Disciplining A Child With Asperger’s Syndrome

Disciplining A Child With Asperger’s Syndrome

Disciplining a child with Asperger’s Syndrome can be quite a challenge for a parent. The fact of the matter is that the minds of children with Asperger’s Syndrome work differently than the minds of other children. They have different needs, different wants, and very different ways of communicating. In addition, a child with Asperger’s Syndrome can have severe reactions to things like external stimuli, such as loud noises or strange textures.

A child with Asperger’s Syndrome, for example, may not like to wear clothes that are made of a certain type of fabric. The child will squirm and squeal if you try to force the child to wear that fabric. While this behavior in another child might indicate defiance, in the child with Asperger’s Syndrome it isn’t as much defiance as it is frustration, in that the child is having a hard time tolerating the feel of the specific item of clothing. In this example, you might send the defiant child to time out until they agree to wear the clothing. For the Asperger’s Syndrome child, however, you need to take a different approach to discipline. You need to recognize that the best way through the problem is to remove the stimulus that is causing the negative reaction. Simply replace the item of clothing will often do the trick.

One key element to disciplining a child with Asperger’s Syndrome is to think about how you are communicating. If the child with Asperger’s Syndrome, for example, is hitting other children, you will not be as effective saying “Don’t hit other children” or “it hurts when you hit other children” than you would be if you approached it a different way. As children with Asperger’s Syndrome tend to think more visually, you can say something like “You were sitting here, a while ago, playing nice with your friend. Then, when you started to hit your friend, it hurt her a lot! She cried, because she didn’t like the way that it felt. We must play nice with our friends, just like you were doing at first.”

Disciplining your child with Asperger’s Syndrome will be a challenge, but with patience and consistency you should be able to figure out what is working with your child and what is not working.


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