Friday, November 12, 2010

How Do You Stop A Child With Aspergers From Stealing?

Yes - this is an actual question to which I do not posses an answer. Ever since Iraq was old enough to "get into stuff," she has been doing just that. Getting in to other people's stuff, often reorganizing it or even relocating it to some hiding place in her room.

I do not use the term lightly when I say we have tried everything we know to get her to stop. You can see a very early story about Iraq getting into "stuff" here. (Please note, this story was written about 3.5 years ago and discusses just one of the incorrect diagnoses we received on our quest to understand our beautiful little Iraq).

Now that she is 7, Iraq has become capable of getting into a much wider variety of "stuff." My makeup now resides in a mini-safe that requires a well-hidden key to access, and my husband's firearms are in a locked steel gun safe (hey - we're Republicans and we used to live in Texas... of course we have guns. It's like some sort of unspoken law). Needless to say, I don't wear makeup often because its such a pain in its current incarcerated state.

Basically we do what we can to safeguard our "stuff" against our adorable little clepto - - but there is only so much we can do. We can't lock up everything we own.

And so it is all that stuff that is not under lock and key that tends to mysteriously vanish, only to reappear deep in the toe of a fuzzy, pink slipper or inside the pillow case of a pillow strategically placed under a bed. The Skink's stuffed animals are relocated, Broadway's highlighter markers go missing and my contact lens case grows legs and walks out of the bathroom.

In hopes of ending this behavior we have tried:
Explaining why stealing is wrong
Taking away one of Iraq's favorite toys
Taking away all of Iraq's favorite toys
Taking away television priveliges
Sending Iraq to bed early
Letting The Skink take one of Iraq's toys
Lectures
Explaining that grown-ups that steal end up in jail
Threats
Spanking
Time outs
Not allowing Iraq to go to the park/swimming/other favored activities
Other creative punishments...

All to no avail.

Just this week Iraq's teacher sent a note home expressing concern that many of Iraq's classmates have items go missing only for them to turn up in Iraq's desk. She said she had tried a variety of things, but the behavior continues (go figure!).We have been extraordinarily lucky to have the most wonderful teacher this year for Iraq. She has studied autism/Aspergers and is working with us to create the best possible learning environment for Iraq.  Needless to say, I had to write a long note to Iraq's teacher explaining that we did not have anything really helpful to offer.

Ya know - here in the US there is a television show called SuperNanny where a highly-experienced nanny goes into a household with some out-of-control children and teaches their parents how to be better parents. I'd like to see SuperNanny last one day in our house!



In retrospect, to those of us dealing with an autism spectrum issue on a daily basis, that show seems awfully trite. I can attest to the fact that SuperNanny's techniques work well with neuro-typical children. They worked great with my ADHD Broadway when he was little. With autism? Not so much! "Time Out" can last an entire day if a parent patiently puts the child back in the time-out spot every time the child leaves before the time is up, or puts the child back in time out if the same naughty behavior is witnessed again (usually almost immediately following release from time-out). Simply put, the things that work for neuro-typical children to thwart undesirable behavior DON'T WORK for many kids with Asperger's. It has become my daily goal to find ever more creative ways to try to control Iraq's behavior, only to add to the list of "things that don't work." It almost seems nuts to keep trying... yet... I do.

So last night when we discovered that Iraq had (once again) pillaged mom and dad's bedroom, I "relocated" the large Dora house from Iraq's room into The Skink's room in an attempt to show Iraq how it feels to have one's belongings taken and played with by someone else. Iraq never plays with the Dora house, but she is obsessively possessive over "her stuff" for the most part. The Dora house has its own spot in Iraq's room, and taking things from their spot is a big no-no!



Yes - Iraq was very upset about the situation (which was my goal), but then the plan backfired on me completely. I have mentioned before that The Skink is very creative and loves imaginary play. Having me place the Dora house in her room was like Christmas! She walked in with eyes like saucers and could only say "WOWWWWW!" She sat and played with the house, finding all the buttons that make noise, sitting Dora and her family at the table, feeding each of the dolls and putting them all to bed.


And then I had to take it away.

I'm a BAD mommy!

