Here are some strategies to try.
- Watch your own language. Kids with ASD often mimic the words and phrases they hear the adults around them use. Model the behavior you want your child to take up. They can learn a lot by watching what you do.
- Ignore your child’s swearing. Known as tactical ignoring. This behavioral strategy often works with children on the autism spectrum who scream and swear to get attention. Even though you are aware of the behavior, by not responding to it, your child may eventually stop once he realizes it no longer gets him attention.
- Keep your own emotions under control. Give yourself a momentary time-out before dealing with the situation. Stop and take a deep breath. Overreacting when your child curses could actually make the behavior worse.
- Make your child accountable for her actions so that he learns appropriate behavior. Like other unacceptable behavior, give your child consequences for using curse words and then follow through. Consistency is the basis for discipline. If you aren’t consistent, your child receives mixed messages, which can be confusing.
- Choose consequences that are fair and reasonable. For example, take away privileges on days when your child uses curse words. If he likes to spend time each day jumping on a trampoline, take the privilege away for that day if he uses bad language. Explain that he can spend time on the trampoline as long as he doesn’t swear. Make it clear that if he says just one curse word, he will lose the privilege.
- Help your child develop self-control. If he curses under his breath and you hear him, let him know you heard what he said. Point out that using profanity is unacceptable behavior. Give him examples of other words he can use instead to express how he is feeling.
- Read stories together and role-play various situations to teach your child how to behave in stressful situations. Kids with ASD generally have difficulty controlling their emotions. They may often find other people’s behavior irritating and may respond inappropriately.
- Use positive reinforcement to encourage your child to demonstrate good behavior. Let him know you notice when he behaves appropriately. Reward him with lots of praise and a special privilege if he goes an entire day without using any profanity.
(from Amber Keefer)
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