be.
In this "mommy blog" I hope to share my experiences, my fears, my dreams, tips and tricks and everything I have learned on this many years of being a 5 star mommy. If you were looking for tips on how to deal with morning sickness during pregnancy, on how to make a fantastic grocery trip, how to get the best value for the lowest price... you have come to the right place !

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