I had unwittingly punished The Skink as I punished Iraq. My poor little Skink was beside herself with tears when I folded Dora's house back up to put it back in Iraq's room.

Note to Self:

Dear Self,
That didn't quite work the way you thought it would, huh?
Regards,
The Mother of your Other 2 Children.

So here I am, still on my quest to stay one-step-ahead of Iraq and looking for answers. What do we do about the stealing? It's one of Iraq's compulsions and she says she just can't tell herself "No!" She has plenty of compulsions, but this one could really cause her some trouble if she doesn't get a handle on it soon.

Please tell me I'm not a bad mom. If you do happen to posses the magic answer to my question, I definitely need to hear it! Otherwise, just drop me a comment to let me know I'm not talking to myself :o)
On your mark... get set... Comment!

Update: Sorry to say I still don't have answers. Iraq's stealing has lessened just a bit. She knows stealing is wrong, ans says she "Tells herself not to steal," but sometimes she just can't fight the urge. People with Asperger's have issues with transitions - changes and new developments in life. We notice a significant upswing in stealing during transition times. Same with meltdowns, OCD behaviors and other negative behaviors associated with Asperger's. From what we can discern, for people with Asperger's, stealing falls under OCD behaviors. While many specialists will still maintain that stealing is not part of Asperger's, I think it is a provable point that when it falls under the subset of OCD, it most certainly can be. Judging by the number of responses I've had (both public and private) there are MANY of us who have children with Asperger's who steal. 

For a more recent post with Iraq's adventures in OCD stealing, see:

http://adasperdown.blogspot.com/2012/02/stealing-consequences-my-kleptomaniac.html

Please do leave your comment below! There are a lot of us out here who wonder if we are the only ones with kids who do this. By weighing in, I have something solid I can take to my daughter's psychologist and say, "Look! This IS a common behavior in children with Asperger's!" If doctors recognize the prevalence of kleptomania in people with Asperger's, the knowledge could help our children not only receive more help in this area, but possibly keep them out of jail when they are older.

67 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, I love this post! Your note to self is hilarious!
    I know though, how frustrating it can be to try to discipline a daughter with Asperger's. I remember time out was much more of a nightmare than any behaviour that would cause me to want to enforce a time out - it was an all out battle of wills, and I could not compete with her level of stubbornness and determination, and the yelling and fussing were unreal! Taking away things didn't work for us either. Lectures seem to be about the most effective for us so far.
    I wish that I had some insightful advice for you! You will figure something out, just keep trying!

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  2. I have a 16 year old Asperger daughter that is stealing and now it has spread to stealing at school. I am beside myself on what to do. She has a therapist and we discuss the topic constantly! The school put her on two day suspension for trying to steal a jump drive and I can't decide how I feel about this punishment. She needs to feel the consequences of her actions like other kids, but she is NOT like the other kids. I would love some advice!

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  3. Dear Anonymous - I wish I had really good answers for you, but I'm not sure I do. First, you need to figure out if your daughter is stealing for the trill factor as some teens will, or if, like my daughter, she is actually has kleptomaniac tendencies.

    With Kleptomania, people simply can't control the impulse to take things. It goes along with OCD issues that are often a part of Aspergers. Our daughter has not stopped this behavior yet, though we keep punishing the behavior. I found this website informative: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/141560/treatment_options_for_the_kleptomania.html?cat=25

    If it continues being an issue, make sure your doctor puts it in your daughter's medical records that she is a kleptomaniac - at least if she is caught stealing at the mall it will be less likely to haunt you since it is a "mental disorder."

    As for us, we are still working on it. My daughter is very young to be a kleptomaniac, which unfortunately does not bode well for her future. We hold on to hope that new therapies or new medication will be able to help her (and help us). Hang in there, and here are some cyber-hugs from me!

