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8 Strategies for Curbing Behavioral Issues in Children with Special Needs

Updated on February 1, 2014


My son has special needs. We've been through several years of therapy and training, but yet our life is still evolving with the needs of my son.

My son's teacher asked how we cope at home with behaviors such as aggression, hyper-activity, no respect for personal space, interrupting, and the like, because he recently started having trouble coping in school.

Every child is different. There are strategies we can teach our children that can be very effective if we do them consistently. This means the schools have to be willing to administer the same strategies in school as the families follow at home. Otherwise, the daily life of a child with special needs becomes chaotic, unstructured, and confusing. To hear my son's school is willing to implement the strategies the medical community has taught us to use at home was a relief.

When my son was initially diagnosed with Autism, I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea how to handle certain behaviors. It's my hope, that these strategies are useful to other families to create a better life for children with special needs.

Red Light, Green Light
Has anyone taught your child this coping concept?
If your child is in the "red", it means they cannot participate until they are in the green. Red means stop.
If your child is in the "green", it means they are behaving safely, they are listening, they are understanding instruction, and they are willing to cooperate. Green means go.
If your child is in the "yellow", it means they are in-between red and green and need to adjust their behavior to be fully in the green.

Removing art, music, and gym is not the answer!

Sometimes, schools have a tendency to remove fun things from a child with special needs such as art, music, and gym.

Children with special needs thrive in these areas. It's important to maintain a balance for a child with special needs in school.

Removing art, music, or gym from a child with special needs leaves them with nothing but math and language. It's not a fair balance.

I am against removing art, music, and gym from a child with special needs as a punishment!

1. Reinforce Positive Behavior.

Without a doubt, children with special needs need a lot of love, attention, and support from their parents and/or caregivers.

  1. Praise the child often.
  2. Reward the child immediately for positive behavior. "Catch" them at being good. Whether it be good manners or sharing, tell them good job and clap out loud. It builds confidence in a child and serves as a pleasant reminder that those behaviors are well-received.
  3. Set up a sticker chart. Place it within eye level of the child, such as on a bedroom door. Create a sticker reward system for good behavior and reward the child with a prize after accumulation of a certain amount of stickers.
  4. Maintain a weekly reward system. At the end of the week, allow the child to pick a prize from a small goody box for a job well-done.

By teaching the child that the good behavior comes with a reward, the child will make it a goal to pursue the reward.

In the event that the child's behavior doesn't go well, it's important to not take something away. For example, do not remove stickers off of the chart. Instead, the child doesn't earn a sticker for that behavior, but there will be other chances to earn stickers.

2. Distraction with a fun activity.

When my son attended summer camp last year, he was placed with a full-day aide in special needs. There were times in the morning when I dropped him off that he had trouble transitioning to the camp setting. Another child noticed and immediately began distracting my son by showing him funny pictures hanging on the wall!

What a blessing this little girl was to my son. And she totally understood him. I wish more adults could grasp this concept.

If a child with special needs is having a difficult time transitioning or adjusting to a different setting, it's important to keep your child focused.

In order to accomplish this, distract your child with a fun activity or something your child likes.

3. Offer up to 3 choices so your child feels more in control.

Imagine your day starting out great. You wake up, brew a fresh pot of coffee, and start breakfast. You are half-way through flipping the sunny-side-up eggs, and your child storms out of his bedroom and starts twirling in circles around you and the hot stove.

As the caregiver, you must divert your child's attention to something else and quickly. First thing in the morning, before your first cup of coffee, your brain might be feeling too tired to deal with anything at the moment. So it's important to understand this strategy.

It is very effective to enable your child to feel in control. By offering three choices to your child, you are giving your child the power to choose.

In order for it to work correctly though, you need to set the choices to things that you want your child to do.

For example, you don't want your child around the kitchen while you are cooking, so you offer the following choices:

  1. You may get dressed; or
  2. You may make a bowl of cereal and sit down to eat it; or
  3. You may play a quick game on the computer until breakfast is completed.

