Any Autism Parents out there? How do you seperate what is a Autism Behavior Vs. Naughty behavior.

Samantha - posted on 12/11/2009 ( 26 moms have responded )

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Having an 8 old son isn't easy...but throw Autism into the mix and its a nightmare. How do you Disern from Autism behavior traits and a child just being a pain,. Its so hard to decide punishment.......Any Feedback would being appreciated. Thankyou in Advance

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Sharon-Kathleen - posted on 03/29/2011

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Every child is different, there isn't any ONE characteristic of an autistic child. However, you can't play into his behavior that isn't acceptable in public. I was in a store recently and a child was throwing a huge fit, screaming at the top of her lungs, acting like a huge brat....she was considered a "normal" child..... The mother passed it off as she was tired...oh please. The mother caved in and the child got the most evil smile on her face. I do everything i can to prevent my son from having a fit in public, if i see he is heading into one, i get him out of there as soon as possible, i don't want to subject others to that, and i don't want to have life be embarrassing for him, too. We work hard on managing him and working with him. We learn his moods, we learn his triggers, we learn what doesn't work. Sadly, he didn't get diagnosed until he was in 3rd grade, so for several years, people were just telling us he was uncontrolable, rude and a few other choice words. I felt awful when we learned the truth, then i learned everything i could about his situation. We have had to do a lot of work, but it has been worth it, he is adjusting well to high school and the school knows if there is a problem, they can count on me to be there for my child. My son hears my voice and it calms him. Is everything perfect? HECK NO, i can stink up the place when i am in a bad mood..but we are doing okay together...

Sharon-Kathleen - posted on 03/24/2011

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My son is 15, and i expect him to have the exact same behaviors as a "normal" child. If he does things that are inappropriate, he is told, "hey, inappropriate, not acceptable, knock it off" if we are in public, if we are in private, he has to learn to behave in an acceptable manner. We were first told we had to adapt to him, i don't agree, he has to learn to adapt to the world and he is doing a fine job. Yeah, there are things that we struggle with every day, but every day we deal with it. Computers are a huge issue, if he is on the computer too long, he becomes rude and obnoxious, so there are time limits. If he is on too long, he is horrid. So he has limits on his ds, wii, computer, etc. He is never allowed to escape to his room when he is in trouble. He is anti-social to begin with, send him to his room, he is in heaven. Making him deal with adults, that is a better punishment.
Punishment is making him deal with adults. So we made him start working in the kitchen. And wouldn't you know, he loves to cook now? Not saying that will work for your child, but with autistic kids, we have to think out of the box and work against the grain.

Heather - posted on 12/28/2009

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I had to laugh when I saw your post. My son just turned 9 yesterday, and he is high functioning autistic, but, among other things, has also been diagnosed with ODD (oppositional defiant disorder). It is so hard for us to figure it out. We went thru ABA classes, and the best thing we learned from it was you have to pick which battles are worth fighting. There might be undwelying reasons for some of the things he does. An example of ours...we would fight EVERY day about his clothes. He would insist on wearing them backwards. As it was, he is very particular about the kinds of clothes he wears. We chose this as a fight not worth it. We backed off of the fighting and arguing and just let him go. It wasn't hurting him or anybody else. Well, come to find out. It was due to the tags. We realized it was the shirts or sweatpants that didnt have tags, that he would wear properly. We started buying the "tagless" clothes, and the situation improved. He still does put them on backwards sometimes, but not on purpose.

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Be there for him. Talk to him give him a hug. Keep telling him he's wonderful and the bad behaviour doesn't suit him. Even though he doesn't communicate he's listening and it will eventually improve. Positive reinforcement and patience. Trust me it works.

Heidi - posted on 12/11/2009

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Have you read much on ABA (applied behavior ???)? Anyway, some of my children have behavioral health issues and we were trained to use ABA to maintain the problematic behaviors. If you think about it, behavior is behavior, so don't worry about the label of naughty or autistic...just address the behavior and ABA can help extinguish the problematic behaviors. Hope this helps.... I have 8 children and 4 of my adopted children have special needs.

