8. Opt for natural and logical consequences wherever possible. Natural consequences occur inevitably as a result of a child’s behaviors or actions (if your child refuses to eat, she’ll feel hungry) whereas logical consequences require thought and involvement from someone else, such as a parent, teacher, or caregiver, and are designed to help children replace poor behaviors with more appropriate choices (if your child refuses to pick up her toys after being asked, the toys are taken away for a certain period of time). While both kinds of consequences are effective, natural consequences don’t always occur as a result of poor behaviors, making logical consequences an effective strategy to understand and implement when it comes to autism and discipline. Of course, coming up with consequences in the heat of the moment can be challenging, but if you take the time now to anticipate your child’s behaviors and brainstorm natural and logical consequences, you will be much better equipped when disaster strikes!
Figuring out how to discipline an autistic child isn’t easy. It takes time, patience, creativity, and a lot of trial and error on the part of parents, caregivers, therapists, and teachers, but once you’re able to determine if the things you are seeing are a result of the autism or just bad behavior, you can figure out ways to anticipate, plan ahead, and correct poor behaviors when they occur.
A wise person once said:
‘My child isn’t GIVING me a hard time.
My child is HAVING a hard time.’
I hope you’ll keep those words close to your heart the next time your child is acting out, and that you take the time to dive deeper and figure out of it’s the autism or just bad behavior.