A method of discipline that works for one child doesn’t always work for another. But disciplining a child with an autism spectrum disorder is an even bigger challenge. Most traditional methods of discipline won’t work because the behavioral issues related to the disorder can make a child’s behavior worse. Whatever method you choose, you must be consistent in the way you discipline him.
Make clear the rule your child has broken. Because Asperger’s kids need to know the reason for a rule, they generally break rules they don’t understand. Often, an Asperger’s child must see how a rule affects her before she will follow it, according to the Autism Support Network website. Many times, your child might not understand what it is she has done wrong or why what she did was wrong.
Explain to your child his actions have consequences. Asperger’s kids can’t always understand the outcomes of their actions so you need to describe what it is he should do in language he will comprehend. Let him know why a particular behavior is unacceptable and how the consequence relates to that behavior. If he is distressed following the misbehavior, wait until he calms down to discuss the consequences.
Talk about the circumstances that brought on the inappropriate behavior. Kids with Asperger’s often lack the ability to see life from another person’s viewpoint. Circumstances that arise can be the result of miscommunication. Not understanding why other people do what they do can be confusing, points out the Autism Speaks website. Likewise, your child could offend other children who don’t understand how Asperger's makes her different.
Take your child through what happened step-by-step. For younger children, it might help to use social stories to explain the proper way to react in similar circumstances. Offer alternative behaviors your child can use to replace the inappropriate behavior. If your child has trouble processing information, you might have to instruct him several times on how to handle a similar circumstance before he learns how to respond in an appropriate way.
Look for the cause of your child’s misbehavior. Keep a daily log that details how often and under what circumstances the behavior occurs, suggests My Aspergers Child. It might be that she acts out whenever she finds herself in a setting that makes her feel awkward or anxious. By uncovering the reason for her behavior, you can take the necessary steps to keep it from happening again.