autistic and stealing



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kenlee
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Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:58 pm

my dd has aspergers,and although luckily she hasnt many behavioral issues she is very sneaky,and she tends to steal little stuff,well once again she stole ugh,my youngest dd had some chucky cheese ticket booster cards and my oldest claimed she found 2 cards at her gmas,well this morning I look through my dds tickets and sure enough the bag had been ripped open and her cards was gone,so I know my oldest took them,its not about the tickets its the fact she stole form her own sister then lied about it,so today we are going to have a talk,I'm wondering if anyone else has had this problem and what do you do,because with autism its much harder to reach them and make them realize something is wrong,



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Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:01 pm

kenlee wrote:
my dd has aspergers,and although luckily she hasnt many behavioral issues she is very sneaky,and she tends to steal little stuff,well once again she stole ugh,my youngest dd had some chucky cheese ticket booster cards and my oldest claimed she found 2 cards at her gmas,well this morning I look through my dds tickets and sure enough the bag had been ripped open and her cards was gone,so I know my oldest took them,its not about the tickets its the fact she stole form her own sister then lied about it,so today we are going to have a talk,I'm wondering if anyone else has had this problem and what do you do,because with autism its much harder to reach them and make them realize something is wrong,


Maybe try to explain how it made her sister feel......like that when you take peoples things without asking it can make them sad so its not a good thing to do. Maybe she does not understand that she is 'stealing' or that it's wrong. So yeah I guess I would focus on making sure she understands and can understand why its wrong before resorting to negative punishment. How old is she though?


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liloleme
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Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:44 pm

Being sneaky, stealing and lying are not real common in kids with Autism. Usually they tend to be more obsessed about following rules and doing what is "right" or what they feel is right. I dont know why you would be having these types of issues unless she believes that these things belonged to her or she feels that it is fair that she has some too. I dont know but, as I said, not typical autistic or Asperger's behavior.



Ria1989
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Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:31 pm

When I worked with autistic children, one younger girl always took food she wasn't suppose to or toys. When she took food, it was simply because she was hungry and didn't understand that constantly eating sweets is bad. When it came to toys, she would throw tantrums and end up getting her way despite our efforts to keep the "forbidden" toys away. These toys were generally her brother's, or even sometimes her mom's phone.

What I noticed is her mom's failure to scold her, while her brother would get scolded for doing the same thing. She was smart, and she realized that she can get away with it (and believe me, she had a smile on her face while she did it!). It's not as if she naturally knew it was bad to do, but she knew it was a rule for her brother that didn't apply to her.


Another thing, this girl shares everything. Her dog would sit next to us and she would try to feed the dog as much food as she would feed herself. To her, everything was meant to be shared.


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Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:32 pm

liloleme wrote:
Being sneaky, stealing and lying are not real common in kids with Autism. Usually they tend to be more obsessed about following rules and doing what is "right" or what they feel is right. I dont know why you would be having these types of issues unless she believes that these things belonged to her or she feels that it is fair that she has some too. I dont know but, as I said, not typical autistic or Asperger's behavior.

True, ASD kids tend to be rule bound. However, my DS will blatantly lie about things sometimes (e.g. "No I didn't take brother's car" when he is standing there with with said car in his hand) and it is very hard to comprehend why he does it. I will point out that what he said is not true and ask him to make it right. Usually that's all it takes is for me to call him on it. There is something going on in their heads that justifies (for lack of a better term) their actions. Perhaps as liloleme said, she thinks it is OK that she took the cards because that makes it "fair" between her and her sister? See if you can try to get at what her thought process was when she took the cards (or on some other baffling infraction). Then perhaps you can help her see where her reasoning is off. That is probably the only way you are going to succeed with getting her to recognize that her actions are inappropriate. The "because I said so" method of morality doesn't work to well for most ASD kiddos.



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Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:57 pm

Ria1989 wrote:
When I worked with autistic children, one younger girl always took food she wasn't suppose to or toys. When she took food, it was simply because she was hungry and didn't understand that constantly eating sweets is bad. When it came to toys, she would throw tantrums and end up getting her way despite our efforts to keep the "forbidden" toys away. These toys were generally her brother's, or even sometimes her mom's phone.

What I noticed is her mom's failure to scold her, while her brother would get scolded for doing the same thing. She was smart, and she realized that she can get away with it (and believe me, she had a smile on her face while she did it!). It's not as if she naturally knew it was bad to do, but she knew it was a rule for her brother that didn't apply to her.


Another thing, this girl shares everything. Her dog would sit next to us and she would try to feed the dog as much food as she would feed herself. To her, everything was meant to be shared.


When I was a kid getting scolded meant being screamed at and totally missing the point because I did not understand all the anger...so in my experiance that does not always help unless this scolding is at a normal volume and involves explaining why not to do something. But yes autism should not be an excuse to get away with stealing but a young child with autism might not quite comprehend that they are stealing so thats why I say that should be looked into first.


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Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:00 pm

I stole every now and then. When I was younger, I was even caught stealing something major from a good friend of the family but my mom handled it so poorly, not realizing I manipulated the child into giving me the object. I got a disappointed look was all and it was never brought up again. I was even allowed to keep the object. I continued to steal after that until out of high school.

This is what should have happened. Have the object taken away immediately and be forced to write a letter saying I was sorry for my actions and mail the item back because it was not right for me to have it. Also, explaining that if something of mine was taken, how would I feel and so on, making it more clear and concrete.



