Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Disciplining the Aspergers Child: Special Considerations

Have you ever been so annoyed and frustrated with your Aspergers (high functioning autistic) child that you lost your temper - and your sanity (for a moment)?

Teaching and correcting the Aspergers youngster requires balancing a number of considerations. As a mother or father, you have the right to set the same rules as you would for any of your other kids. But you also have the responsibility to ensure you are being fair in communicating your boundaries so you can expect your youngster's compliance. To discipline fairly, you will need to first know that you have communicated fully your rules in ways your youngster understands best.

Tips for Disciplining the Aspergers Child:

1. A list of rules should become your youngster's property and, depending upon the situation, should be kept in his pocket for ready reference.

2. Be cautious about going to extremes. You have every reason to be a strong advocate on behalf of your youngster and in protection of his rights, but this does not exempt him from being disciplined by you, the parent.

3. Because your youngster is inherently gentle and sensitive, he may be particularly prone to being vulnerable (i.e., he may be more susceptible than neurotypical children to experiencing problems in communication and social interaction).

4. Before you discipline, be mindful that your youngster's logic will not necessarily reflect your idea of common sense.

5. Disciplining your youngster should be a teaching and learning opportunity about making choices and decisions. When your youngster makes mistakes, assure him that he is still loved and valued.

6. Don’t assume your "Aspie" will understand appropriate social behavior under a wide variety of specific circumstances and, when that doesn't occur, discipline in the moment.

7. Look for small opportunities to deliberately allow your youngster to make mistakes for which you can set aside “discipline-teaching” time. It will be a learning process for you and your youngster.

8. Never assume your youngster will automatically transfer and apply information previously learned in one environment to a new situation that, in your mind, is remarkably similar. For the Aspie, a new situation is a new situation.

9. Some moms and dads can become over-protective of their Aspie (i.e., the youngster gains more and more control while being protected in a sheltered environment with little to no discipline). They may make frequent excuses for their youngster's words or actions, and they may not discipline where most others agree it to be warranted. Don’t make this mistake!

10. Understand that your Aspie (a) needs to feel safe, comfortable and in control, (b) will become unhinged by anything significantly unpredictable, (c) is doing the very best he knows how to in the moment with what he's got available to him, and (d) has good reasons for doing what he's doing.

11. You have the responsibility to be fair in how you communicate rules and expectations. Because your youngster will be most open to receiving this information in ways that are literal and concrete, this means making it tangible (e.g., put it in writing as a simple, bullet-point list).

12. Your approach to discipline should mostly be one of prevention – not intervention.

13. Your youngster may take personally criticisms you think mild or trivial. If you are a parent short on patience and prone to critical or sarcastic comments, be prepared for your youngster to withdraw from you more and more until you are shut out completely.

14. Your youngster's diagnosis is a label that describes a small piece of who he is as a human being. Your youngster is many other things. His diagnosis does not exclusively define him.

15. Your youngster's need to feel in control should not be taken to extremes. Moms and dads must set limits and expectations for all kids. Having Aspergers does not give one free rein to be out of control, and that should not be endorsed or indulged by you, the parent.

In order to effectively discipline the Aspergers child, you will need to comprehend each of the factors above and fully place them in the proper context of any given situation. This knowledge will aid you in laying a foundation for “prevention” (rather than having to switch to “intervention”).

Discipline for Defiant Aspergers Teens


Anonymous said...

Robert Stretch Sippach, Avien E Sahlein Bost and Denise Csencsits Lauritzen Harfouche like this.

Yara Victória Pereira yes
26 minutes ago
Darla Lindauer Yes, I did loose my temper and I actually told people I did in my blog, I felt crazy after! I do it more than I say though.........​​-stop-asking-please-july12​.html
24 minutes ago
Marlene Biggy I'd like to meet the person who's never lost it even for a moment !!!! LOL
22 minutes ago · 1 person
Avien E Sahlein Bost More times than I care to admit to. It's tough!
16 minutes ago · 1 person
Marlene Biggy people living a 'charmed life' loose it all the time, why can't we??? if there's a magic pill you get with the diagnosis report,that miraculously changes your personality to have endless patience and instant ability to let EVERYTHING roll off your back, I'd like to say I did NOT get mine, and I now demand TWO!!! ;)
12 minutes ago
Liz M Iller Yes, I pray for patience every day.
9 minutes ago

sponsoredrebellion said...

Hello everyone,

I admit, I've gotten angry with my Aspie in the past but since I've read several books on the matter and now subscribe to blogs like these, my insight and patience has grown substantially. Thank goodness!

Anonymous said...

Robert Stretch Sippach I snapped one morning at my daughter and I cried I felt so small and bad about it and she told me it was OK and that she loves me !!!
9 hours ago · Like · 1 person
Carrie McLeod This article couldn't have come at a better time...I found another of my daughter's "projects" this morning. Toothpaste, hand soap, contact lens cleaner, sunscreen...everywhere! Today I was able to comfort her deep feelings of sadness with a calm reassuring voice while I cleaned her and everything up. Where did I pull this patience from?!!!!! Today is a good day!

Zoe said...

I thank my lucky stars that we found the RDI programme. I always say that without it, our family would have imploded because of the challenges that parenting a child with Aspergers can sometimes present. It can also be a lot of fun, of course, but we had to do a lot of work on our parenting and communicaton style in order to manage the difficult situations constructively. I've just written about the importance of good parental communication on my blog where you can also read about how RDI has helped us to become better parents and has helped my son to address some of his rigidity.

Anonymous said...

Robert Stretch Sippach I snapped one morning at my daughter and I cried I felt so small and bad about it and she told me it was OK and that she loves me !!!
Yesterday at 10:33am · Like · 1 person
Carrie McLeod This article couldn't have come at a better time...I found another of my daughter's "projects" this morning. Toothpaste, hand soap, contact lens cleaner, sunscreen...everywhere! Today I was able to comfort her deep feelings of sadness with a calm reassuring voice while I cleaned her and everything up. Where did I pull this patience from?!!!!! Today is a good day!
23 hours ago · Like · 1 person
Denice Molina Egilsson Thanks Marlene. Not only did you make me laugh and cry at the same time, you helped me feel much better about myself! I have my hands full with my three kids. One about to be 14 who is really struggling with is Aspie brother and with hormones(yikes). Of course my almost 12 year old Aspie son who is a delight and a challenge every other minute and then there is the diva princess 8 year old who evens out the package.
37 minutes ago · Like
Denice Molina Egilsson Oops did not finish....Just saying it is impossible not to have my own little meltdown every once in a while. Mostly though I try to breathe!!!! A LOT!
35 minutes ago · Like

Anonymous said...

liza Edwards Yes ~ and I hate Hate HATE it! I'm trying to be more patient every moment of every day. In my heart I wouldn't change a single thing about him. He didn't do anything to deserve having Asperger's. Sometimes it just seems so unfair. One moment, one day at a time~
Friday at 2:52pm · Like
Jean Low yes had my aspergers kids in the 60,s,no diagnosis,no support ,nothing,and yes i was cross and angrey lots of time,only after diagnosis when adult did it all make sense,so so wish we had known,
Friday at 5:37pm · Like · 1 person
Jenny Rooney I'm the same struggled for years, my son is 18 now, and still no definative proof, for years have thought it, but got no help, only when things have gone too far.

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