Children with Asperger’s often feel overwhelmed, overstimulated or frustrated with a variety of situations, from social interaction to following rules at school and at home. Their first reaction might be to act out or behave inappropriately, and your natural reaction as a parent is to give consequences for poor behavior. According to Bright Tots, make the most of consequences that also teach alternative appropriate behaviors to your child with Asperger’s.
Calm your child before giving any consequences, suggests Autism Support Network. If your child is in the middle of a fit, your lessons will go in one ear and out the other. Talk your child through a calming process by breathing with him or instructing him to count to ten. You might want to provide a light touch or hug to give your child a sense of security.
Talk to your child about his behavior in a concrete manner, as suggested by Bright Tots. For example, say, “I see you got upset because you wanted the blue cup, not the orange one.” When your child agrees, ask him what his reaction was to getting the “wrong cup” -- instruct him that next time, instead of throwing the cup across the room, he needs to ask for the blue cup. This process gives your child an alternative to the inappropriate behavior that might come as second nature to him.
Set clear limits and follow through with consequences, according to Asperger's Association of New England. When you notice your child acting inappropriately, first give a warning -- say, “If you don’t stop hitting your sister, you get a time out!” If your child continues with poor behavior, give the time out you warned about. This process teaches cause and effect to your child.
Make your child engage in tangible activities to say “sorry.” According to Autism Support Network, just saying “sorry” doesn’t mean much to a child with Asperger’s. If your child has hit his sister, for example, he must clean up his sister’s room, share a toy or make an apology card. Similar consequences, such as tidying up a room, helping make dinner or washing dishes, are often more helpful than time outs for children with Asperger's.
- Outline rules and expectations in a clear manner, as kids with Asperger’s thrive on structure and routines, according to Autism Support Network. Use simple language and short sentences, and consider using visual representations of rules to solidify your child’s understanding.
- Use rewards to improve behavior -- for instance a sticker chart, or even a simple hug from Mom.
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