What should a parent keep in mind when it comes to discipline and children with autism? What about children with learning disabilities?
It's important to understant the developmental progress of a child so that you can be sure to set appropriate expectations. For example it's not appropriate to expect a child with the developmental capacity of a 2 year old to sit still or be quiet. Talk with your doctor about the behavioral, emotional, adaptive, linguistic, and motor development of the child so that you can be sure what kind of behavior would be reasonable to expect. Know the child's developmental age.
Timeouts work for most children over age 18 months, with 1 minute per year of developmental age. For example, if the child has the mental capacity of a 6 year old, they would get 6 minutes of time out. Check out the link for how to do a time out.
The key is to be consistent.
You discipline them the same as your other kids. Some techniques work better than others, but that's true of any child, and you can't generalize what techniques do or don't work to all special needs children. Mostly what you change is your expectations. Things take a lot longer to learn and you have to cut them extra slack.