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Shelley - posted on 03/24/2011

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I can not always tell my son is a few months shy of being 4 I was thinking just the other day I hope I get better at this soon because I am definetly seeing some defiant behavior more & more. You have to be ON & thinking ahead all the time.

Kimberly - posted on 12/22/2009

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I know exactly what you mean! My 19 yr old has Asperger's Syndrome (a light form of Autism) Treat all unacceptable behavior the same. That way he knows that the rules don't change.

Shari - posted on 12/20/2009

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I have a son that is on the spectrum and I am also a teacher of autistic students - the best service that you can give your son is holding him accountable for his actions - just because he is on the spectrum that is no excuse for his behavior - it is harder but it is worth the challenge - video him and what he is doing and show him what he looks like - get a peer or friend and have play dates - appropriate interaction. We as parents are really tired - and we sometimes let things go - it is worth the fight in the long run and he will be thankful for it later and so will you.

Theresa - posted on 12/14/2009

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I'm assuming since he's autistic that he has a special education teacher at school.. I would advise you get to know him or her well if you haven't already. I've found those teachers can be a great source of valuable informaition. Our son had a really great one throughout his early elementary years.

Valerie - posted on 12/13/2009

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The first thing is to know your child. I know when my son gets hyperactive and can't stop talking or sit still that he is very tired. If he starts pacing and staring in to space he is getting aggitated. Those are the times I try deep pressure exercises. But if he's behaving in a mean way( pushing or saying ugly thngs), regardless of what is causing the behavior, that is handled as a disciplinary issue. I tell him that what he is doing is not ok, how it effects the other person, and that there is a consequence. he is high functioning, but this works with anyone on the spectrum. I worked with children with Autism for years before my son was diagnosed. I hope some of this helps, and if it doesn't know there is one more peson out there who you can talk to.

Melissa - posted on 12/12/2009

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My autism child is 7. We finaly felt in control a bit more after having an mri done and the nuerologist going over it with us to see that he bacame this way from a stroke before he was born. The Dr. showed us the picture of his brain. Where it scarred afftected speech, language, left side of body physically and a few more things all labled under autism. He looks like normal child, (eye contact is always an issue) but I find it best to remember to keep my patients with him because he can only be compared to himself. So when figuring out punishment it seems like routine and staying on him is the only way to go. Just remember every child is different and what works for one child (even the same age) may not work for the next. I used to have my child put his nose on the wall untill he started to put himself there to get out of doing things and then I found having his squat on the wall for 30 seconds was a more effective way. (Kung fu teacher showed us that).

Cheri - posted on 12/12/2009

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I believe that after 8 years experience , in your heart you know your own child. Set the autism aside. Treat him with love, respect and dignity, and show him in the way to go, Mom... That's what God gave him to you to do and what I believe He wants you to do....

Amanda - posted on 12/12/2009

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I think it really depends on how severe the autism is. My son is a high functioning autistic. If the child is very high functioning a great book to read is Freaks, Geeks, and Aspergers syndrome. It was written by a boy that is going through this. I find that the more impulsive the action the more it is the autism. Try finding an outlet for the child. You could try a more theraputic method such as meditation. If you get their mind off of whatever it does seem to help. My little man is now 11 years old. My youngest one is about to go through an evaluation, she is 5 years old.

Jean - posted on 12/12/2009

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Naughty behavior looks morally or life threatening! Trust yourself to know the difference. All children progress only as far as what they know. Discipline is only a means of getting them to progress further up the evolutionary or civilization ladder. lol
The intricacies of public behavior and interpersonal relationships is a lot to grasp even for a child with no barriers to learning, be patient and kind and firm about your expectations for every child and they will come through even with barriers. Use only what works to calm and direct your child and the reasons or causes will all be just information you used to find the right track not a definition of your wholy grown child in the end. Yes, I have some challenged children and now grandchildren of my own and it does get better.

