How To Discipline A Child With Autism

Having a child with special needs can be challenging because you need to be mindful of a lot of things. First of all, you will always have second thoughts on what to do with your child because you know that you have a peculiar situation. Because of this, there is a high tendency that you will feel a lot of stress and anxiety. Whenever you begin to notice that your current situation is making you a different person that you no longer recognize, be sure that you get in touch with an expert therapist.

Going back to rearing your child, we also understand that you are experiencing difficulty in how to discipline him. Of course, you want your child with an autism spectrum disorder to know the difference between right and wrong. For this reason, you want him to be disciplined at all times. The problem now is how you can make it happen if you are unsure with the situation? What are the right things that are allowed and those that are prohibited? Up to what extent can you become tough to your kid? These are some of the questions that we aim to answer in our article.

“Kids with trauma (and the more trauma, the more true this is) are very vulnerable when they are disciplined, so you want to discipline very carefully. Try to be as gentle as you can while still holding reasonable and safe guidelines.” Cynthia Ridgway, MA, LMHC, NCC, DCC said. Make sure that you read the entire post so that you can get the complete list of tips and tricks that will guide you in leading your child to the right path. Remember that it is still highly possible to discipline your kid well even though he has a medical condition. What is essential is that you have set your mind to make it happen. As long as you believe that it is a possibility and that you trust yourself, everything is going to be okay. Here are some of the strategies to remember when it comes to disciplining your beloved autistic child: 

Be Familiarize With His Condition

The basic and initial step that you must complete as soon as possible is to learn everything you must know about your son’s medical condition. Do not be ashamed to ask several questions to his doctor or physician so that you will be informed. Keep in mind that there are signs and symptoms for autism spectrum disorder that you need to become a master of. Learn what triggers your child’s tantrums so that it will be easier on your part to control it. Aside from this, you can also try reading online journals or publications created by top psychologists and therapists who have dedicated their lives in the study of autism.

Focus On Rewards And Consequences

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., LMFT used to say, “Rather than focusing on weaknesses, find ways to assist your child in developing to his or her full potential. When encouraged, children will acquire talents to compensate for any deficiencies.” Train your child to act the way you want them to be by incorporating rewards and consequences in your day-to-day interaction. Be vocal in recognizing the good deeds that they have done for the given day. Aside from this, be sure that you give them some rewards for it so that they will be motivated to continue improving their attitude. The more they receive prizes, the more they can associate it with good behavior. On the other hand, if your child commits wrongdoing, do not hesitate to give a consequence for it. Take note that you need to find the balance between providing rewards and consequences to ensure that your child will not grow up as a spoiled brat. Teach him all the best life lessons while he is still young and continue to remind him about it.

Establish A Clear Routine

Children with autism spectrum disorder find it difficult to follow instructions and remember things. One of the downsides of this condition is that your child can have a poor memory. As such, you cannot expect him to remember what he did in the past or the words that you tell him. Because of this, you must become more patient and understanding in establishing a clear routine that he can follow. All you have to do is to create a schedule for the day and make it consistent so that he can make it part of his system. The key to succeeding in this aspect is to keep on repeating the process until he masters it. You can also use charts that can guide your kid on what he needs to do for a given time. “I think the parents who do best are the ones who can celebrate each achievement and developmental gain as it occurs, and who aren’t focused on an ultimate outcome of where the child needs to end up. These parents practice being ‘in the moment’ versus measuring progress against some ideal outcome.” That is according to Amy Keefer PhD, a clinical psychologist at Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Autism and Related Disorders.


Make sure to recognize all your efforts in raising a child with autism. Remember that you deserve nothing but the best in this world. You are an amazing person who is ready to take on the challenge of raising a kid with special needs. All your efforts will be worth it in the end.