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  • Help with autism discipline

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    Old 01-15-2015, 05:43 PM   #1
    spluver0005's Avatar
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    Location: Michigan
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    Help with autism discipline

    So I teach martial arts to little kids and currently, Iíve got a boy in my class who has autism. Heís in kindergarten, so Iím assuming heís five, going on six. Heís relatively high functioning and heís a little social butterfly, but most often he doesnít understand when itís appropriate to talk and when itís not. Heís been training for a little under six months and when he started he had a lot of issues with focusing and doing what he was told, but over the months I made some pretty good progress with him. Recently though, like within the past two or three weeks, heís gone way backward. (There hasnít been any major changes in class or in how I teach or discipline.) The biggest things Iím having problems with is him talking when heís not suppose to and not doing what heís told, especially when it comes to partner work. One big component of the class I teach is jiu jitsu, so there is a lot of partner work involved. Heís always required more attention, but lately the only way to get him to do anything is to sit there with him the entire time and a lot of times physically move his body for him, or else he wonít do it. And the problem is, I canít sit there with him because some days I have upwards of twelve kids in my class and they all need my attention. (We do have another person who helps teach, but we still canít constantly sit with one person.) His focus when working with a partner has gotten so bad that I donít want to put him with the other kids because the other kids are getting nothing out of class because he doesnít do what he needs to do and this isnít fair to them. Iím just at a complete loss of what to do. Iím not sure how to get him back to where he was and how to handle the situation in general, even with the other kids. Any advice would be great. Thank you!

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    Old 01-23-2015, 05:47 PM   #2
    aussiemom1's Avatar
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    Re: Help with autism discipline

    I have some thoughts that I hope will be helpful. I work with kids with autism and also have a family member with autism.

    First, think VISUALS. People with autism are more likely to take in information visually than through their ears. For the talking issue, I would make a big sign. Get a posterboard and make a line down the middle. On the left, write "OK to talk". On the right, write, "NOT OK to talk". If you can draw at all, draw a person talking on the left, and on the right draw the same person talking but with a line or an X through it. Cut an arrow out of construction paper (doesn't need to be fancy), and put a bit of tape on the back of it. During class, stick the arrow to the appropriate side. IF it is a time the kids can talk, put the arrow on that side and announce that it is OK to talk. When it it time to be quiet, put the arrow on that side, and announce, with a minimum of words, that it is not ok to talk. It would be better to say "NOW NO TALKING" than it would be to say, "So, kids, now we are going to be a little quieter because we are going to try to focus and I think we can all have a great session..." Keep all instructions brief.

    Writing and posting other rules, (nor more than 5) with pictures if you can, might also be helpful.

    Another thing that is helpful for people with autism is knowing exactly what to expect. If you can have a written task list, telling what you all are doing that day during the session, it might help this student.

    Being paired with another student, the proximity and need to socially interact, might just be too challenging for this kiddo right now. It is such a hard thing for kids with autism. Is there any way that can be put off for a bit or that his pair work might be for less time?

    You wrote that things have gotten worse in the past 2-3 weeks, and you are writing in mid-January. The kids I work with do horribly -- I mean really just fall to pieces -- around the holidays and it takes a while for them to get back on track. They love routine and sameness, and nothing is routine at the holidays. At school there are parties and special crafts and concerts and then there's winter break, and things at home are all revved up. Even if they enjoy some of the festivities, it throws them off kilter. So, maybe some of the difficulties you've seen are related to time of year and will get better.

    Chances are, this child has a teacher and therapists who can offer input. Ask the parents if they can ask the teacher or therapists to write down some ideas or suggestions for you.

    I hope any of this helped and bless you for trying to find a way to fit this little guy into your class!

    Take care!

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    Old 05-23-2015, 07:15 PM   #3
    Rjc0704's Avatar
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    Re: Help with autism discipline

    All awsome advice! It all makes such good sense the way tou explained it. Any advice for discipline for a 3.5 yr old? I have boy girls twins. He his relively high functioning other than speech, social, physical delays. He has moments when he just walks up and hits her or pulls or hair for no known reason. He does not seem to connect the consequences for his actions. He doesnt seem to understand timeouts, taking things away or ignoring him. She doesnt understand why he hurts her and i dont know what to do to help her feel safe and secure. He only exhibits this behavior on her so far. No problem with kids in his esrly educstion program or daycare. Im just trying to think of visuals that may help with this

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