How to discipline an autistic child effectively

How to discipline an autistic child effectively

Whenever a kid misbehaves, one of the most common disciplines is giving him a kind of physical punishment. However, you will need another approach on how to discipline an autistic child effectively. This is because they are different from other kids. 

So, you can’t apply conventional discipline techniques to teach an autistic child. Depending on where he sits on the autism spectrum, he will have difficulty understanding the outcomes of his behaviors.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t implement any discipline. Many believe that gentle, consistent disciplines are great strategies to teach your autistic kid control his emotions and actions.

Educate yourself with your autistic kid’s needs

It is always essential to have a good understanding of your autistic child’s symptoms and behaviors. Different kids will have different signs, depending on which spectrum they sit on. Therefore, make sure you have a knowledge of autism to have the right expectations and discipline techniques. For example, an 8-year-old autistic kid can act like a 3-year-old one due to difficulty in language or social interaction.

There are various approaches to learn about autism. For instance, you can join online support groups for families of autistic kids. You can also exchange views on this issue with other parents of children with ASD at your kid’s school. This way, you can have a deep understanding of what is considered typical behaviors for a child with autism.

Always put safety first

As you may know that an autistic child can exhibit misbehaves. Under certain circumstances, they might behave aggressively to themselves. In such situations, it’s best to take your kid out of the condition, especially when it is risky for them or other kids nearby, in terms of physically and emotionally. 

Be consistent with the discipline techniques

Consistent discipline is considered one of the most important techniques for all kids, whether they are autistic or not. Nevertheless, those with certain disorders like ADHD or autism are believed to respond positively to discipline, but only if they can anticipate the situation’s outcomes. 

It can be a long road to be consistent in how to discipline a child with autism, but it works in the long run. One of the best ways to stay consistent in discipline is trying to stick to a particular routine. 

If there are any caregivers, or members in your family taking care of your kids, make sure they are aware of the routine. Also, they need to know how to deal with the child properly too. You can use stickers or pictures to show you kids what they should expect, in case they are non-verbal or having trouble understanding verbal language. 

Use positive discipline

Autistic children tend to respond better to positive discipline. As mentioned above, visual tools such as stickers or pictures can help the kid relate positive behavior with having something he or she wants. 

You first need to choose stickers that the child loves. Then give him or her one every day if he or she behaves well. When the child reaches a certain number of stickers, you’ll give him the item or thing he wants. Don’t forget to praise him when he behaves properly. 

Besides, when the child starts acting up, try to tell him what you want him to do, not what he shouldn’t do. For instance, if the kid is pulling the dog’s tail, instead of saying “Stop hurting or pulling the dog’s tail”, you can tell him “Let go of its tail”.

use positive discipline with your autistic kid instead of physical punishment
Use positive discipline with your autistic kid instead of physical punishment.

Teach self-calming techniques to your autistic child

I usually receive a question on my blog, which is “My autistic child is out of control. How do I calm him down?” Well, you know all kids have meltdowns; however, it is more difficult to calm a child with autism, especially when he is still young. But I believe that you can help your kid control his tantrums teaching him some easy but effective self-calming techniques.

Try to teach your child to inhale and exhale slowly through the nose, close his eyes, and imagine something comfortable. It could be his favorite toys or anything that makes him feel pleasant. You can also hug him until he settles down. Nevertheless, these techniques seem to work effectively with older children since they can control their emotions better than younger ones.

Seek professional help

Seeking professional help is another effective way in your autism journey. Today there are various services and therapy. Therefore, finding an expert in this field is not difficult. They will give you proper approaches on disciplining autistic child. Above all, you need to learn as much as possible and pick out strategies that apply to your child. 

Wrap up

It is always challenging to raise autistic children. However, their manner of action can be effectively controlled by gentle techniques. The most important thing is avoid physical discipline. These actions will teach them that hurting or hitting is an appropriate way to deal with a negative situation. 

Instead, try to calm them down with gentle words or actions, give them lots of praise whenever they have the right behavior, or direct them to a better situation when they start acting up or throw a tantrum. That would be one of the most effective approaches on how to discipline an autistic child.

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