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How to Discipline a Special Needs Child (When He Doesn’t Understand)

Disciplining a child with special needs is more challenging than disciplining a typically developing child. That said, it is just as important,how to discipline a special needs child if not more so, to encourage appropriate behavior for your child. It is essential to hold special needs children to the same expectations as their typically developing peers as often as possible.
Discipline is not a punishment. It is a tool to be used to promote positive behaviors and decrease negative behaviors. It should be used as a means to encourage progress of the child across all aspects of their development. And while all children are different and demonstrate different behaviors as they grow, there are a few discipline techniques that are applicable for all special needs children.

Discipline Strategies for Special Needs Children:

1. Praise good behaviors, ignore bad behaviors (if possible). Cause and effect is one of the earliest concepts a child learns. If he learns that you give attention (even if it is to reprimand or physically stop him) when he reacts inappropriately, he will continue the poor behavior seeking the negative attention. Rather, it is beneficial to teach him that the good behaviors will result in the attention and praise he seeks. Read more

What to Do When All You Hear is “No” from your Toddler

It happens all too often.  We spend every minute teaching toddlers to talk and once they do, we can’t get them to stop! Around age one, first words will appear, just in time for toddlers to learn to express their opinions. The word “no” is often one of the first to be acquired and used by this age group.

If you are hearing “no” from your toddler more than you would like, keep this in mind.  First, as difficult as it may be to always hear “no” from someone so small, toddlers should be able to say no in acceptable ways. This is a critical step to learning independence and working collaboratively with others. Secondly, try to see things from your toddler’s perspective; assess WHY he is saying no. It could be he is tired, hungry or not feeling well.  Maybe he is just crabby (it happens to adults, right?). On the other hand, your toddler may be saying “no” because he is nervous or uncomfortable.  Or your toddler may be exerting independence and refusing simply because he can. To hear “no” from your toddler less frequently, try to address the situation first (i.e., give a snack, introduce the stranger, or allow time to adjust to new changes).   Read on for more ways to hear fewer “nos” from your little one. Read more