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What would be a good punishment for an Aspergers child who ignores the house rules?

 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


Anonymous said...

What a relief! I love what I have read so far and have had a fabulous weekend relating to my son in a completely different way.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark,
Thank you for the resource you are providing. We live in a small town in Louisiana and have few local resources. After reading many books on Asperger's, I came to the conclusion that this is definitely our 10-year old son, Travis. We took him to an out-of-town psychologist who told me to stop reading "pop psychology books" and that our son scored 26 on the Autism scale and he did NOT have Asperger's. I think Travis is very smart on paper and can answer all the questions correctly when tested. However, real life is another story. It is blatantly obvious to me that I have an Asperger's child. He struggles socially. His two narrow interests are bugs and plants. He cannot make small talk with boys about sports or anything else. He talks INCESSANTLY, always always turning the conversation back to his topics and that gets old with other children! He is very bubbly and happy when allowed to pursue his interests. We homeschool and I allow him to do this as much as possible. He has grandiose ideas and often melts down when I cannot allow him to fulfill these ideas (building a 10ft+ butterfly house, etc). We struggle with getting school and chores done. Everyday he yells at me. Everyday he melts down usually several times. Often he hits me. I do feel as though I am treading on eggshells. I have read The Explosive Child by Dr. Green. The family ends up catering to Travis all day long in order to avoid meltdowns. At the same time, we are trying to teach him that it's not always "all about him". I am hoping to figure out some sort of balance here. Our 8 year-old daughter is very gentle and kind but even she has started to yell and hit him lately. I don't want him damaging his relationship with her. I just signed up for your Online Parent Support so have not listened /read any of your materials yet. I look forward to getting some helpful information. We love our son dearly and desire to help him as best we can.

Thank you for the service you are providing.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. Mark

Thanks for your valuable information and videos and much more.
I have enjoyed spenting time reading your articles.

Anonymous said...

First that is a very challenging situation. Also age would be helpful. Anyone who is disciplining the child must be consistent with punishment. Maybe a reward system for good behavior and loss of something for bad behavior, etc.

Anonymous said...

Usually the first thing I do when a rule has been broken is to quickly assess if I contributed to it (by not following the routine, not giving him a transition, etc.). If I also broke a house rule, then I need to cope to that too. Since my son is quite young, we have taken away toys (especially if the toy was involved in the infraction). It has also been helpful for him to build his social and pragmatic language skills for us to both put that toy on time out . And then we talk to toy when the time out is done. However, sometimes the rule breaking is symptomatic of an impending meltdown, perhaps as a result of a hard day at school or something like that. I am all for consistency, but with Aspies and SPD kids, there also needs to be a context so that everyone can respond appropriately.

Unknown said...

If a child with asbergers is acting out at a sibblings sports activities, what is a good method of dealing with that?
Seperating them from the event, not taking them to those activities, or just let the childs behavior run its course?

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Click here
to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...