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  4. I'm dealing with the same things here and just Googled to look for advice. I'm happy I'm not alone in this and saddened that I too cannot find the magical button to make this behavior stop. My son is 13 years old and I'm pretty certain he's moved his "taking with out asking" to things from school. I can usually get him to confess with things at home but have yet to get him to confess to things at school. I'm wary to involve my son's school because last year they changed his schedule (Oh, the HORROR for a child on the autism spectrum!) and he was so upset that he lied to one of his "new" teachers and went to his "old" teachers to beg for forgiveness because he thought the change was his fault. The school suspended him for a three days for skipping class. I too believe that he needed to understand the consequences for behavior but was conflicted because he *isn't* neuro-typical. They refused to understand the motivation behind his trying to go back to the original schedule. I'm still searching, working with his therapist, and trying to get by day-by-day. I can only hope he'll "get it" before he ends up in jail.

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  5. My daughter 8, adopted, steals from school every day. When I ask why, it's "because I wanted it" She took a waterbottle, I returned it, made her, and later, I bought her one just like it and she said, "now I won't have to steal one because now I have one" She's been to Dr's, diag w/ADHD, & I have recenty been sent to a psychologist, after about 30 min's, he said, "she not ADHD, she has Aspergers...I have an apointment with him tomorrow, just me, not with her, & I'd bet anything (well, not anything) that he says she has Aspergers. I'm an older parent, 59, and feel like a prisoner, taped drawers, cabinets, etc. but reading these at least let's me understand that the problem may not be me.. By the way, did y'all ever hear, "well...when you were her age you took something, people absoutely do NOT get it....this is NOT NORMAL!!!

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    1. I know what you mean. People do not get it! I just found this site and already feel better reading the posts. There is NO normal with aspergers. I just realized that stealing is part of it. I did not know that.

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  6. Such a relief to hear my story & fears & feelings in others lives. My 9yo son was diagnosed w asperger's a yr ago. The biggest problem we have is in relation to his stealing of everything from lollies, food, money, pens, texters, jewellery & ALL things electrical (including extension cords & all manner of computer cables).

    All things electronic is his area of obsession & this began as a 1yr old hiding cords & light bulbs etc under his bed. We initially thought this was funny & nicknamed him our little 'bower bird' because they too collect strange thinks in little piles. But let me assure you that by the age of 9 this is not so cute & funny.

    We've also tried everything from little action to lots of action. We've removed favorite things, we've removed everything from his room, we've lectured, we've been gentle, we've made him admit to stealing from us & others & repay us by doing chores around the house. All to no avail.

    So we are left with fear & frustration re the question that keeps comping up...... how do you teach a child who doesn't learn by consequence?????

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  7. I just googled aspergers/stealing and landed here. I am in tears again this morning. My 13 yr old son stole again this morn. He steals money lots of it. I have it behind lock and key and he finds the key to help himself. The past yr is now up over a $1000.00. I am a single mom and cannot afford it. I have threatened to enroll him in a boys school that deals with issues. I know I won't be able to do that. I worry too that if this doesn't change soon he will end up in jail. Just so totally frustrated!!!!

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    1. I have a now 15 year old daughter. We are going on our 5th year of pure HELL. She started stealing cell phones. Finally she stole a 700 Iphone. (a felony for most) at age 12 she was arrested, at age 14 arrested again. She steals them from people. EVERYWHERE. Someone said get her a phone - I didn't want to reward her, so I refused it got worse and more misdiagnosis. She has ADHD, then ADD not ADHD, Then the tics started. She has Tourette's other doctors, it is not tourettes it is Anxiety, or OCD, or ODD and then she started on meds, this one drove her blood pressure sky high, to the stroke zone, this one made her shake so bad she couldn't hold a pencil they finally said she couldn't have meds due to the Tourettes. Then they tried Zoloft, she tried to kill herself twice, then they put her in the Hospital again and they said it is Asperger's. Then they said it wasn't finally after a year on the waiting list, she was tested in depth. Asperger's with an IQ in the genius level - tourette's syndrome, ADHD, She has PCOS ( polycyctic ovarian syndrome) and went thru puberty (completely) by age 9 aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!!!!! The meds caused temper tantrums, and more suicidal thoughts and attempts. Off the meds, she became hyper sexual and then sexually oriented. She was on her computer conversing with who she thought was a 15 year old boy who turned out to be a 48 year old pedophile. He taught her some very strange ideas about sexual behavior and helped her to install the web cam that I had disabled and put the parental controls I had out of commission. She sent out pictures of herself naked and then later to other strangers. Now we worry day and night. She has stolen our money, other people's money and steals food, I do not know why. We have tried EVERYTHING and NOTHING works. She has been seeing counselors, psychologists and even psychiatrists for 5 years now. They all say it is the Aspergers that keeps her from being able to control her behaviors like we can. I am just about to lose my mind. It goes on and on and on and soon she will be somewhere - take something and be arrested and charged as an adult, or get on a sex offender list or end up kidnapped - is there ANYONE with an idea for us??? Thank you.

