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A Child Like Mine
with Beatrice Moise, MS, BCCS

Special Needs Discipline

It can be challenging to discipline a child with special needs.  While you don’t want bad behaviors to continue, it can be hard to decide whether this behavior should be disciplined or ignored.

Having a child that is an atypical learner does not mean that they should get away with everything.  Parents with children with disabilities sometimes have a hard time disciplining because they already feel like a child has already received enough negative consequences in life.

Do Not Pity

Children with disabilities sometimes get away with a lot more than their counterparts without a disability. If you want your child to be treated fairly and equally, you have to also treat them fairly and equally at home. That starts with discipline. Do not allow pity to keep you from helping you properly discipline through gentle guidance and instruction.

At Home Teaching

The home environment provides the safest emotional place for your child.  Disciplining in this safe setting while being emotionally responsive will help your child understand that if they are being told NO, it’s not a punishment, and will not respond so strongly when they hear the word NO.

The Root of Bad Behavior

When it comes to disciplining the atypical brain, you have to figure out what’s causing it. Is it an act of defiance? Or is this child having a psychological meltdown due to a more significant issue? In most cases, this usually tends to be communication or sensory.

A child with sensory needs tends to exhibit strong emotions or negative behaviors. Something that may seem minuscule like trying a new food may cause them physical pain, therefore, giving the appearance of defiance when in actuality, it’s a sensory issue.

Communication tends to be another source of bad behavior. Suppose you have a child with limited verbal skills or communication disorder. That child may not be able to articulate their thoughts and tell you what they want rightly.

Long Term Goals

My son has autism, and I have to continually remind myself that autism does not mean an excuse for bad behavior. I have learned that not allowing him to be disciplined for similar infractions like his sister does not help him with our long-term goal.


Special Needs Discipline

Bea Moise

Beatrice (Bea) Moise, M.S., BCCS., is a Board Certified Cognitive Specialist, Parenting Coach, Writer, and National Speaker. She is the creator of A Child Like Mine, LLC. Bea has worked as a Behavioral Consultant for years with extensive experience working parents of children who have a variety of diagnoses such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, Anxiety Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, & ADHD. She has trained hundreds of families on Parent Management Training. She has provided parents with tools that are useful. Providing parents with practical techniques and teaching strategies. You can contact her for consultation at

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APA Reference
Moise, B. (2020). Special Needs Discipline. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2020, from


Last updated: 23 Jul 2020
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