How do I discipline a child with autism?

I am a counselor at day camp where we have a child with severe autism. We try to keep him entertained by carrying cards around for when he starts acting up so we can get him to focus on something else. The day camp administrator has told us not to yell at him because he will zone out and not listen, so we just talk in a calm voice. However, other kids see the treatment as unfair.

Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Behavioral interaction with someone who has severe autism requires highly specialized training, both for any professional staff involved with the person and for the family members.

It is an unfair situation for both the person who has autism as well as the campers who do not, to expect both sides to get along harmoniously.

In order to achieve this, the campers would need specialized training to know how to respond to distress in the camper who has autism.

This would obviously stretch and burden the summer camp budget as well as provide an activity which usually isn't part of summer camp for children.

What you can do which may be productive in helping the camper who has autism, is to point out the interaction difficulty to the summer administrators.

Ultimately it is their problem to only take campers who are able to reasonably adjust to socializing together and from what you write, the administration has overreached whom they consider reasonable camper mates.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Submit your own question

More Answers