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  8. Oh my goodness. I am SO glad I searched on Google and it gave me this website. True, none of you can offer me a solution to stop my son's ( who is 11 and has ADD and Aspergers) stealing, but at least now I know I am not alone. Today he stole my husband's extra care key with the transmitter from my dresser drawer where it was hidden for the exact reason that he keeps stealing the car keys. He is obsessed with keys for some reason. so again, although no one here can give a solution, like I said, at least I know now I'm not alone.

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    1. You are not alone, I also have a 11 year old with Aspergers and ADD. He steals from his teachers at school to the point the School turned him in to a juvenile officer. He doesn't want to steal and has began telling the teachers he feels the urge. We have been fighting this issue at school for over a year. And I have tried everything....even doing a search of him and his backpack everytime he came home or left the house. He has just become better at hiding things.

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  9. Maybe what if you tried teaching her how to ask for what she wants, so she won't have to steal? Asking for what you want can be a big issue with Asperger's.
    Also, stealing sometimes occurs because of a special interest. When someone is obsessed over something, and they can't have the thing, or they lack communication to ask for it and the flexibility to get it on a more acceptable way, they sometimes steal things or brake the rules. It's an obsession, lack of social skills and inflexibility.
    Also, if she says she has a compulsion to steal, it may be related to OCD traits. Maybe try to work on this compulsion, maybe try to replace it with something else. And work on her social skills and understanding of rules. Sometimes Aspies have problems understanding the rules and why they should or should not do something, and why they can't always do what they want.
    I have Asperger's so I know. But I rarely stole anything, because to me it was clearly explained what are the rules, why I should not steal, how to ask or how to get this thing on another, more acceptable way... so I didn't have the need to steal anything ever since I got more empathy I lacked when I was little. The more I learned about social skills, less likely I was to steal something. Actually, later on I felt guilty for stealing and after returning the thing to its place "because it's a real home to that thing", I never stole again. I thought that the thing likes to be at its own place where it belongs. It helped me to think things have feelings just like I have and they want to be safe and not with strangers. :)

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    1. Anonymous - I'm actually an Aspie myself, but I never stole anything. My daughter has no issue at all with asking for what she wants. The stealing is most certainly related to her OCD. Her stealing is not based upon need - currently she has more than 20 lip glosses and chap sticks, but she continues to steal more because it's her "thing."

      We have explained the rules and all the various reasons she should not steal hundreds of times at this point. We have had police officers meet with her and explain why stealing is wrong. We have had all sorts of people explain it until they are blue in the face. We and her therapists are working diligently to help her control her compulsions. We have made headway, but we have not "cured" the stealing as yet.

      I am amazed at the response to this blog post through both public comments and private messages. This seems to be a real problem for many Aspies and not just my daughter. We're all in this together. We'll keep trying new and different things, and we'll keep hoping.

      Cheers!

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  10. I'm a 37 yr old Aspie and twice in my life (at age 17 and 26) used to steal from shops but for a friend and sometimes for things I needed,othertimes things I stole I would give the stuff away to be liked,I also used to steal money from my mother's purse at age 11 to buy sweets and before them stole sweets from shops a few times.I'd never dream of doing it now.

