In this post, we are going to discuss on how to discipline autistic children because it is often considered to be a very difficult task due to the unpredictable behavior of kids who are affected by this disorder.
Disciplining a child means to teach them how to behave properly at home as well as while in the presence of other people and so it involves a lot of effective communication between the parent and the child. Since we already know that it is difficult to communicate with an autistic child one should first focus on establishing a deeper connection with their kid before they begin to discipline them.
Being strict and getting angry at the child for their inappropriate behavior may work well in case of any kid but when it comes to dealing with children with autism you should focus on trying to convert their bad behavior into good with a lot of patience and by finding out the technique that works best for them.
Knowing Your Child Better
As we have discussed in many of our posts this is the most important thing a parent should do before they plan to teach any particular skill to their kids. Kids with autism often use various strange and unique methods to channelize their emotions so you should understand whether your kid is acting inappropriately or trying to cope up with a problem.
Diagnosing the disorder and finding out the kid’s troubles with proper observations and knowledge about the disorder will greatly help you to understand why your kid is behaving in a particular way.
Once you have understood the inner issues and needs of your child it becomes easy for you to work on their behavior because then you will be having an in-depth knowledge about your kid’s emotional health and thus your expectations will be more realistic.
Things You Should Keep in Mind While Disciplining an Autistic Kid
1 – Focusing on What Is Positive
A child with autism may behave naughtily in social events and unfamiliar circumstances. What you may not be seeing is that they might be having some kind of sensory or emotional issues, so it is best to not force them to behave in a certain way and focus on their positive habits.
Appreciating your child for their good behavior and being patient when they are pushing your buttons is a healthy way of teaching good manners to a child affected with ASD.
2 – Consistency
One thing you must understand about autism is that these kids are trained by repetition more than the other kids. So you should make sure to use the same kind of methods to stop their bad behavior every time because trying too many techniques on them will lead them to get away with your strategies and thus you will lose the control.
3 – Timing matters
Whether it is a punishment for the mischief done by the kid or a reward for their good behavior, you should be prepared to give them both of these things at the right time which is just after a few minutes.
The brain of an autistic kid works in a way that they may fail to understand why you are treating them in a certain way if you decide to act after a long time since the kid has done something good or bad.
Strategies to Discipline Your Child
1 – Appreciation
As we have discussed in the above paragraph, focusing on the positive qualities of your kid will help you to bring out more such behavior from them. Your kid wants to get your attention and they will be motivated to repeat good habits in order to get appreciation from you if you are willing to praise them whenever they do something good.
Be as much as specific and clear to them about what qualities you admire about them, there are no big or small things that you can focus on, it could be anything, so just be open to seeing the good in them.
2 – Rules and Schedules
Disciplining involves setting certain rules for the kids they should know the limits that they should not cross when behaving inappropriately and they should also be aware that there is a time for everything. Unlike the other kid’s autistic children like to have a fixed schedule and it is an advantage for you since that gives you a good opportunity to discipline them.
Fix a daily routine for them for every activity and encourage them to follow the schedule properly.
3 – Consequence
As we have discussed before, repetition is a key factor in teaching anything to an autistic child. We have discussed the rules in the previous point but in order to make them follow those rules you should make the child familiar with the particular consequence that follows after breaking a rule, this will make them aware that breaking a rule will lead to something that they don’t want to happen.
Just be sure to not use any harsh punishment on kids but find out something that works well on them in a healthy way.
4 – Knowing What to Do
We have discussed the consequences in the above paragraph and now we will help you a little with the strategy to deal with your kid’s inappropriate behavior.
You should know what works best on your child, in most cases keeping them away from doing something they want when they have broken a rule or done something mischievous works well.
You can also use the method of not giving them the attention and making them realize that you are mad at them for their bad behavior but make sure to know your kid’s nature thoroughly because some autistic kids like to stay isolated and this kind of punishment may not work on them.
These were some tips and strategies that you can use to discipline a child who is affected with autism, for some expert information on parenting such kids we highly recommend you to opt for a programme named “Parenting Children with Asperger’s and Autism“.
Here’s a Youtube video on this subject that you might want to check out:-
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