Discipline and Autism.

Discipline and Autism.

It has been a hard week.
Not with Autism, but with judgements.
Judgements and comments.

I received a message, this was part of it.
“….seeing *****’s behaviour every morning and seeing no discipline”
A message that tore another layer of my breaking heart.

It isn’t the first time someone has said this, and I am pretty sure it won’t be the last time, but every single time it hurts the same.

Discipline.
Something we all have to teach our children.
Something that, as parents, we are responsible for.
We need to teach our children which behaviours are acceptable, and which are not.
It is a simple concept….
….unless you have a child with a neurological disability.
A child who does things they cannot avoid.
A child whose behaviours arise from sensory input.
A child who doesn’t recognise consequences.
Children with Autism are unable to understand the consequences of their actions, so punishment is likely to make behaviour worse. In turn this causes more distress for both parent and child, and the behaviour to escalate.

Children with Autism do need discipline.
Like everyone else they need to learn right from wrong.
We discipline our children differently.
We use a strict structure and planning.
We teach.

Children with Autism are different.
Traditional discipline will not work for a child with Autism.
Their needs differ dramatically from neurotypical children.
I find discipline the biggest, and hardest, challenge of all….
…along with peoples opinions.

I can see how people assume I don’t discipline my child.
Children with Autism have difficulty understanding the unwritten social rules of society.
It is easy to see how other people might misread their actions and take the wrong impression of the person.

Rather than disciplining after an event, it becomes imperitive to make sure you prepare for and prevent the behaviour happening.
Things such as visual timetables to prepare for an outing, the use of ear defenders or headphones in loud and/or busy places.
It doesn’t always work however, everything is trial and error.

That said, consistency is key.
Like everything Autism related.
It is extremely hard not to blame yourself for your child’s behaviour.
I beat myself up daily….
But….
Whilst it may often seem like your child’s behaviour is directed at you, it is not your fault.
Whilst the judgements and comments are aimed at you, it is not your fault.
Their behaviour is not the result of bad parenting!
Neither is it the result of no discipline.

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