Having a child with autism or any other kind of particular need is something that can be both the gift and a challenge for parents. It will allow you as the parent to prove that you can love the child unconditionally despite his limitations.
On the other hand, it will also give the child a chance to develop skills that he would not usually have without that extra chromosome or the aberration in his genetic makeup.
The question is, how will you discipline a child with autism individually? Is the method of discipline any different than that of an average child? Read this article to find out the answers to these questions and more.
Definition of Terms
Before going any further, let us first discussed the real meaning of autism and what it entails. Autism or the condition scientifically known as Autism Spectrum Disorder refers to a developmental issue that affects behavior and cognition.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of this particular issue become evident during the first two years of life. It is characterized by the following:
Difficulty in communication and limited social interaction
Restricted interests and repetitive behavioral patterns
Other symptoms include behaviors that are disruptive and destructive towards others and to the child himself. If a child shows behavior patterns that hinder him from having normal social interactions and functioning, this may be a sign that he is part of the spectrum.
Why Is It Called a Spectrum?
This is so because there is a wide variety of symptoms and company in behavior that describe autism. It is not limited to one set of symptoms or behavioral patterns. The set of unique behavioral patterns is also one of the reasons why testing and diagnosis is essential if a parent encounters such behaviors within a child.
They should be done to make sure that the parent will be able to help the child develop in the much safer and healthier environment down the line.
Now that you know the meaning of autism, we can now discuss what behaviors and activities you can adapt to ensure that you can instill discipline and the child his or her condition. We hope that through this article, we will be able to teach you how to interact with your child in a firm but loving manner and help him become the best that he can be right from the beginning.
Top Eight Tips on How to Discipline Your Autistic Child
1. Have Consistency
The first thing that you have to do is to make sure that you have consistency. If you berate him or her for doing something you deem wrong or unhealthy, be firm and consistent in your decision to do so. Never hesitate in front of the child.
By doing this, you will be able to show him that there are consequences to his actions no matter who he is or what his condition may be. He has to answer for his actions and learn to apologize when necessary.
You can only do this if you are firm by your stand to discipline him in whatever way you deem fit.
For example, if you tell him to go into the corner because of something that he did, do not take him off punishment just because he throws a tantrum at you. You have to be consistent with what you are doing, or else you would learn the behavior and realize that he can manipulate you into not continuing with the punishment.
2. Educate Yourself
In addition to this, you can also discipline your child by educating yourself about his condition. By educating yourself, you will be able to learn more about the things that affect his or her behavior concerning his autism.
You will discover what triggers these tantrums and how you can stop it from happening again. For example, if he has an aversion to loud noises and would throw a fit every time the child hears a loud noise, you can avoid the tantrums by making sure that he’s able to stay in the quiet and controlled environment most of the time.
If you plan to take him out, make sure that he always has the earplugs so that the noise level would be reduced and you will not have to deal with his tantrums in public.
3. Use the Reward System
Since it would take longer for him to understand the consequences of his actions, teaching an autistic child to behave a certain way by giving him rewards can help him behave better. However, you should not do this regularly because it might lead to him wanting to be rewarded every time he does something right.
4. Be Clear About What You Want to Say
Your child will not listen to you if he doesn’t understand what you want to say to him. Use clear and simple words when trying to tell him what to do. This way, he will not have to think too hard to follow instructions.
5. Do Not Hesitate to Offer Praise from Time to Time
It would help to offer praise from time to time. Always let him know how loved he is and how his behavior affected you positively. Offer affirmations to him every day so that he will be able to imbibe positivity in his behavior consistently.
6. Be a Good Example
You should serve to be an excellent example to your autistic child as well. These special children tend to mimic behaviors even more so than other more typical infants. This is why you have to make an effort to become an excellent example to the autistic child. If he sees that you behave positively towards aggression, he will learn to copier behaviors and exhibit them eventually.
7. Believe in Your Child’s Abilities
If you want your child to grow up in a healthy environment despite this condition, you have to show him the support that he needs. Believe in his abilities to do the simple stuff. This way, he will learn to value your opinion and adhere to your requests every time you tell him to do something.
What is important here is that you can show support in whenever he wants to do. Doing this will allow you to have a rapport with your child which will be useful for establishing discipline down the line.
8. Build a Routine
Speaking of establishing something, last, but not the least is to develop an effective routine. Children with special needs tend to thrive in a clear structure. They will be able to anticipate something to do each day and learn how to behave accordingly.
As a parent, you must make sure that the airy able to adhere to the rules and regulations set by the routine. If you’re ready to do this, then discipline will soon follow.
The Closing Statement
These are just some of the many practical tips that you can have when it comes to disciplining a child with special needs. What is important is that you remain steadfast in your behaviors and decisions when it comes to rearing your child. If you can do this, everything else will soon follow.