Obviously, these choices will be personalized to your daily routine, and limited to the tasks that your child needs to accomplish in the morning. If your child can't make a bowl of cereal or get dressed by him or herself, adapt the choices to what they can do.

If you are in a public place and your child won't listen to you, before the behavior escalates, offer three choices. In some instances, you may have to abandon your outing and just leave.

Tips for Traveling!

  • Always have a snack packed and ready to go before the 5 minute reminder. Choose a healthy snack such as popcorn and a bottle of water.
  • Allow your child to bring a goody bag in the car for something to do.

4. Offer advanced notice before transitioning by counting down.

When I was a child and my mother did not like something I was doing, I was given the warning 1 - 2 - 3. By the number 3, if I hadn't listened, I knew I was going to be in trouble. I still here this warning system in place used by other parents when I'm out in the grocery store.

This warning system doesn't work with a child with special needs. It does nothing but frustrate the child and parent even more.

Before I was taught about advanced transitioning count-downs, my son had terrible challenges putting his shoes on in the morning. It was difficult to go anywhere without planning an hour in advance because my son refused to cooperate and ended up in a severe meltdown.

How easy life became once I learned about this simple and effective strategy!

  1. Place a digital clock and manual clock in your child's room. Even if the child can't tell time yet, it will help them learn. This visually enables your child to grasp the transition that will be happening.
  2. Keep a calendar in the kitchen with weekly appointments. Besides school, any activities, fun outings, or doctor appointments should be noted.
  3. Place a chalkboard or white board in your child's room and write down the appointments for that day and the time. (Some therapists suggest using picture charts for beginning readers.)
  4. Tell your child the night before about what is planned for the next day.

How to effectively transition your child:

  • In 30 minutes, we will be leaving for the store.
  • In 25 minutes, we will be leaving for the store.
  • In 20 minutes, we will be leaving for the store.
  • In 15 minutes, we will be leaving for the store.
  • In 10 minutes, we will be leaving for the store.
  • In 5 minutes, we will be leaving for the store. It's time to put your shoes and coat on.
  • Ok, we are ready to go!

It's truly amazing how this simple technique really works if you keep it consistent and incorporate this strategy as part of your daily routine.

Family pets should never be alone with a child during Take Space.

Our dog Brownie is a rescued dog that has proven to be an effective therapy dog with training.
Our dog Brownie is a rescued dog that has proven to be an effective therapy dog with training. | Source

5. Self-calming techniques.

During periods of stress and anxiety, your child may have trouble coping. Time-out has been proven ineffective for children with special needs.

Instead, use Take Space.

  • The child's bedroom should be a comfort zone to assist your child in feeling secure. A safe and clean room needs to be available to your child. If your child is acting out anxious behaviors and wants time alone, offer Take Space. This would be accommodated in the child's room without punishment. For example, play soft music, turn the lights low, help your child feel at ease by minimizing the other household distractions in other rooms. Pets should not be left alone with your child during Take Space.

Using a stress ball can be helpful to a child who becomes hands on and touches everything. Having something for your child to occupy his or her hands is very effective. Last year in school, my son carried a water bottle with him. The school psychologist said it helped him occupy his busy hands so he didn't get in trouble touching everything around him.

Allow your child to engage in throwing a soft ball. Foam balls as well as soft-tip dart boards are great distractions for a child who engages in throwing things. The action of movement often helps a child feel calmer.

Playful activities will help your child work out their energy naturally.

  • Running around the yard.
  • Walking the family dog.
  • Going to the beach.
  • Using an exercise ball in the living room.
  • Walking on a treadmill with supervision.
  • Jumping rope.
  • Jumping jacks.
  • Push-ups.

6. Setting up a play area for your child.

My son often likes to spend time in his room alone. His favorite toys are legos. We built him a lego center in his room so that he can feel free to play with his favorite toys whenever he wants. The legos are stored in soft bins on a low bookcase that can't be tipped over. He can access the legos easily and spends hours building things from his imagination.

