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How to discipline a special needs child? *a bit long* .Solange. 1 child; Montreal, 5566 posts
10th Feb '13

My son is 2, (3 in two months), and he has speech delay issues, as well as a very short attention span. He was recently officially diagosed by an Orthophonist and has started therapy. In therapy so far i've been more in the background because she is teaching me what to say and how to say it, as well as games that help with his specific delays etc but that's all we've covered for now.

Lately, i've been having some issues with his behavior. When he's doing something he isn't supposed to, (taking the bath cup, filling it with water and flooding the floor while he's taking a bath, trying to touch the oven tops when i'm cooking, opening the fridge and throwing everything on the floor etc... I do what I have always done, I grab his hands with mine, get on his level, make eye contact and firmly say, "Malik, don't do that, that's dangerous", or something along those lines, like a switch he will become so angry, he will immediately hit me in the face, push me, pull my hair, or headbutt me. When he does this, I immediately put him in his crib, and close the door so that he can't harm me or himself and I wait a bit until he calms down, then I go in and explain why I put him there, and I tell him to TALK to me using sign language or words he knows.



I guess what i'm trying to do is trying to tell him that it would be a lot easier on him if he talked or signed to me, instead of throwing a fit which brings nothing comforting. I feel like that might be too hard for him to understand but I don't know how else I could get my point across? I don't spank. I practice time-out and re-direction a lot. When he does something, I try to re-direct his attention to something else, but that does not work anymore.

So, I guess what i'm asking is, am I going about this the right way or the wrong way? I don't know what works and what doesn't on a child who has special needs. I keep thinking that maybe he just doesn't understand? At the same time, I don't want to let him keep hitting me and having bouts of anger at home or while we are out. It never happens at daycare though. I feel like a bad mother, what am I doing wrong? help?!

SubLowe 1 child; Oceanside, California 15387 posts
10th Feb '13

is there anyway you can take away certain things that are a repeated trigger? such as the fridge, can you get a fridge lock? take away cups that can spill, instead give him bubbles and ballons to play with in bath. i think kids instead of being told NO or told they are doing something wrong, or the wrong way, would rather not have those things in sight, that way they wont think about it. redirect instead of saying NO or please dont do that.

Lilia's Mama (TTC#2) TTC since Aug 2013; 1 child; Florida 3592 posts
10th Feb '13

To me, it sounds like you're doing the right thing. I would keep using the sign lauguage. That really was what helped my daughter talk a lot more. She had delayed speech at the age of 2 and also worked with a speech therapist. She loved the signs and would pick up words instantly with them. I would even make some up for her if they werent in the paper work. Just keep pressing on. You said you hadn't started much in therapy yet, but once you do, you'll see things improve. Don't be afraid to bring this concern to his therapist. They give lots of advice and things to try at home so that you can move the therapy along faster.

SubLowe 1 child; Oceanside, California 15387 posts
10th Feb '13

Have you read any books on how to handle a child with special needs? my parenting is Waldorf inspired and my daughter is super happy, but when she does have tantrums or is just trying to be bad on purpose, the things that woldorf education ( Stein ) is based on seems to work for Nika. Does your lil one watch TV? i know special needs kids under 7 , according to waldorf should not be really allowed to watch tv, only on occasions and even then shows should be selected by parent ( such as dvds, netflix )

.Solange. 1 child; Montreal, 5566 posts
10th Feb '13
Quoting OneLoveMama:" Have you read any books on how to handle a child with special needs? my parenting is Waldorf inspired ... [snip!] ... not be really allowed to watch tv, only on occasions and even then shows should be selected by parent ( such as dvds, netflix )"


Yes he loves to watch a certain childrens show. It has to be THAT episode, every time. If its not, he will end up having that meltdown. It's basically to the point where i'm constantly feeling like i'm walking on eggshells about everything. It's frustrating because I feel like I have no idea what i'm doing. I actually never thought of reading about it, do you have any recommendations?

.Solange. 1 child; Montreal, 5566 posts
10th Feb '13
Quoting Lilia's Mommy:" To me, it sounds like you're doing the right thing. I would keep using the sign lauguage. That really ... [snip!] ... concern to his therapist. They give lots of advice and things to try at home so that you can move the therapy along faster."


Thank you, that's reassuring to know. I really hope we can find something that works. I feel bad for putting him in time-out when he probably doesn't understand why he's there :(

SubLowe 1 child; Oceanside, California 15387 posts
10th Feb '13
Quoting .Solange.:" Yes he loves to watch a certain childrens show. It has to be THAT episode, every time. If its not, he ... [snip!] ... I feel like I have no idea what i'm doing. I actually never thought of reading about it, do you have any recommendations?"

i know its hard, but as much as it may frustrate us, its not about us, Children that age learn by imitation. what they see they reflect. so be calm and lead by positive, calm leadership . in todays world i feel like children are rushed to grow up. children need time to bloom at their own pace.