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Essential Tips for Controlling Bad Language in Asperger's Children

written by: Daphne Matthews • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 1/26/2011

Controlling bad language in Asperger’s children can be a daunting task; however, it is essential that adult role models help that child learn to filter their language into appropriate responses.

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    Bad Language

    Bad language and Asperger’s syndrome seem to go hand in hand. Do a search on your favorite search engine for “Asperger’s and bad language" and you will get hundreds of blog posts by parents, teachers, and even sufferers who talk about the bad language of the aspie child.

    The bad language displayed by an Asperger’s child can follow him or her into adulthood if they are not taught the proper ways to act and react to situations. It is important that the parent or teacher helps the aspie child learn how to behave and use more appropriate language for daily situations. In short, controlling bad language in Asperger’s children is essential to their successful adult life.

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    Demonstrating Good Behavior

    Role-playing can be a useful technique in controlling bad language in Asperger’s children; however, most aspie children do not empathize with the feelings of others because they do not understand them. Therefore, role-playing must take form in other ways. A great way to show an aspie child how to act is by giving them books that demonstrate people in similar situations and use appropriate actions to show how they feel.

    Another good way is to show an aspie how to react to a situation by keeping control yourself. If you over-react to something then the aspie child is going to see justification in the way they behave. Therefore you must limit your use of curse words. If you let the child know how you feel about them using such language it will help to control their word choices.

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    Negative Reinforcement

    Negative reinforcement can be useful for controlling bad language in Asperger’s children. They have obsessions and therefore if you take away time from their obsessive activity it can reinforce that when they use bad language, they lose the privileges to do their favorite things.

    For this to work best, you should have a visual schedule for the child. Then, when he or she says a bad word, all you have to do to demonstrate that this behavior is not acceptable is to mark off an hour of their time that would be devoted to doing their favorite thing - be it playing video games, watching TV, or reading a book. Even if their favorite thing is a productive way for them to spend their time, you need to take it away for a period for negative reinforcement to work.

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    Positive Reinforcement

    Negative reinforcement can be used in conjunction with positive reinforcement or they can each be used alone. Positive reinforcement focuses on rewarding the child for good behavior. This is helpful in that you do not have to wait for a bad behavior to take place before the child is recognized. In positive reinforcement, you would reward the child for going an entire day without using a curse word. However, you must never reward a child if they do not meet their goals set by you because if you do it will reward the bad behavior.

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    Punishing the Child

    Punishing an Asperger’s child beyond the ideas listed here is not recommended. Although professionals can disagree with this, most aspie children do not respond to being punished. However, taking away privileges is similar to grounding and can be seen as punishment by both the parent and the child. To punish further would not be helpful. While controlling bad language in Asperger’s children is essential, an aspie child is not misbehaving on purpose and only needs to be trained in how to behave correctly.

    Disclaimer: This article is based solely on my personal knowledge and experiences.