Play areas can be designated in a corner of a room. Make sure there are no toys that are harmful to your child. If your child throws things, it's best to keep die cast toys out of reach.

I've worked with girls who loved to play with soft dolls and soft play purses.

When my son was a toddler, I made play food out of felt because I could only find wooden play food at the store. Because he threw things, it wasn't safe for him to play with wooden toys.

Provide soft, safe toys for creative play!

Pretend play is a way to foster imagination.
Pretend play is a way to foster imagination. | Source
Teaching your Child about Errands
Plan an opportunity to take your child on an errand.
Schedule a trip to the store with your child and plan on offering your child a reward for participating in the errand.
Grocery stores and Walmart may be overwhelming to a child with sensory issues.
Start out by going to a local store where it's less intimidating.
Plan your trip around your child's tolerance for the errand.
Don't expect to stay at Walmart for 20 minutes. Instead, plan to get 1 thing for a quick trip.
Offer your child a choice.
Do you want to go to the bank or the post office?
Some states offer therapy for life skills. Therapists will take your child shopping and teach them how to cope in a store setting. My state doesn't currently offer this.

7. Encourage your child to use coping skills with reminders.

By reminding your child to use coping skills when they appear agitated, your child will learn to help calm down faster.

Be pro-active rather than re-active. Don't let your child's frustration escalate. Help them cope by offering them choices.

Teach your child the effective strategies set forth in this article and remind your child to use them when they feel angry, sad, frustrated, helpless, upset, left out, etc.

Offer your child options:

  • Do you need to take space?
  • Would you like to read a book?
  • Do you need to use a stress ball?
  • Do you need to walk it off?
  • Do you want to go outside and run around?
  • Do you want to help me walk the dog?

If all else fails, it may be appropriate to change environments. Take your child to the beach, indoor play area, or visit relatives. This may not always be possible, but it may help to change scenes.

Change of scenery helps turn your child's attention about from negative behavior.

Connect your child with nature.  Shown here, a child picking veggies in a home garden.
Connect your child with nature. Shown here, a child picking veggies in a home garden. | Source
It may be a matter of medication!
If your child's inability to cope has suddenly become very strained, it may be time for a medicine adjustment or evaluation.

If your child has trouble cooperating in a public place, what do you do?

See results

8. Remain calm, but firm.

Raised voices, shouting and yelling never help a situation in which a child is having difficulty coping.

Becoming impatient also increases a child's anxiety and unwillingness to cooperate.

If your child is unable to cooperate, it can be difficult to effectively handle a situation away from home. There aren't many public places which offer Take Space areas. It would be awkward to handle a situation in a store for example.

Speak to your child in a calm voice, but let them know there are boundaries and rules. Your child needs to understand that there are some behaviors that are off-limits anywhere.

Keep the matter as quiet and private as possible when out in public. It's been my experience that many people have a lack of understanding about special needs children and what parenting them entails. It's best to keep it quiet instead of causing a scene, which only escalates matter and makes it worse!


Taking away fun privileges and toys is not an effective strategy for teaching coping skills to children with special needs

In strategy 1 above, we discussed how to reinforce positive behaviors. When a child has special needs, taking something away is ineffective because your child doesn't have reasoning skills that can be applied to the concept of removing their favorite toy. It is actually harmful to their progress because it exasperates anger and frustration.

This is why therapy begins with positive reinforcement. Placing a sticker on a chart for a child is a visual stimulant. It transmits a message to the child that what they did proved to be rewarded and recognized as good.

However, if a child is being unsafe, then taking away a toy used to hurt is encouraged. Packing away the tote of die cast toys is recommended, not for punishment, but for the child's safety. It's conceivable that the child could throw the toy and hurt someone.

Re-assessing the child's play area is reasonable to ensure that the toys are age-appropriate and safe.