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  11. SilverStuddedCowgirlApril 29, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    I'm the older sister of a brother with asperger's. I can remember all of the 'fun' we used to have trying to break him of his stealing habits. We actually had to remove everything ~ and I mean EVERYTHING~ from our guest bedroom to use it as a time away room. it is not an exaggeration to say that his time aways lasted 8 hours sometimes, and not a quiet eight hours, I might mention. Joe is now 23 and is living with two roommates independantly, but even now, underneath the sofa and behind the oversized picture frames, one can still find all of the holes, spots, and rug discolorations of those days... I love Joe to death, and laugh to think back on the long hours spent outside the guest room door wondering what the sound he was making could possibly mean. I'll bet you all could have used an empty room at some point or another, from the comments I've seen ~ Haha!

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  12. My son has Aspergers,ADHD, and ODD, oh my gosh....he comes home with things and I don't know where they come from...He always says someone gave it to me, and at first that was true...someone always gave it to him. If he was bringing things home, I would make him get a note from the person who gave it to him and their phone #...Now as he is getting older it just seems to be getting worse, he has no regards for other people, and today the school called because he took a piece of plastic from one of his teachers, seriously a piece of plastic, he can't stop, and the lying goes on and on....he has also started disappearing from the house for hours at a time, well past 10:00 at night...he goes into the woods and rides his bike and I can't ever find him....he takes tools from my husband, food that is not his, money out of my purse, and so on........I can't lock him up and I can't tie his hands behind his back either (even if I did he would figure out a way to get free) it is so frustrating, and now he has behaviour modification at school, yeah ok that will work....

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  13. Thank you for making me realise I am not alone. My son is Aspergers and is aged 7, for the past few months his nurse and I have been trying to figure out ways to stop him stealing and the lies he tells are so frustrating too. I no longer feel alone in this. Its awful but thank you all xxxxxxx

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  14. I have a going to be 16 year old...I am so scared for him!!!! I cry all the time not knowing what to do or say or react at times. People who don't deal with aspergers on a daily basis just don't get it!!!! I am so happy I have found that I am not alone. I have tried to find suport groups in my area but no luck. It would just be nice to talk and share things with someone whom understands.

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    1. I know, first hand exactly how you are feeling. Our grandson, who we have an awful lot has Asperger's. We don't get any respite ,We have tried every approach possible often feel like throwing the towel in but because of our love for him, carry on trying and hoping. I Have to try living one day at a time, sometimes an hour or less at a time. What a relief eh, to know it's not just us and what we are doing or not doing. It's a complete waste of time trying to talk and explain to others who do not have an Aspie in their lives. So glad I found you all. love and hope to you all.

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  15. I have a 13 year old daughter dx'd Asperger's and BiPolar Type 2. I also have a 9 year old Asperger's, and two other children (11 and 8) not on the spectrum. My 13 year old daughter had a huge habit of stealing around the house. About 6 months ago, we caught her stealing from the store. I lectured her, took away her priviledges and called her teacher at home (she had originally told me she had gotten the item from her teacher) after that, her behaviour stopped.

    Well, about a month and a half ago, our roommate moved in his 9 year old son. He's either mild-moderate Autism or Asperger's. He hasn't been treated with anyone other than a general practice doctor filling his scripts (Concerta, Risperdal and Clonodine). He had to bring him because he had been living with his grandmother and she called our roommate up (about 4 months after she had kicked him out) and told him he had to come get M, that she never wanted to see him again and was tired of his behaviours. He tried to get M's mother to take him because she was in town and had been asking to keep him for awhile (out of state divorce) and it seemed to be the easiest solution since roommate needed to keep his job. Instead, M's mother refused and he got stuck here. I had to quit my job and school to stay home with M because he doesn't function independently.

    Shortly after getting here, things started going missing. I would ask M if he had seen it/them/whatever. He would deny it. We found candy (mostly), Lego guys he had taken from my son's massive and very dear collection, and some misc food items in M's things over the next few weeks. Each time we caught it we would go over why you aren't supposed to steal. M would stare blankly with no reaction but darting his eyes and rubbing his eyes. UNTIL it affected him. We took away his DS and he would cry. About a week after he got here, my daughter and my son's DSi's went missing. I distinctly remember where I had left them and frequently searched the spot in the room (ironically next to M's space in the house, but under stuff -- they had gotten their DS's taken for 2 weeks for bad behaviour). I tore the spots around it apart, right in front of M. I would ask him, and my other kids, "Did you see them? Did you take them? Do you know where they are?". He would always reply no with his blank stare and no emotion.