Stacie - posted on 12/12/2009

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with a child that has autism, it really depends on the level of functioning of the child. I would suggest natural consequences that are appropriate for not just the age but the mental age of the child. and try to consider the act, and what you what them to learn for thier futur when deciding how to discipline. if he keeps doing the same thing then the discipline needs to be the same kind of discipline and that way they know what is coming next which is important.
try to find someone in your area that can help you in this area and coach you along the way, sometimes pediatricians can recommend a behavior specialist that can give you tips in real life situations. good luck, and happy holidays!

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It can be hard to decide, but the more you read about autism, the more you will recognize common behaviors such as repetitive motions, hand-flapping, resistance to change in routine, etc. These are part of the diagnosis and should not be "punished" as such. It's a fine line sometimes but you need to guide your child more and punish less.

Katherine - posted on 12/11/2009

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Quoting Sharon:

what is ABA (applied behavior?)


Behavior modification.  It's very intense therapy for autism.

Katherine - posted on 12/11/2009

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Quoting Heidi:

Have you read much on ABA (applied behavior ???)? Anyway, some of my children have behavioral health issues and we were trained to use ABA to maintain the problematic behaviors. If you think about it, behavior is behavior, so don't worry about the label of naughty or autistic...just address the behavior and ABA can help extinguish the problematic behaviors. Hope this helps.... I have 8 children and 4 of my adopted children have special needs.


I too have done ABA and you are absolutely right, it's also the most effective therapy for autism.

Lorraine - posted on 12/11/2009

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I would suggest you read up and educate yourself on all you can on the behaviors associated with Autism. Know and understand what behaviors may be triggered or linked to the Autism. Negative Behaviors the child is doing are usually linked to three different areas regardless of medical condition. They are escape something/someone, avoid something/someone, or attain attention for something or someone. These behaviors are generally messages the child is trying to tell you. It would be nice if they came out of the womb to be 25 years old and speak our language right away. Then it would all make sense! lol

Shannon - posted on 12/11/2009

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My son has Characteristic of ADD/ADHD, the advice we were given from our Pediatrician was to pick 3 house rules that are absolutely not tolerated, by anyone
( parents and children) house rules could be anything that you hold value ( ours was, no yelling, no hitting, and not being rude,(talking back, swearing etc..), if these house rules were broken, it was an immediate consequence taken away or"time away", My son behavior was really getting out of hand and it seemed he was running the house. Ever since we have implemented the House rules, he knows what will happen...his behaviors have decreased and are manageable, now we can sit with him after his time away and talk things through with him about why he was sent to his room or his chosen activity was taken away.
At first when we first started implementing this rule, it appeared his behaviors were escalating,...at time when in his room, he would throw things around smashing things, but we were very consistent, by removing all objects/toys he broke or tried to bang, when in his time away, only leaving the bare essentials in his room. He got the message it was not getting him anywhere. My son is now 4and half he started this when he was around 3yrs. It is a struggle, but we found consistency, and extreme patience the key to true success. My son is mild now as mentioned, compared to when we first started with him on this. Final word it is essential for all parents to role model the same behavior and follow the same house rules applied, if not the message will be unclear and behaviors will increase becoming more unmanageable.

In response to Heidi response, we may want to consult your son's school if he is attending a Special Needs school to aide you through the (ABA), again all parties involved in your child's support plan will need to be consistent with your agreed method of intervention otherwise in will not be effective. Stay strong:)

Jennifer - posted on 12/11/2009

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I have 2 autistic sons ages 6 and 9. I agree with Hayley and just send mine to their room also. I also make them clean up any mess that they make from the behavior. Sometimes this has to wait until they cool down, but it does teach them that there are consequences to their actions.

Hayley - posted on 12/11/2009

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im new to all this so i wont be of much help im afraid. my brother in law is 15 and hes autistic. if hes done something wrong his parents normally just send him to his room, that way if its the autism it gives him time to cool down and if its just bad behaviour then he feels as if hes grounded! thats all i know. sorry i cant be of anymore help. good luck!

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