The ultimate goal in implementing these strategies is to help your child feel secure, safe, and to teach your child how to appropriately respond to situations on their own. If they feel anxious or nervous, they can re-direct themselves to take space, throw a foam ball, listen to music, or do an activity to help calm down.

All children are different. Perhaps you have strategies of your own that have worked for your child? Please consider sharing them here to help others learn how to provide support to families of children that may be seeking strategies instead of punishments.


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    • profile image

      Rusell 3 years ago

      I Nathalie. Thanks for this, but I have a problem The FB acucont I want to use is only a Page Account. So when i log in as that user and try to go to, it just keeps throwing me back to ask me which page I want to admin. I choose the business page and then try /developer again and go around in a circle. Help!

    • profile image

      Madhavi 3 years ago

      Great video Nathalie Lussier! I didn't understand what you said at 3:10 and then conutnie to say, they seem to contradict each other. Is it for sure that if you were to lose your FB account that the comments would still be on your website, you 'own' them because they are part of your WordPress site? That is the only reason I haven't install one of these yet because I don't want to 'lose' all my comments if god forbid something happened to FB or my account ;-).

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Btrbell, thank you so much for your gracious and kind words. I love to hear from educators because it helps me to know that I'm giving good advice.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      What a sensible, comprehensive hub. You have included everything! I taught special ed for 17 years. My favorite method was "catch them being good" I like it so much, I use it everywhere and fur everyone. You have a beautiful little boy and he us so lucky to have you as his mom and his advocate! Great hub! Up++ and sharing!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Writer Fox! That's a very generous comment my friend. Thank you!

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 4 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      I think you should start a website teaching teachers coping skills for dealing with Autistic students!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Thank you Writer Fox! Yes, Autism is on the rise. What's frustrating for me as a parent of a child with Autism is the fact that there is no medical "test" which can detect whether a child has Autism. It's really through trial and error that a child is diagnosed if they don't fit the standard mold. My son is very social. So, he wasn't diagnosed when he was younger because all of the other symptoms he had were passed off as development issues which he would grow out of. We went through a whirlwind of doctors, hospitals, and outpatient centers after the initial diagnosis only to have the public school deny him certain services for special needs because he has a high IQ. So despite having Autism, because he has a high IQ and is social, he is treated as a child with bad behavior. And it really makes me angry.

      For example, he does things such as tapping his pencil on the desk. While yes, that can be distracting, a proper strategy would be to place a foam strip on the desk to absorb the noise from the tapping. The tapping isn't something he can help like a habit. He physically does things like this constantly in repetitive form. But instead, he got in trouble at school for tapping the desk, so they took away art and music.

      It seems to me that children with Autism are more likely to be punished for having a disability because of behaviors out of their control.

      My stance as a parent is to work with the child and provide accommodations to help the child. Not punish them because they have a disability which prevents them from behaving "normally".

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 4 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      What wonderful techniques you are sharing here! I wish scientists could figure out why autism is increasing at such a rapid pace. It's being diagnosed in more children every day. You've given some amazing advice here and I hope many people find this article.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Sha! I had a meeting last night and got back late. I've been out this morning, so this is the first chance I have to review what's happening. I'm a little lost and perplexed as to why this person would copy my work. My work details specific experiences I have had raising a child with Autism. In fact, one of the Hubs this person stole from me was from medical documentation that we received during my son's medical treatment. So, I'm considering STALKING charges. What do you think?

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Crafty, I don't think FB pays people, but it's a great avenue for getting recognition. To have an entire page dedicated to healthful issues that is composed of plagiarism is an abomination and must be stopped. To have Mary's FB account be penalized for bringing forth fraud is monumentally wrong.