    We had a meeting with M's teacher yesterday at his school about his progress, academically he is behind but showing growth. She said "Oh, I have a bag for you." I opened the bag and there were the two DSi's that had been missing for a month and a half. We got them home and charged them and M had deleted all my daughters pictures off her DSi of her father and his family (who live out of state and she hasn't seen in two years) and replaced them with pictures of himself making various faces. SHE IS DEVASTATED. She is AS and BiPolar and let me tell you, it took everything in my power tonight to prevent her from choking him.

    How do we stop this from happening? I really can't deal with this any longer, it's ripping my family apart ....

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  16. This entry seems to be about 2 years old, so I am guessing the girl is 9 now. Have you found a solution yet? Or anything that gives a sign of improvement? I have a nephew who is 10 (going on 11) with AS, and we have this issue with him BIG TIME. And the problem is that, well, most kids with AS have a niche, and his is assembling and disassembling things...

    He loves to put stuff together, build stuff, disassemble to see how things work, etc. And a lot of the things he's taken have been used for his "creations". But he is much like your daughter. He takes the most random stuff, and he too will often hide it. He's even taken my oldest nephew's acne medicine. But he often crosses the line... he has gone as far as taking money, and precious keepsakes. We've done nearly everything you listed and we even tried taking stuff of his. He stole money out of my rainy day jar, so I took his piggy bank and put it in my room. He was pretty upset, and when he came to tell my dad what I did, my dad said, "It is mean that your aunt took your money, isn't it? You don't like it. That money is yours, not hers, and now she is keeping it. Well you did the same to her. You took something of hers. You stole money from her." And it backfired... his argument started to focus on how I stole from HIM. Because well, I did take it from him. As you can tell, he missed the point.

    Now he's starting to steal from his siblings, and they tend to approach it differently, as kids would. They go into his room, find something of theirs, get mad, and usually come up and start yelling at him and hitting him. We've explained to them that he works differently, but how much do you expect kids to truly comprehend the situation? There's 4 of them in this house, and they have their own limited space and stuff and it is all precious to them. So naturally it infuriates them when one of them just takes their things like its nothing.

    And like your daughter, he HATES sharing his things. He doesn't even like other people being in his room.

    Not to mention, he's stolen from neighbors before too. He's taken tools out of one of our neighbors yard before. Now when the man is missing a tool, he comes to us.

    So I'd like to know if you've made any break throughs? I know society will not be as accepting and understanding of their situation.

    I've gone to AS forums and asked for help. People either don't have the issue or swear that its them trying to make a "connection" to you. Not to sound cynical or anything, but I doubt it is that. There is nothing sentimental in acne wash.

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    1. Katie - I have made an update to this post (above). I wish I could offer more help, but like you, I am just muddling through. You are not alone! Clearly there are lots of us out here who have children in the autism spectrum who steal.

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  17. I laughed & cried. I have a 17 yr old son with the same issues. And no, Im sorry to say, I have no sure fire answer to solve his problems either. I do feel for you. Sometimes it is funny & sometimes it is scary. I fear that one day he is going to end up in very serious trouble & end up in juvi or someplace like it & wont understand why. He has no concept of value & many times has stolen things that he cant even use. It makes no logical sense, but logical is not in his vocabulary. I do wish you luck & I pray we both get some answers soon

