How to Discipline a Child With Special Needs

How to Discipline a Child With Special Needs

Confidence comes from Discipline and Training - Robert Kiyosaki

Discipline will help a special needs child to face and solve his/her own problems whereas punishments in any case just make them suffer for having troubles. And you want to raise your child as a strong independent individual, not a scared one. Right! So here we are with some Tips & Tricks, to help you Discipline a Child with Special Needs.

1. Know Your Child

Behaviors may appear suddenly. But the behavior patterns! They develop over time. Notice their acts, their reactions, their gestures towards activities, different people, and things. Try to understand the pattern. It will be helpful for you to make the required disciplinary rules if you know your child’s troublesome and comfort zones very precisely.

2. Don’t Rush.

A special needs child usually takes longer to learn everything. They may not learn things inherently from watching others. They have to be directly taught. They often do not have the skills to self-evaluate and self-correct, they have to be taught. So in those stressful moments, allow this to come to your mind–that you are doing this for the long term. And it may take a long time for your child to learn this.

3. Identify and document your child’s complete skills set.

You might need professional help for this, as your child will need a complete functional assessment. It would be cruel to expect or force your child to do something which is functionally impossible for him to do. If the required skill is beyond your child’s skill set, you teach the skill, do not punish them for not having it. For professional help, you can visit

4. Everyone who handles the child must be on the same page with all the information.

For consistency, we must agree on what he is going to be held accountable for. Every behaviorist will tell you, you must be consistent. Remember, your child may not be able to apply all skills across all environments, so that must be noted. If your child has some skill discrepancies, then you should develop a plan so that they emerge in all environments. Of course, our end goal is desirable behaviors across all environments!

5. Find what motivates your child.

You must reinforce good behavior with desired items and praise. Encourage your child with some kind of light reward system.

6. Don’t Overthink It!

Start small and start simple. Don’t make it into something so complex, that it becomes a task to implement. Simple rewards, simple scolding. Remember that desired or preferred activity can not always be equally healthy.

7. Remember that not everything they do is related to their Special Needs.

We forget this sometimes. Not every undesirable behavior that our kids do stems from their disability. Sometimes it is age-appropriate but undesirable behavior. Skills have to be learned by all kids, not just those with special needs. You must go for expert guidance about what you have to extract out if a child takes longer to master a certain skill, and what supports they will need in mastery.

8. Seek a behaviorist.

If you are unable to come up with a consistent, effective plan, get proper help. Mom’s Belief is a one-stop center for all your child-related needs.

There are a lot of great books out there. Positive parenting, no yelling parenting, optimistic parenting, and many of the Ross Greene books. Take time to understand your child to know how to treat children with special needs. It’s important to know what is going on inside your child’s head because it often is very different. Be a good role model to your kids and talk about your own mistakes, even if they do not learn without direct teaching. Make them feel as normal as you can.