      Those who plagiarize see something worth while. This worth is yours. Claim it and fight for it! And fight for Mary who has gone to bat for you and lost her own presence. OHealth needs to be SHUT DOWN NOW!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Sha! I have been reading Mary's posts here and on other Hubs I've written. My first question is does Facebook pay people to write? What reason would someone have to copy my work and paste it on Facebook? That's the one thing I'm very confused about. I will write more later, I have to do something right now, but I will be back to address this more. Thank you and Mary.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Thank you annart! Your input here is truly treasured. I have personally found that people out in the general public are the least understanding. It's very difficult raising a child with special needs. It's more difficult trying to tolerate the ignorance of those who just don't understand. Thank you for your kind comments.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Eric! Thank you for commenting here. This morning I ran in to a lady who I haven't seen since my grandfather passed away. She works at the school where my children go. She said that they are the most happy and loving children, always smiling and generally grateful for everything. It made my day to hear that.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Linda! Thank you so much for stopping by.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Crafty, you need to read these posts by Mary and take action. Your work has obviously been stolen multiple times by the same person and had even created a Facebook page using your articles. It's not fair nor right that Mary has been extricated from FB - OHealth is the one that needs to be extricated. Go into the site and let them know they stole your work, then file a report using the links Mary has provided above.

      This is friggin' not right and illegal to boot!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Tolovaj. Visualizations are great. When my son was younger, we used visual cards to help him express his feelings. That helped him communicate to us when he couldn't find the words to express himself. Thank you for stopping by!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi MsDora! Thank you so much for your kind comments. The one thing that really helped was the strategy of transitioning through time countdowns. It had amazing results with such little effort. The child doesn't feel pressured or rushed. They have clear instruction when they are expected to do the next activity and they feel empowered by knowing when to put their shoes on by themselves.

    • Mary McShane profile image

      Mary McShane 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

      @ bravewarrior - I don't know for sure, so I can't say. I just now wrote an answer to the request for the link on Craftytothecore's hub 10 tips from 1943 for dealing w/common cold, to show her where her name was removed as well as the link and the source is listed as "hubpages." The complete article is there, so that is definitely stolen.

      But I am told that there are different rules for HP and that I have yet to learn them. So I alerted the hubbers I thought would be interested and will answer their questions if I know the answers, but other than that, I have to back down because now OHealth has filed a report against me for harrassing them.

      My Facebook account was first blocked yesterday from seeing OHealth's page after I reported it. My sister is appealing FB decision about my report. Now my FB account has been suspended. I am cut off. I have to name 15 faces of friends to be able to get the account back. I am sick of it all.

      I am letting my FB page go unless my sister wins the appeal in my name for FB to give it back to me unconditionally without having to pass the face test. OHealth is someone who used to be on HP and clearly doesn't like a new kid on the block calling them on the carpet.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Mary, I see you have flagged many articles on the OHealth page. Who the hell is this person? Brass balls to blatantly steal other people's work for their own gain! And repeatedly no less!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Denise! Your input is very valuable to this article. Last year my son was in a class for special needs and he did so well that they figured he would fit in mainstream. Unfortunately, he isn't doing well right now. I have spent the last three weeks trying to find specialists that can help and there are none locally. The school is reaching out to me for advice and my son's current therapist, but they also discovered that he has grown some so they increased the weight of his weighted vest. I'll find out today if it was enough to help him through the day. Thank you so much for stopping by!

    • Mary McShane profile image

      Mary McShane 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

      On February 1, 2014, this hub

      and on 10/10/2013, this hub

      was copied from you and placed on a Facebook page called OHealth where the work of many other hubbers has also been copied.

      This is bad for you and for us in several regards.

      1) If your work is copied and appears elsewhere, readers have no reason to come to Hubpages to read your hubs.

      2) If you are signed up for HP's Earnings program, this is one hub you are potentially losing revenue for, because it has been stolen by this FB page.

      3) We will all lose earnings on stolen content because as long as the hubs are copied to other pages or websites, the readers will not come here to read and we will lose views = revenue.