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  18. Wow. This story is very insightful. Mainly because I am 18 with a 13 year old brother who has Aspergers, Tourettes And ADHD (so I'm definitely new to all of this). I recently moved my daughter and I out of our home and quit my job to help my mother with my younger brother. I am still learning how to deal with his behavior, but at times I get very angry and start to yell or scream, knowing that this does not help the situation (I also suffer from being Bipolar). I still have not figured out how to stay calm and understand where his mind wanders to and why it is he does the things he does. The past few days he has done nothing but steal and lie to me and our mother both. In fact, he is in trouble today for stealing my mothers cigarettes and being caught smoking them at school. I'm pretty much at a lose of words, he just got in trouble for stealing my cigarettes 2 nights ago. I would have thought he would know better by now. But, I guess there is a lot i still need to learn about this. I have reminded my mother today about the stealing and lying linked with Aspergers, of course from articles I've only just read.
    I have also found the two of us (mother and I) fighting and arguing lately, and it is because of the fact I simply do not comprehend how the autistic mind works. Instead i resort to anger, because unfortunately that is all i know how to do. I do not want to fight anymore, I do not want to lower his self esteem anymore than it already is and I do want to learn how to handle these mixed emotions better. So my question is, Does anyone have advice on how to maintain a positive attitude and staying calm when dealing with these types of situations? If so, please do tell... I am open to any suggestions.

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    1. Anonymous - You know, I'm in my 40's and was raised by a very calm, quiet-natured family... it's it's hard even for me to stay calm when it seems to be one thing after the next with my autistic daughter.

      I think it will be VERY important for both you and your mother to have time to be away from your brother... a mental health break for you. Difficult children can drive anyone batty after too long. Since you and your mom have each-other, set up a schedule - be sure to print it out/write it all down so that all of you know what it is - and take turns. You and your mom should do your best to give each other 1 or 2 "days off" each week. It doesn't have to be a whole day - but it should be a few hours. During your day off times, you need to get out of the house and do something for YOU. Go for a walk in a beautiful place, read a book under a tree or in at a back table of a coffee shop or diner. Get creative... Our own family is very tight on money so I tend to do things that are pretty much free - - but these times are still great for my wavering sanity!

      Also, be sure your brother has a true diagnosis and that his doctor will testify to it (hopefully not in court, but to other programs that can help you). In most states Social Services can provide "Respite" (pronounced "res spit" - yeah - I didn't know how to say it at first - LOL). They make you jump through hoops to get respite, but it is SO worth it! Someone will come to your house and help out with your brother for a set number of hours each week. Someone has to be there (they are not a baby-sitting service) but they will interact with him to give you some time off. They are also generally trained in techniques of helping families deal with difficult children/teens. They'll suggest new things to try (and as you probably know, what may work this week may not work next week) and it's easy for us caretakers to run out of ideas.

      Hang in there. When you feel like screaming (and at times he may be TRYING to get you to freak out) stay a step ahead of him by taking a deep breath and saying "Screaming is not helpful, so I am going to go calm down for a few minutes. After I calm down, we are going to talk about this!" Then go scream bloody murder into your pillow or do something else to blow off that steam. When you come back, be prepared for him to try to upset you again. Think of it as a game - if he makes you blow up, he wins. If he doesn't - YOU win.

      These kids tend to get hing up on "repeat" and demand the same thing over and over. If he does that, say "I already gave you my answer and that answer is not going to change." Yeah - he'll interrupt you, so keep repeating that phrase until you're pretty sure he knows what you said. After that, turn the tables on him and ask, "What was my answer? Do you remember?" Yes - he will likely keep arguing for what ever it is he wants, but by going through these steps, you have helped his autistic mind try to learn to make new connections. (Big WIN for you!)

      After he understands the "What" and "Why" of each of these situations that come up, it's time to END the conversation. This is what it is and this is why you gave him the answer you did. End of conversation. (I make it sound so easy, don't I?) We all know it is WAY hard when you're actually trying to DO it! Hang in there.

      The fact that you want to know and learn more makes you come across like a very intelligent and good person to me. Get days off, remember that staying calm in front of your brother is a game you can totally learn to win, and look for outside help!
      ((HUGS))

      Delete
  19. Well, like many of the other people who have posted on this blog, I am glad to see I am not alone. I am new to this kind of situation. My girlfriend's oldest child is a diagnosed aspy and bi polar; now I knew this coming in, and while I will never run away, even to save my sanity, I just can't help hoping that the programs that have been made to help kids like him and parents they have allowed such a "gap or blindspot" to develop. Thanks for the support and the comaderie.

    thanks again,
    New and bewildered

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    Replies
    1. I understand your confusion! I am step mom to a 10 y.o Aspie son. I've been every day mom for almost 5 years and as he has grown, his behaviors have changed. Some are better. He no longer picks up trash to play with as he would a toy- but he lies and steals like they are Olympic events and he's going for the gold!

