Hi everyone. I am mother to 5-year-old autistic boy, shawn.
I have a question to all. Do you spank your child w/ autism when he/she acts up? I useually make him look at me and say "NO" to him. My husband spanks on the behind everytime Shawn jumping up on the chair. He scares, but it does not seem work on him because he can not connect the pain to what he did.
I told my hasband that I don't think spanking is good idea to teach him and we should find another way, but he still thinks it's the best way to learn him what is bad just because he believes he will learn if we keep on doing it.
I really don't know how to do with this problem. Any idea?
I worked in a school for autistic children for five years, and ran a daycare for autistic kids for another four. I also have a 24-year-old autistic son of my own, and over the years, I've tried many behavioral interventions with varying degrees of success. All in all, I'm very happy with the young man he's become.
As for spanking, it either works or it doesn't. Few autistic children have a clear comprehension of cause and effect, so spanking rarely works. It's more likely that your child will begin to imitate your husband's behavior by slapping people's behinds, imitation being something our kids excel at. So, if the spanking has not been effective in eliminating unwanted behavior, I'd stop using it immediately before it creates more withdrawal and aggression.
By the way, the most effective way I found of changing behavior is to clearly explain what behavior was not wanted AND also explain what correct behavior it should be replaced with in the future. For example, "DON'T knock over the lamp. DO walk past it with your hands at your sides." Then, walk the child through the correct behavior (usually with a firm grip). This is often difficult, but it makes an impression. Our kids like what is familiar, so you have to get him to actually do a task correctly to make it a part of him.
Best of luck to you
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I am an adult with Asperger and my son also has Aspergers. From my experience, as a child being hit was like a stimulant for me. In a warped kind of way, I enjoyed the sensation of smacking and so I would push and push until I was hit. At times my Mother hit me until I bled because I could not stop screaming or the tantrum. The smacking did hurt afterward and I felt really hard done by, but it wasnt until I was older that I realized the hitting was a stimulant for me. To answer your question though....NO IT DOES NOT WORK.. In my personal experience a child with Autism or Aspergers cannot identify with a smack. Im trying to explain this as best as I can so please bare with me. As a child I would scream, and swear and abuse for hours. In my head I could hear myself saying "stop this, your making things worse". But on the outside it was physically impossible to stop. As an adult I still punch my own legs when frustrated and this is often to the state of bruising.
For my son aged 7, it is like watching a re-run of myself. He pushes and pushes until I hit breaking point. I try very hard not to smack and very rarely do unless he hits me or bites etc. We are testing a new idea of giving him a timer like an alarm or kitchen timer, anything that you can set for 5 minutes. YThis gives him a visual and something to concentrate on. We set the alarm for between 2 and 5 minutes and tell him that he must be quiet until it goes off. He can play quietly for 5 minutes, or sit with a book..anything that is quiet. Once the alarm has gone off we can then discuss appropriate behaviour, or try to get him to explain what is causing the tantrum. So far this is working.
Making verbal threats, and physical are just not a great way to deal with our children. They need visual cues. I hope this has been of some help to you...Oh and my Husband and I have the same issues with discipline and we end up fighting over his smacking. This ends up with our son telling us we are annoying him...Funny huh.
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My dh and I have had a few rounds about this too. He thought I was being too soft on my son. I told him that spanking didn't work, he didn't belive me... he said that if Daddy did it, he would get it... (THIS WAS BEFORE WE KNEW HE WAS AUTISTIC)
Of couse it didn't work. My marriage almost fell apart because of it. He went to spank my son and I told him to get his hands off of him. He freaked, packed a bag and left. This was right before his 4 yr check up, (when we found the problem) I knew that something wasn't right with him.
I have tried everything, time outs, sit on the couch, goto your room, spanking, nothing worked. I tried counting to 3 he would count along with me, it didn't sink in that I wanted him to stop in 3 seconds, he thought it was a game.
Now threw therapy, he understands the counting to 3 thing and usually jumps up and does it before we hit 3. My dh hasn't layed a hand on him since, and that is good.
I don't mean to sound like my dh beat him, he didn't. A few smacks on the bum now and then, I still do this, it doesn't hurt, just gets his attention... but the time of the fight he tried to put him over his knee, that I would not stand for.