      This is the FB page address who stole your hub: go to the dates of the post (I put above with the titles of your hubs)

      Please file a Facebook copyright infringement form (free).

      This is the link to fill out the form:

      Filing copyright infringement forms is the only way we will be able to get our articles taken off this page and any other website who steals our work.

      We need to take a stand against websites who steal our work and put it on their pages. We do not write on HP for our work to be stolen. We write because we enjoy it and because we want to make a few dollars and we can only do that if readers come here to read our work. We get nothing if they read our work elsewhere.

      I wrote about it in this forum, hoping you would see it to know your work was stolen.

      Thank you,


    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 years ago from SW England

      This is brilliant, a wonderful aid for parents and teachers who need to deal with anyone with special needs. In fact, many of these techniques are excellent for any child.

      You're right that understanding of any behaviours 'out of the box' is limited. I relate this to dyslexia and I've met many people who just don't get that children can have problems with reading without being 'thick'. We should never judge a child or a parent on what we might see in public, such as in the supermarket, when we don't know the circumstances on which a behaviour is based.

      Up ++ and shared. Everyone should read this. Ann

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      OMG my son just got in my face disobedient -- no terrible twos. But at four he is looking at me defiantly and doing what he just understood not to do. In my lexicon though he is young he is becoming a man. SOB.

      Wowsa Bowsa how much fun we will have navigating the fight. Yahoo he has a backbone and we will not break it, but by golly jingles we will direct it. Whoa this is my eighth in this mode and I love it. ADD, Dyslexic, problematic, defiant --- bring it on. There is nothing he can do to ignore the fact that he is loved. Oh by God let him look me in the eye and he will know there is no backing down and he will always be loved.

      Thank you for this piece to raise us up and do love

    • mylindaelliott profile image

      mylindaelliott 4 years ago from Louisiana

      This is such a good article with so many good tips and strategies.

    • Tolovaj profile image

      Tolovaj 4 years ago

      Great list for everybody who deals with children, especially children with special needs. Structuring is very important and I found very effective trick is to show the kid what will (or should) happen in next (choose: minutes, hour, day, situation) with a help of pictures. It seems visualization is very important to children because their thinking patterns are more symbolic than logic.

      I totally agree: every child is special in his own way.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Very useful suggestions for dealing with the autistic child; but even the parents of so-called normal children can learn from them. Respect, caring and love are evident in your ideas. Thank you for your exemplary attitude.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I too, have a child with special needs who exhibited behavioral issues. We worked hard to get her ready for school, and yet, the school environment was very difficult for her. Eventually, she was put into special education, and they used techniques similar to those we used at home. Many of those listed here worked for our daughter as well. Especially, preparing ahead of time by talking about what we were planning to do, then counting down to the moment it would happen. Giving choices was also very helpful. Now that she is an adult, many of the same techniques are still effective.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Kidscrafts. It's very likely that my son could be reacting to my grandfather's death and just not showing it in an obvious way. He just started taking another medication as well last week, and we had a snow day today. I could tell his behavior had really improved. Before this medication, it was very difficult for him to stay focused on any task for very long. Today, he built himself a fort and a pretend race car. He played with that for hours. That's the first time I ever noticed him playing with one thing for hours on end. So that's an amazing improvement. I just hope that it works as well in school for him.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Sha, excellent advice. Especially the part about giving them one task at a time. That is true! If I overload my son with direction, he gives up and says he can't do anything. Yes, LOL, and he bides his time as well! Oh the stories we could share!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Eiddwen! Thank you so much for commenting here.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Rebekah, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this information. Your strategy is refreshing to hear. I personally have observed the opposite at our school. A little boy who has severe needs was being escorted to the bus one day. I was standing on the sidewalk waiting for my children to be dismissed. The little boy sat down and started screaming. The aide assisting him started shouting at him and threatening him. It was the worst thing she could have done. I stood there in shock. I couldn't say anything because I would have gotten in trouble with the administration had I intervened. I never saw her again though.