OliveOilMom
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Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:08 pm

When I was younger I went through a phase where I shoplifted makeup. Other kids were doing it and it made me feel like I was getting away with something, and it made me feel more like the other kids. I never got caught.

Mine would steal from their siblings all the time when they were younger. Now they know to ask. They would steal something then deny it. Even if I found it in their room, they didn't know how it got there.

Just because your daughter has AS doesn't mean it's harder for her to understand right and wrong. Some things may be harder for her to tolerate, but AS doesn't cause stealing.

How old is she?


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Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:23 pm

ASD children are not immune to all normal childhood stages, although they often will experience them at a-typical ages, and this sounds like a typical stage to me. If they want it to be so, they seem to be believe that they can make it so, and that isn't a lie - it is a statement of belief that they've made it so. I did pretty well treating it lightly with my kids, but getting the message through that it just doesn't work, and does more harm than good.


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Ria1989
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Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:18 pm

Sweetleaf wrote:
Ria1989 wrote:
When I worked with autistic children, one younger girl always took food she wasn't suppose to or toys. When she took food, it was simply because she was hungry and didn't understand that constantly eating sweets is bad. When it came to toys, she would throw tantrums and end up getting her way despite our efforts to keep the "forbidden" toys away. These toys were generally her brother's, or even sometimes her mom's phone.

What I noticed is her mom's failure to scold her, while her brother would get scolded for doing the same thing. She was smart, and she realized that she can get away with it (and believe me, she had a smile on her face while she did it!). It's not as if she naturally knew it was bad to do, but she knew it was a rule for her brother that didn't apply to her.


Another thing, this girl shares everything. Her dog would sit next to us and she would try to feed the dog as much food as she would feed herself. To her, everything was meant to be shared.


When I was a kid getting scolded meant being screamed at and totally missing the point because I did not understand all the anger...so in my experiance that does not always help unless this scolding is at a normal volume and involves explaining why not to do something. But yes autism should not be an excuse to get away with stealing but a young child with autism might not quite comprehend that they are stealing so thats why I say that should be looked into first.


Yeah, I get what you mean. I guess I was more concerned about the mother's inconsistency and how it affected her children.

I don't think scolding is a good way to cease a negative behavior; even during therapy sessions, we eventually stopped negative reinforcement altogether because it doesn't adequately stop the behavior but generally produces more negative behaviors! I'm glad we concentrated more on positive reinforcement.


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Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:24 am

My daughter is now 18 and has big problems with stealing and always has. It's very much part of her AS. It's down to issues with obsessiveness, special interests, lack of impulse control, not connecting actions with consequences, not grasping the effect it has on the other person and probably a whole lot of other stuff I don't begin to understand. It was the stealing and her behaviours around it that led to her autism diagnosis.



Whoever
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Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:39 am

My 10-year-old AS son sneaks candy and gum. He is not too bad about other things, but these have been major issues. We are fairly reasonable about allowing sweets if he asks first. We don't want them to be "forbidden" and therefore more attractive. But, my husband and I both have weight issues, and we want to help our kids learn better eating habits.

The problem is mainly that he will sneak large amounts of candy and then hide wrappers around the house rather than throwing them away. In some ways, that is almost more of an issue for us. We have found 20 candy wrappers under his pillow...wrappers in his closet, in drawers, in the bottom of the pantry, etc.

My boys are specifically allowed one piece of candy per day, with some flexibility for additional pieces if they ask for it (and it is not right before meals and such). So, we have tried taking away that daily candy as a consequence (usually tied into the number of wrappers we found). But, it doesn't seem to have helped.

The odd thing is that he is extremely smart. I would think that he would learn that if he just threw away the wrappers, we would be much less likely to catch him.

So, I don't know what to suggest. My son seems to be one of those who gets EXTREMELY upset when he sees others not following the rules, but other rules he just totally disregards. I don't understand.


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Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:51 am

http://joyberrybooks.com/

I love the above books for young children, and I know that there are books on both lying and stealing. (I have the complete set, and I've modified the text in all of them to make it simpler for my kids. I have a large box of white adhesive computer labels from an office supply store, and I put them in my kid's books when I want to label pictures, modify text, or add questions.)

There are also other resources listed on the "autism links" page of my free website, www.freevideosforautistickids.com .

I have a friend with twin girls with high functioning classic autism, aged eleven. The oldest has been caught shoplifting recently a couple of times. When her mom says that she cannot have a piece of candy or a toy, she will try to put it in her pocket. Her mom thinks that she understands that her behavior is "naughty" but does not understand that she could get into trouble or cause her mom difficulty with her behavior.


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Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:39 pm

It's funny, we have the candy-stealing thing with my son, too - and he also sneaks books into the bathroom when he's not supposed to (which means he can be there for hours when he has other stuff he needs to do.) We haven't completely addressed this behavior, but I did tell him that we won't be refilling his candy jar outside of the usual holidays, and I noted that he's about to run out of candy - THAT had an effect.

However, the more serious stealing we only had once, and he came to me about it because he was really, really scared and ashamed. He'd taken a pack of gum from a store and eaten it without me knowing. At first, he tried to tell me it was "just a little thing." I explained to him how a store works in detail: how they had to pay for the gum by buying it from a wholesaler, how the store markup pays for the store employees salaries and upkeep and finally the store owner gets his money. I asked him if it was fair to take away money - even a tiny bit - from all those people who depended on it. I think it sunk in; I don't think it had occurred to him the role products play in a store, we've never had a repeat.



eurostarhero
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Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:22 am

I can't believe that someone said kids with autism don't steal. A quick google search would show that show its pretty common



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