Disciplining children is a daunting task for most parents. And when children have special needs, the stakes go higher. While there are some basic principles that apply to handling behavior problems in all children, kids with special needs require a specialized approach. Here is how to discipline special-needs children:

Give choices when possible
There are instances when a child will be resisting doing something important such as getting ready for bed. In such circumstances, the parent can bring tensions down by offering several choices. You are likely to find that a resisting child will calm down when they are given choices about which toy to take to bed or which pajamas to wear. Unknown to most parents, giving choices handsome power back to the kid. And it allows the parent to take a firm stand on the underlying disciplinary issue.

Timeout can be an effective approach for disciplining a child with special needs. When a child starts to act out, take him or her to a safe place where there is little or no stimuli. Most of the time, a change of environment will assist the child to refocus and reflect. In addition, the parent must communicate clearly why the child has been given time out. After the lapse of the timeout period, parents should continue to praise positive behavior.

To discipline special-needs children, you need to master the art of empathy since it plays a key role in disciplining a child with special needs. It helps the child to feel understood and encourage them to acknowledge their feelings. As a parent, figuring out the message behind the child’s behavior may be time-consuming, however, once you understand what the child is seeking to communicate, it becomes much easier to deal with their behavior. This is critical since a child may ignore instructions issued by the parent even when it is not intentional especially if the kid has auditory or visual problems.

Assist child to build a sense of responsibility
When people encounter children with special needs, there is a natural tendency to want to step in and do things for them. Unfortunately, this does not always augur well for them since they may never learn to be responsible. Just because the child has special needs does not mean they are fragile or inferior. Just like you expect normal children to behave accordingly, let the child know what is expected of them.

As a parent with a special needs child, the principle of “teach them how to fish rather than give them a fish” applies twice. Since you do not want to raise a dependent child, the best you can do is to help the child be responsible. This not only gives the child a sense of value, it also raises their self-esteem.

Ultimately, learning how to discipline special-needs children is not easy, however, child’s disability should never be an excuse for indiscipline. Special needs children just like other kids must be responsible for their actions. In spite of their limitations, they are capable individuals. All you need is to make some adjustments to accommodate their needs.

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