      Anyway, distraction, praise, and patience all work together well when assisting a child with special needs. And you hit the nail on the head. "It reassures the child that you noticed and care about their feelings!"

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Thank you Alicia for your kind comments here. I always appreciate when you stop by.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Reynold Jay! I'm so honored that you stopped to take the time to comment here. Congratulations on reaching a milestone of 33 years teaching! Thank you for your kind comments.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Thank you Eric! Yes, you are so right. All children need love, kindness, and support.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Thanks so much for commenting here DDE!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Chitrangada! Thanks so much for your kind comments.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Teaches! Thank you! My son loves dressing up like a ninja. Every year for Halloween, he gets a new ninja suit.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Flourish, I'm so happy to see you here, and thank you! I missed you too! My son had some issues had school that took up my time. He has new meds now, and seems to be doing much better. I hope to be on here regularly again.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Jackie! That's so sweet of you to say, and give a big hug to your friend for me. I just met another family with a toddler newly diagnosed.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hello Eric! My son is so full of life. It's a full-time job caring for him for sure. But like you said, all of my effort is spent for my children now, and I'm thankful for that. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Faith! Yes, it's so important to praise children instead of always telling them what they're doing wrong. My son has been having problems at school. I'm his mom, so I'm emotionally invested in him and I love him. The schools just look at him as another student that's acting unruly. They don't see his potential, or that kindness and encouragement will help him succeed.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi WiccanSage, your story is refreshing. I homeschooled my children too, until my son's needs became so difficult to manage that I enrolled him in public school because they "promised" so many benefits. It's so heart-breaking every time I get a note from the teacher saying my son was not allowed to participate in art. Of course, I have my own art studio so he has free reign here. We too are musically inclined. I play the piano. My son has a guitar and a keyboard. He loves to write music. I'm so glad that your son has those opportunities.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Billy! Thank you! My son had a set-back at school recently and the teacher reached out to me for some guidance. I was so thankful at her willingness to communicate with me. Last year the school did things their way and wouldn't hear of anything we were taught by the medical community.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Ologsinquito! Thank you very much for your kind comments here and for pinning it to the Things You Really Need to Know Board. I think that's quite a compliment!

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      It's never easy to raise a child and I suppose that for children with special needs it's even harder. What I remember with my children is that there were periods where everything was sailing just fine and all of a sudden there was a storm coming from nowhere (my point of view). But I think what happens is that each child grows slowly in front of our eyes and we don't see the difference from one day to the next. We see them when there is a situation of crises. I think because they are growing and understanding more and more and living things (at school for example) and are not always able to verbalize them clearly to us because in their mind it's not clear, they get frustrated and that's when things explose. As parents, kids don't come with a handbook, unfortunately, so we have to figure out ourselves and tweek along the way to see what works best for each child. One thing for sure, positive reinforcement is the best way to go :-)

      Another thing I noticed as well, children react sometimes a long time after the fact... I suppose things evolve in their head and they try to make sense of things that are happening to them. You had a death in the family and maybe it's still bothering him inside and he can't express his fears. I remember that my husband read a story to my eldest son who was around 4 years old at the time. In the story, the king died and the prince replaced his father as a king. For at least two years, my son had to discuss about death, what it means to die, what happens after, etc. First there was fear. As parents, we have to find the "new key" to access them each time they change.

      I hope that you can find solutions to help him in those difficult times.

      Have a great week!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Crafty, I did the sticker thing with my son, too. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Taking things away never works because they know they will eventually get them back. It's amazing how a special needs child will 'bide his time' when necessary.

      Another way to help avoid a melt down is to not give your child too many instructions at one time. They can't remember them all and they just get frustrated. For instance, instead of telling them to brush their teeth, get dressed and make the bed, give them one task at a time. And, as you say, reward them with a hug or a 'good job!' when each task is completed.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A brilliant article which leaves much food for thought and voted up for sure.


