Discipline an autistic child in the same way that you do with any other child. As long as your son understands that he was naughty and why what he did was naughty then you pick the punishment to suit the child. My son on the lower end of the spectrum isn’t naughty, he doesn’t understand enough to be naughty. My higher functioning son is very naughty at times and has just realised that he can lie about it. He gets disciplined by having items he loves, like his Nintendo Wii, taken away for a day or a week or whatever time is appropriate to fit the “crime”. I first ask him what he has done to deserve punishment; when he tells me I ask him why he was naughty and what he should do next time instead of being naughty. Then I tell him what the punishment will be. It’s no good shouting at him or smacking him as he will not learn from that and he will do the same to other people. Time out doesn’t work because he just starts with his self stimulatory behaviour and enjoys the time he gets to himself.
I’ve been trying to stop his self stimulatory behaviour for a while now and leaving him on his own it just encourages him to do it. Telling him how he made me or others feel doesn’t seem to affect him and I’m not sure he understands emotions properly as any emotional display from anyone always makes him ask the question are you or is he/she angry? Whether they are or not it’s always his first response. So through trial and error the only way that I can get him to stop his naughty behaviour is to explain to him, check that he knows his alternatives and the best way to behave and that he recognizes why he was naughty and to deprive him of a luxury.
This is what every parent or carer must do for their child whether they are autistic or not. Make sure your child knows what they should do and then punish them in the most appropriate way. For most autistic children time out won’t work because they will enjoy that time spent on their own. If your child doesn’t know what they should do instead of being naughty then they will continue to be naughty because it’s the only way they know to express what they are feeling.