#Autism and Dicipline: The Moving Target -

#Autism and Dicipline: The Moving Target

Dicipline in the Lost and Tired household is extremely important.  Many kids on the autism spectrum benefit from strict routine,  predictably,  structure,  boundaries and dicipline.

Gavin is our oldest and most complex child.  There are so many pieces to him that it’s extremely difficult to know what to do or how to dicipline him. 

The problem is that nothing works more than a few times. 

We have tried so many different things and while many of them worked,  once or twice,  they failed the test of time. The only thing that we have ever had success with is oatmeal.  Basically,  we swap out oatmeal for whatever meal he’s supposed to have. 

This was suggested by MST.  And at home behavioral modification professional.

We aren’t withholding food from him.  We are simply eliminating his abity to choose what he has at that meal. This is the only thing to ever really affect him. 

However,  I believe that oatmeal is losing its effectiveness,  at least in its current form. 

As of right now,  if Gavin is given oatmeal for a substitution on his dinner menu,  he still gets everything else. For example,  if we had pizza,  root beer and chips for dinner,  Gavin would have oatmeal,  root beer and chips instead.

We took this approach because it used to be enough and we were never withholding food from him. 

However,  anymore,  Gavin makes it a point to dance around,  telling us how much it doesn’t bother him to have to establish oatmeal because he still gets everything else. When I heard this tonight,  you don’t know how badly I wanted to just beat my head into the wall. 

It’s like he’s flaunting it in our face that ot doesn’t bother him anymore.  I used look at it as a positive thing,  like he’s learning to accept responsibility for his actions but I think that was wishful thinking.

Now we are having to reexamine our approach in order to tweak it or even scrap it all together.

The problem is that Gavin simple doesn’t care when more traditional dicipline approaches are used.  We have to be creative without being cruel and that can be a very fine line.  However,  whether it’s oatmeal,  or some other consequence,  it’s nothing compared to what will happen to him when he’s older and presenting with the same behaviors. I don’t want him to go to jail or get arrested. 

That’s why we try so hard to teach him right from wrong and that actions have consequences.

At times,  in fact,  most of the time,  it feels like a losing battle because Gavin just doesn’t get it. Perhaps,  he just doesn’t care.  I want to believe that if we just continue to work with him that one day it will just click.

While I remain cautiously optimistic,  the reality is that if we haven’t made any progress by now,  we may never make any progress.  Gavin is hardwired very differently than most other people,  and while that’s not always a bad thing,  in this case,  I fear it is.

**Thanks for reading**

       -Lost and Tired

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This was posted via WordPress for Android, courtesy of Samsung’s Galaxy S III. Please forgive any typos. I do know how to spell but auto-correct is working against me.

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Jennifer Fury

Cassie, you took the words right out of my mouth! I feel like our family often times thinks my son with Asperger's is just not being disciplined enough, that he's a brat. And with our two year old, who is pretty much nonverbal, we have pretty much lost the perspective to know when he is just "being two" and when he is having autism related issues, like hyperstim, etc. sooooo tough!! As for Gavin, Rob, I can't imagine what you go through on a daily basis, and how you manage to keep your cool. I am so scared of my boys getting bigger….I am afraid of how we will handle it for sure.


Since Gavin loves his Legos, why not take portions of them away, depending on the severity of what he is being disciplined for, and return them when he has improved or truly apologized for what he has done or said? Just a thought. I used to take away my son's current fav toy as needed and he began to understand that if he wanted them he must behave appropriately.


Been there and done that. Gavin can spend hours in his room, lost in his own imagination. It works at first but not for long.

That was a good suggestion though. 🙂

Chloe R.

Try the positive reward system, make a choice board with him, let him choose what he wants to work for, let it change, velcro, get it laminated and have pictures he can put from his choice board onto the I am working for board… start very short amount of time, friendly, kind nice words and safe hands, for 20 seconds, give a token, etc.
My recent post Dreams really do come true! Different… Not Less, We Need Acceptance, not just awareness!

Cassie Zupke

Hang in there! Discipline with our kids is a tough issue. I run a non-profit for ASRD and am a parent. One of our ongoing discussions is "autism or brat?" When is a behavior due to autism and when is it normal kid-stuff — a kid getting away with what they can. And even when we figure out whether it's autism or brat, finding a way to stop the behavior isn't always easy. Sorry I don't have any answers. I just wanted to let you know that you are definately not alone!

— Cassie
My recent post Don’t Dose Your Kid With Bleach

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