They say that “if you’ve met one child with autism then you’ve met one child with autsim.” The point here is that no two children with autism are exactly alike. Well in my opinion, this is pretty much true with all children. Which essentially means that not all methods, tips, or tricks will work with every child.
Having said all of that I would still like to share with you some of the ” tricks” that have worked for my family. I have two boys, Gatlin age 6 and Draiman age 4, that both have autism. I can tell you first hand that although my boys are similar and often mistaken for twins, what works for one doesn’t always work for the other. So as I share these tips please know that they may or may not work for you. Though you won’t know till you try.
The first in this series of tips worth trying is about how to get your toddler to stop hitting. Just before Draiman was diagnosed around the age of 2 we had big issues with him hitting. He would hit someone, anyone, several times a day. He would get upset about something and then he would hit whoever he was with. We tried a lot of things to correct his behavior but he still continued to hit. The worst part was that he was also nonverbal so he couldn’t tell us what was wrong and we knew a lot of the hitting was out of his own frustration.
Then came the day of his diagnosis with Dr. Soloman. While we were there Dr. Soloman asked us if there were any specific issues we needed help with. So I told him about our issues with Draiman hitting people all the time. Then Dr. Soloman told us about his amazing tip that he was certain would fix our problem. It was so simple and yet made so much sense. The best thing of all was that when we finally tried it at home it worked instantly. Draiman pretty much gave up hitting after just the first time we tried the trick. It was amazing!
Now I am going to share his trick with you. I hope that it works just as well for your little one. This is what you do. After your child has gotten frustrated and resorted to hitting you immediately go up to him and take hold of his hands. Hold both of his hands/wrists in your hands slightly away from his body and look directly into his eyes. Tell him that hitting is not allowed. Tell him that you understand that he got angry and that it is ok to be angry but we are not allowed to hit. Now continue holding his hands still and turn your head so that you are looking away from him. While you are looking away count to 30 while keeping a firm grasp of his hands and forcing him to sit still for those 30 seconds. Once you are done counting, turn back to your child and look directly at him. Tell him that you love him and that hitting is not allowed. Then release his hands and move on to something else.
Dr. Soloman explained that there are a few reasons that this trick works. One is that the 30 seconds of sitting still is like pure torture to a toddler. Little kids don’t like to sit still so they will want to avoid this punishment. Another reason is that you are acknowledging their feelings of anger or frustration. This is big because the behavior of hitting really is a form of communication. They are expressing their feelings by hitting so your acknowledgement of that is important. Then finally you are letting them know that you love them even though the behavior was unacceptable.
So that’s it. it’s actually fairly simple and for my family it worked wonders. I hope this helps you out. Please comment below if this method works for you or if you have other great suggestions for fellow parents.