In considering the disciplinary actions in regard to special needs children, it is essential to have an overview of what it means to discipline a child well in general. All children deserve love and respect, kindness and correct actions in regard to taking disciplinary measures. Children all need the firmness of a nurturing adult or caregiver, one who can gently nudge the child in the right ethical directions. It is not always easy to be more firm or strict with a child, however, children benefit from having a sense of structure around them, from being helped to discern right from wrong.
In aiming to shore up the behavioral qualities of a special needs child, it is essential to gift oneself and the child the grace of patience, understanding, good will, morality, flexibility, and prudence in knowing when is the right time to push—and when is the right time to let go. Special needs children may often have behaviors which fall into the more extreme behavioral categories. For the adult or caregiver, it is important to know where the faultless disorder ends and where true misbehavior begins.
It can be difficult to know exactly how much abnormal behavior should be tolerated with a special needs child. However, it is markedly more than a normal child. Helping these children does involve setting parameters which serve to protect oneself and others, basic lines which help to carve out an understanding of ethics and morality as they pertain to human behavior. Discipline means being able to say no, being able to be firm, ignoring malicious overtures, restricting rewards, and encouraging the good behaviors.
The essential difference between a normal child and a special needs child is that there may be more which needs to be tolerated when dealing with a special needs child. They may need more patience, more time, and special considerations. However, this does not absolve the special needs child of the definite responsibility of treating oneself and others with kindness and respect. In taking a slower or more careful and uniquely tailored approach with the special needs child, the adult or caregiver can offer the very best behavioral support.