RE: "What would be a good punishment for an Aspergers child who ignores the house rules?"
First of all, let’s think in terms of discipline rather than punishment. Punishment is mostly about parents getting revenge. Discipline, on the other hand, is mostly about mentoring and providing direction.
Moms and dads should consider the following steps when attempting to discipline a youngster with Aspergers or High Functioning Autism:
1. Clearly post rules and consequences. Kids with Aspergers thrive on clear rules, and therefore posting a list of unacceptable behaviors and their consequences can be immensely helpful. For younger kids who cannot read yet, the rules should be reviewed periodically, and the list could also have visual illustrations to demonstrate the bad behaviors and punishments associated.
2. Come to an agreement on disciplinary techniques. Moms and dads need to be in agreement when applying discipline to any youngster, but especially for kids with Aspergers. If one parent thinks spanking is the appropriate punishment, while the other feels that time-outs will be more effective, this will be confusing for the youngster. Time-outs, loss of privileges such as video games, TV, or weekly allowances, a fair fining structure (as in police ticketing) with a cost associated with each offending behavior or additional chores can all be used effectively.
3. Firmly apply natural consequences. Whenever a bad behavior occurs, natural consequences will result. Sometimes, Moms and dads must apply these consequences when kids are young. For example, if a youngster isn't sharing with another, that other youngster should be asked to leave. This will simulate the most likely scenario that will occur in a playground.
4. Identity concerning behaviors. Moms and dads should list the behaviors that they feel are most deserving of attention. This is an important step because some behaviors may need intervention or therapy in order to be eliminated rather than simple disciplinary tactics. For example, running in circles or humming may be habits that the youngster is using to self-soothe, even though these behaviors might drive Moms and dads crazy. Odd self-soothing behaviors are common in kids on the autism spectrum with sensory processing (integration) issues, and they can be easily replaced with more appropriate ones (such as swinging on a swing or chewing on a healthy snack).
5. Moms and dads need time-outs too. If one parent is home with an Aspergers youngster all day long, that parent may need a break later. Moms and dads should pay attention to one another and give each other time to decompress when necessary. Develop a hand signal or other visual clue that lets the other know when these moments arise.
6. Time-out techniques. Kids with Aspergers tend to enjoy being isolated because it is less stressful for them and they do not have to socialize with others. For these kids, time-outs can actually be a positive experience unless modified slightly. Removing kids from something fun might be a better alternative. For example, if a youngster loves to play with blocks, perhaps the blocks should go in the time-out area. A timer can be used and this will help Moms and dads be more consistent when applying time-outs. Kids prone to destructive tantrums may be placed in a room that contains no breakable items or one that has pillows kids can use to get out their frustrations.
7. Use positive discipline as much as possible. Stickers, tokens and other incentives are effective ways of motivating kids. Also, whenever a problem behavior is identified, early interventions and tactics should be applied. These include replacing unacceptable self-soothing behaviors, relaxation techniques, floor time play therapy, music therapy, auditory therapies which help a youngster focus and listen better, and even improvements in diet.
My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns and Tantrums