Is your child on the Autism Spectrum one who doesn’t seem to know how to wait his turn, crossing the street before he looks both ways, grabs objects in public even after being told not to touch, throws things, such as a favorite toy or even rocks without thinking about the consequence, or constantly dominates a conversation?
Impulse-control is one of the most important skills that parents can teach their children, because it is exceedingly important for success later in life. By learning impulse-control, children on the Autism Spectrum can make appropriate decisions and respond to stressful situations in ways that provide positive outcomes.
Impulse-control is learned through a lot of discovery and repetition, not through reprimands and discipline. This discovery and repetition happens slowly throughout childhood. Parents can’t teach self-control with a one-time lecture, instead they must do one teachable moment, one situation at a time.
For a child on the autism spectrum, impulses can feel like they have overtaken him, bypassing any logical thinking, causing him to disregard what he knows he should do. In order to help him learn about impulse-control, parents need to break down that process for the child, helping him to become aware of his impulses before they lead him to a bad choice. Take note of your child’s “impulsivity-triggers” and share your observations with him.
Many behavior problems center around children struggling to manage their impulses. Aggression, parent-child conflict, disrespect, and oppositional behavior can often be decreased by teaching impulse-control techniques. Children on the Spectrum are not always able to express themselves calmly and in words. Frustration with people, things or circumstances occur frequently, especially before they have the vocabulary to talk things out. But, there are many ways to teach your youngster how to express thoughts and feelings in a more constructive way.