SPECIAL NEEDS DISCIPLINE
AN ACT OF LOVE
Special needs children require special needs discipline!
Even more than the average child, the special needs child requires appropriate discipline.
All parents feel frustrated when confronted with disciplining their child, but when your child has special needs you truly learn the meaning of frustration
when it comes to discipline.
Added to this, you also have to deal with the daily ups and downs of parenting,
and coping with frustration in a positive way can sometimes be very difficult.
But without discipline, your child's world is more frightening, more chaotic and whole lot more challenging.
Appropriate discipline is an act of love.
The big question is, How do we discipline a child with special needs?
- Know your child's motivators
What does your child like to do the most? What are his favourite books, TV games, movies? What are his interests?
These things are all privileges that your child will earn with appropriate behaviour, and will lose with inappropriate behaviour.
- Make simple rules
Have a family meeting and together with your child, create a set of "family rules, which applies to everyone. This way your child won't feel singled out, as the
rules apply to everyone.
Keep the rules simple and in relation to your child's level of understanding.
For example, if your child yells and screams, even when he is inside, simplify the rule to having an "Indoor voice. Explain to him that a loud, shouting
voice is appropriate for outdoor play, but when he is inside the house a quiet voice is what's needed.
Don't overwhelm your child with too many rules at first. Find five rules that cover the most problem behaviours, and build from there.
- Positive reinforcement for good behaviour
This is a step in special needs discipline that is often overlooked, but can be the most effective.
If your child does something good, like packing away their toys, without you initiating it, they should be praised.
"Thank you for packing your toys away all by yourself, that makes me so happy! Good job!"
All children thrive on positive reinforcement and this will help them to develop a healthy
Special needs children often do very well with behaviour charts.
- The one rule reminder
If your child misbehaves, give them one warning, but no more than that.
Remind them what the rule is, "Do you remember what the rule is about shouting in the house?"
If your child ignores the warning, you need to follow through, a very important step in special needs discipline, bad behaviour results in negative reinforcement.
- Bad behaviour results in negative reinforcement
Some professionals may not agree but the good old "timeout" or "naughty spot", still works wonders, especially with special needs discipline.
Find a term that works for you, and find a spot in your house where your child can go to think about what he has done wrong.
He should not have access to any toys or the TV, so keep him isolated and away from the action in the house, but still close enough to keep an eye on him.
Once you have explained to your child why he is being punished, and for how long (Usually one minute for every year of his age), don't talk to him.
If he leaves the spot, yells or misbehaves put him back on the timeout spot and start the timer again.
Visual aids, like timers are important for children with special needs.
He must sit quietly for the allotted time, be firm.
Once the time is up, fetch your child, give him a hug and bring him back into the family situation.
- Be consistent
If you threaten without following through, your child will learn to disrespect and ignore you. You must follow through with negative reinforcement, quickly
and EVERY TIME a rule is broken.
In doing so, can child will soon learn how to predict consequences and will start making better
When consequences are inconsistent, changing and infrequent, don't expect anything other than chaos, and ineffective special needs discipline.
Don't assume your special needs child can't handle rules and consequences!
They need structure in their lives, and depend on you to provide it, but remeber, special needs discipline takes time and lots of patience.
WHAT IS PUNISHMENT?
I think we are all familiar with punishment.
Any time you take something away, as a result of inappropriate behaviour, this is punishment.
Punishment is a negative response to behaviour.
Although severe punishments can sometimes work better, when dealing with special needs discipline, we as parents must be careful that our punishment
is not too severe.
Be firm when you discipline your child, but don't let the punishment be so severe that it ends up not being effective.
Remember that by disciplining our special needs children, we are helping them become well behaved, well mannered, and functioning individuals.
We will instil a healthy self esteem level on our children without having them walk all over us.
Before disciplining your special needs child.
Before disciplining your child with special needs, make sure that you are in control of the situation. Special needs children have an uncanny ability
to push your buttons and it's easy to loose site of what you are trying to achieve...
How to prevent public meltdowns.
Public meltdowns and tantrums are common in special needs children, especially when you are taking them out of their comfort zone and placing them in a
When your child throws public tantrums.
You can ignore your childs public tantrums, and hopefully stop them from happening completely by using the right techniques.
To change inappropriate behaviour, however, take time, patience and a whole lot of determination and perseverance on your part...
Using the "Time-out discipline" technique.
The 'time-out discipline" technique can be very effective for your special needs child, as it gives them time to regain control if they are frustrated, angry
or over emotional. It also reaches them that there are consequences to misbehaviour...
Top time-out spots.
Time-out spots stop unwanted behaviour. So are you looking for a place to put your child where they are not going to enjoy being, and away from any fun
and all distractions?...
Give yourself a time-out
Give yourself time-out. Wether you have already lost your temper, or feel like you are about to, rather remove yourself
from the situation and get that stress-release time you need...
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