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On the last track, we discussed How to Build Basic Social Skills. This will include being specific, observing social signals, using pictures, teaching emotional vocabulary and teaching how to behave differently with different people.
On this track, we will discuss effective parenting regarding Discipline Techniques to Avoid. This will include yelling, overuse of time-out, subtle consequences and sulking. What discipline techniques do you counsel your clients to avoid?
Rayna stated, "We’ve both come to ask about discipline techniques. Adam is often at my parents’ house, and so we thought it would be helpful to come here together so we could both give Adam consistent discipline when necessary." Eli asked, "Children with Asperger Syndrome aren’t exempt from discipline altogether, are they?" I stated, "No at all. Good discipline educates. It will help Adam learn what to do differently next time, so he can be praised for better behavior instead of reprimanded for inappropriate behavior. Discipline is just as appropriate for a child with Asperger Syndrome as it is for a typical child."
Eli stated, "Good. I was worried you were going to tell me that we should let him run wild!" Rayna asked, "Are there any discipline procedures that should be avoided?"
4 Discipline Techniques to Avoid
Eli stated, "Are you saying that a good spanking isn’t in order from time to time?" I stated, "Those are decisions you and Rayna can make. All I’m saying is that children with Asperger Syndrome have a disability related to understanding the social signals of other people, and physical punishment is often unhelpful in communicating desired messages for these children."
Rayna stated, "But what about personal time-out? Everybody needs his or her space from time to time…are you suggesting that time-out can be overused?" I stated, "Not at all. Voluntary time-out can be very useful for a child who is becoming stressed. When I advised against over-using time-out, I was referring mostly to time-out as a consequence." Would you agree with this advice?
I stated, "As I mentioned before, it’s often helpful to be clear and concise, because children with Asperger Syndrome often have difficulty following long chains of cause and effect. Also, be consistent. If Adam is allowed to bring food into the family room, but not the living room, that rule will probably be most effective when enforced consistently. That means you’ll have to be vigilant, although Adam may well take on the role of enforcer for his siblings later." Eli asked, "Is there anything else you’d advise?"
I continued to stated, "One last thing. Use consequences. Children with Asperger Syndrome may have a more difficult time learning from consequences alone, but they are often capable of seeing the link between the violation of a rule and the consequence for the violation. If Adam knows the rule against eating in the living room, and the consequence is having to vacuum the living room rug, then the consequence can be imposed reliably when the rule is violated."
- Powers, M. D., Psy.D., & Poland, J. (2002). Asperger Syndrome and Your Child: A Parent’s Guide. New York: HarperCollins.
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