    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 4 years ago from Tampa Bay

      You have given some helpful suggestions for children with special needs. I am in the early childhood profession, and we are seeing more and more children entering school with special needs. The more parents and teachers can work together with specific strategies, the better it is for all involved. Something we do in our classroom which helps all the students is what we call our 'calming' breath. We gather on the rug and sit with our hands out to our side, close to the floor. We breathe in and raise our arms to the count of 7 breaths. We exhale slowly to the count of 7 and lower our arms. We generally do it 3 times. They noticeably feel the difference in their bodies and understand that it's something we can do by ourselves also to calm down. I have one little girl with emotional problems and at times she will run to me and want me to help her and start raising her arms slowly. I praise the fact that a child remembers to think and do what's appropriate at the time, and reinforce the desired behavior rather than simply praising the child. "That is fantastic that you knew you could stop and use your calming breath all by yourself. It helps us feel better, doesn't it?" It reassures the child that you noticed and care about their feelings. How a child feels is going to affect their behavior so it's helpful to acknowledge their feelings and help them move through the more difficult emotions.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an excellent hub, Crafty. The description of successful strategies that have worked with your son will be extremely valuable to other parents - and teachers - of special needs children! Thank you for sharing all the great advice and explanations.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 4 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Well done. It makes me think of my 33 years as a special education teacher and techniques that I so often used. This brought me many memories and will ceratinly help the parents of their children.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      this hub needs to keep growing it is important and productive and good for folks. This hub also reminds us that we should also give special attention to all children. Bravo

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      8 Strategies for Curbing Behavioral Issues in Children with Special Needs is an extraordinary hub with such helpful information and you have written from the heart.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very useful and informative hub! Since you understand the issue so well, your suggestions are practical and valid.

      Thanks for sharing! Voted up and pinned!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I love the little ninja. Great advice and suggestions for helping children with special needs. Your post is well done.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Crafty! You're back! Hooray! Hooray! I've missed you! You are a good writer and a creative spirit with a message to share, as exemplified by this lovely hub of yours. So glad to see you back.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Having a friend whose little boy is Autistic I know what life is like for you and you; like her, seem to be so good dealing with this problem. My hat off to you for being a strong and loving parent regardless of the obstacles. ^+

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Out of four biological children I only had one with serious special needs, oh my! Wow! The work that went into that girl.

      And how wonderful such a gift was and still is. We were blessed that what the experts said was permanent and forever was perhaps cured by love and attention.

      But it put a twist on life that made us get off our asses and spend the effort on all children.

      My wife of that child spent over 25 years teaching "lock down" severely emotionally disturbed children.

      You teach here and preach here the practical application of love and in my book that makes you a Saint.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Excellent article dear Crafty! Yes, it makes no sense to take away those things such as art, etc., that actually help. I love your ideas on how to redirect their behavior, especially praising them when they do something right. That is so very important, as the child is most likely constantly hearing all the wrong he or she is doing, so I think it is so important to point out to the child when he or she is doing something right.

      Up and more and sharing.

      Have a great weekend,

      Faith Reaper

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      This is excellent advice. I have a special needs child with behavioral/learning disorders, and consistency and order are so important. You are 100% right that taking away creative and energy-expending activities is not going to teach these kids to sit still and cooperate. We opted to homeschool and got our son involved heavily in the arts locally, both fine and performing, and he's thrived because of the arts programs. His artwork has been displayed in children's exhibits and local museums, and this summer he had a role in his first musical. At 13, the arts have been this kid's salvation. Meditation and mindfulness have also been very beneficial practices to get him into, it's helped teach him to self-sooth and how to refocus his attention when he gets scattered and hyper. Excellent hub!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have no experience here, but I know the importance of raising awareness and sharing ideas, suggestions and techniques with other parents. Well done; a very important message.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

      This is an excellent article. I'm pinning it to my Things You Really Need to Know board. I like how you included concrete strategies with visual cues to redirect behavior.


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