Asperger's syndrome behavior in a child can often be challenging. You've tried everything to discipline your Asperger's child. What do you do now?
1. Make positive reinforcement the rule of the land.
It is important to understand that kids with Asperger's syndrome will not always understand when they have done something wrong, and they will often not connect that incident to any punishment that occurs later.
This makes them more upset and makes their behavior worse. Imagine getting your favorite toys or favorite activities taken away without having any idea why. This is why positive reinforcement usually works much better.
When you see your child talking to their brother or sister calmly, or sharing their toys, say in a calm, even voice, "Kevin, you are doing such a good job sharing your toys." If you see him being calm in other situations, verbally reward him. Praise can be a powerful motivator, and this way you are reinforcing the behaviors that you want to see.
2. Use a point system of some kind to reward good behavior
Many parents have used a point or sticker system to motivate good behavior.
Write out a list of positive behaviors you'd like to see in your child. Include household chores, behavioral expectations, and things like school work and being nice to your siblings. When your child does these things, they get a pre-determined amount of points or stickers.
Your child may not be able to understand why he should do these things at this point in his life, but if you motivate him with something he wants, he will learn eventually and do it anyway in the meantime. Points can be redeemed for prizes that have meaning to your child.
3. Find the trigger
It is important to remember that most challenging behaviors for kids with Asperger's have a specific trigger to them. You should try to find the trigger and modify the situation that caused the behavior. A behavior diary that records what happened just before an outburst can be helpful.
4. Is any punishment appropriate?
The most important thing to do in the event of a tantrum or meltdown is to remove your child from the situation and give him a chance to calm down. Remove him to a room that is quiet and distraction free. Do not try to bargain or reason with your child when he is in this state; it will only make him more hysterical. Wait until he is calm to do it.
Some parents will use the removal of favored activities or possessions for punishment, but as a general rule this should be done as little as possible and only when absolutely necessary.
A much better solution is to take away points on your point system or to remind the child of how many points they could be getting if they (insert desired behavior here).
By using some of these tips, you should see a much happier and better behaved child. And once we understand how a child with Asperger's thinks, and understand what motivates them, we can devise successful methods and training to help them cope with an ever-changing world. Many treatments allow those with Asperger's to succeed and thrive. Hopefully the right approach can make life a little easier especially for those with Asperger's and the people who love them. There are many other tips and suggestions that can help your loved one live a fulfilling and happy life. A great site to find information to help both children and adults with Asperger's syndrome is the web site www.AspergersSociety.org. There you will be able to sign up for the FREE Asperger's Syndrome Newsletter as well as get additional information to help your loved one be happy and succeed in life.
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