how do you discipline a child with autisum

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Stephanie - posted on 04/20/2012

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By trade, I am a Child Behavioural Specialist.. and have worked with many children with Autism. The hardest part of discipline is connecting the action to the consequence. Social cues aren't always, or usually, understood so a disappointed/disapproving look are not caught. You want to be sure you are consistent, calm yet stern. A time out in the same place, with a very distinct time is best. The trick is the wording you use to put them there. We often kept the phrasing to 'no' and once defied, moved onto 'Time out', moving then a picture card associated with the time out given to the children. Though it may seem far from practical in the home, simply designating a mat, chair, bench as the 'time out' spot with the word on it will build recognition with regards to understanding they are sitting there for a reason. A very important part of this is the 'I'm Sorry' at the end if they are verbal. If not, a 'sorry' picture card might be the answer.

For any child the time out should never be 1) At the dinner table 2) On their bed 3) In a stimulating area. With Autistic children this is extremely important to help recognize why they are sitting there. The time doesn't need to be long to be effective.

It'll likely be frustrating at first, but Autistic kids are highly annalytical and often very smart. They just need help with the clues to figure out what a situation means.



I hope this is helpful, if even a little bit!

Jodi - posted on 04/20/2012

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It is hard to discipline a child with autism.. I have an 11 year old we think has Aspergers ( He has ADHD, Bi-Polar, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Optional Defense Disorder, and Anxiety ) He has very bad violent outbreaks so punishing him is impossible unless its to take his game systems away. If he/her has something like that than try taking it away or make him/her go to their room or corner thats all I can think of.. Sorry I couldnt be more help.

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Latoya - posted on 02/24/2014

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Thanks for the tips...I have a son with all of those symptoms and it's so HARD discipline him, he is currently seeing a Therapist and Psychiatrist.. I Lovey son so much, however, discipline is soooo difficult for me that I just don't want him to get any older and it is something that I cannot control... Again, thank you for your words and helpful tips!

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