It was the way my dh was raised... very strict and it is hard to see otherwise. I believe that my dh has alot of Autistic tendencies as does his father... but the DO NOT have autism. But the do see things in black and white. you do what I say, when I say it. I'm the father, your the child, you listen, no if ands or buts about it...
Knowing now my son has Autism, we get along so much better, he isn't saying I'm too soft, not making me feel like a bad mom... thou he didn't try to do this... I felt like everyone was thinking this. Why does you child whine all of the time, flip out, you need to beat him, he needs disipline... like I let them run rampad all over the place...
HELLO IT DIDN'T WORK!!
Ok sorry for my little vent and story... I try not to spank because I don't want him to think that it is ok... ya dig... now he copies everything we do and say. I have to watch what is on tv and the radio, where before it didn't matter.
I agree with the imitation factor. I wouldn't recommend hitting your autistic child (or even your typical one, for that matter, but that's another topic for another board) unless you don't mind the fact that he will one day hit you and others when he is displeased with someone's behavior.
I will admit that I've spanked my autistic son lightly on the bum once out of pure frustration (he touches EVERYTHING no matter what I say), and all it did was hurt his feelings greatly. He cried and cried and kept asking me for a hug. It broke my heart, and I'll never do it again. Obviously, the only thing he got out of it was (a) mommy is mean, and (b) it's quite acceptable to hit people.
Karen; ds Drew Tyler 5/4/00, PDD; and ds Jason Parker 2/1/02, NT
Never did understand hitting any child. Why hit anyone ? As a general rule if you wouldn't hit your neighbor or boss why hit your child? On the other hand if you would hit your neighbor or boss thats a different kind of problem.
Last edited by off kilter; 12-29-2004 at 06:09 PM.
Oh Goodness. This is the one issue my husband and I fight about repeatedly. I do not believe in hitting my two autistic sons as punishment. I prefer time outs. My husband on the other hand believes we should raise our children as 'typical children' and the way that he himself was raised which was spanking when inappropriate behavior is displayed. We have tried to communicate about it and come to an agreement but it's been difficult. We both feel we are right.
You know what...I really dont think spankings work. I think the wrong message is being sent when spanking a child. When I was a kid my dad spanked me, and I think it makes children nervous, it made me fear my father and not want to be close to him. I remember never feeling compfortable with him, maybe because I was scared of him. My son never responded much to spanking when he was smaller before we knew how to parent. My sons teacher helped us by using positive reinforcers. Anything from spare change,
goodies to toys.If my son doesnt pick up his toys...we pack them up and they get put away for along time where he cant find them. If he takes off out of the house, without asking or telling someone, he has to stay in. If he takes off on his bike, he gets it locked up in the shed for a week or so.
(he doesnt hit anymore, thank god) but he does still do things, like jump on furniture or have a temper tantrum and might break his toys or certain things. I have stood him in the corner(he hates this) I go by the rule of age...7yrs...so seven minutes. If he doesnt comply...he gets more minutes added on, even if I have to stand behind him. If he wants to play outside, he has to dress himself(either I pick out his clothes or approve what hes wearing) he has to put on his own clothes and shoes.Someone told me not to respond to negative behavior from him...but if i do that, he will throw a more horrible temper tantrum until I pay him some kind of attention. So in those situations, I gotta try figure out whats wrong with him. Sometimes he will explain himself to me given the chance.or we'll figure it out together
Other times, he seems to be overly tired(at night) or he may have gotten
into some kind of sugar, soda or carbs earlier, and that can cause him to scream or have meltdowns.(breaking things)But he doesnt hit anymore...and I think its because he doesnt get hit.Everybody has to do what works for them tho....you'll learn. My husband usually goes along with what i do, but he smacked my sons hand earlier and it made me mad. "Are u crazy!" flew out of my mouth and well...thats another issue alltogether. We gotta be on the same side, because they'll pick up on that too and it could affect your relationship with your spouse. Maybe talk about it ahead of time and think of ways to punish that you both agree on. Its like everything else, you see what works and use it.
Thanks for all replies.
It seems like everybody have same issue.
We still fight about this over and over again. My hasband is so stuborn to understand and he thinks I am too. Therefore, it was very difficult to find the way to punish we both agree on,but I think those tips will help me a lot. Again, thank you all.