      Neener is also ADHD and has bi-polar tendencies. Grounding, spanking, time outs, lectures, explaining to him the other side of the story, you name it- we've tried it.

      I think the crux of it is that Aspie's seem to learn best when there is a direct, immediate, related and uncomfortable consequence. Kinda like when you're little and Mom says "The stove is hot!" We all wonder "How hot is hot?" So we touch the damn thing and burn a finger and figure it out. Neener can tell you that the stove will burn, that falling off his bike (with training wheels!) hurts, etc. And he can tell you by rote why lying and stealing is wrong. But he can't stop the impulse... There isn't an immediate, memorable enough consequence to enforce the wrongness and give him a feedback loop to recall the next time he wants to lie or steal.

      I remind myself that eventually he'll grow out of some of this stuff- but it will take a much longer time... Keep your chin up. Aspie's do have some wonderful traits!

      Delete
  20. I have a 13 year old son(almost 14),diagnosed with AS. Strange things certainly happen in this house! One of the most resent disappearances are hubbys razor blades and that makes me worry. We have questioned him on this subject but got the usual response. Not me! I do worry for his future.
    I hope this site will continue to be used as i'm also glad to know we are not alone.
    Susan

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  21. Hi,
    firstly id like to say ive been following and reading your blogs for almost 8 months now,and im in awe of you,i love reading your blogs :-)

    My stepson was fully diagnosed with aspergers about 3 weeks ago,but we have been treating him like an asd child for the past year after i done a huge amount of research on his behaviours.

    I think ive tried every possible thing to try and curb his stealing,even to the point where i dragged him to the local police station and asked a policeman to speak to him about the rights and wrongs of stealing(he only stole a piece of chewing gum out of his mums bag) he was mortified,he was crying and scared and i thought it had worked and got through to him...IT DIDNT...the very next day he stole something again.We have found tho that when he steals from school and sneaks it home,we make him take it back the next day and hand it to his teacher in front of the class,he feels really embarresed,hes stealing from school is not as bad it was now and id like to think that him having to hand it back in front of his whole class is working to some extent.

    Keep up the fantastic blogs,your an inspiration
    Spidey

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  22. Hi I have a 14 year old son with Aspergers. He is stealing all the time now. At home and at school. I search his pockets, bag and room regularly. Last week I found 36 empty crisp packets in his drawer! Sorry to say I have no solution either, but it is nice to know we are not alone.
    Sarah

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  23. My seven yr old daughter with autism has been stealing too, it started at home to the extent that we had to put a lock on the pantry and has now started stealing from school too. We r at our wits end as she doesn't even acknowledge that she took the things even though they would be found in her bed, schoolbag or even on occasion in her own hands. We have tried all the normal punishments from taking her toys away to time out.

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  24. My 10yr old son has aspergers,adhd,mood disorder,ocd etc. i am totally beside myself as im sure his school is too,his last school im sure was glad to not have to deal with my sons hitting a teacher,throwing chairs,threating to bring a knife to school to harm others.Since we changed schools he doesnt do all that,but its the lying,stealing that continues compulsively,that lead the school to suspend him two days.This will make no difference to him because,one been there done that in his last school.When hes suspended,he has no tv,no toys,but homework and yet he still finds a way to pass time,aka boredom,he finds paper to make paper claws and other clever shapes.My son shows no remorse for what he does,just when hes caught.Hes very clepto.i tell others hes mary poppins because i have to spend what feels like 5 minutes taking thing out of his pants pocketss that are his,mixed with what he steals.Sewing his pockets or giving him pants with no pockets wont work becausr he always comes up with a hiding place such as in his shoe.I been taking him to therapy weekly for 6-7 years,been through one therapist after another,he seea a phsycologist as well for his meds(daytrana patch 20 mg,abilify 5mg,straterra 18mg and kapvay 0.1 mg he takes twice of.I been counseling with the phsycologist and nothing new to help me with or suggests.(im not good at spelling,i know),but like many of you,you are concerned of the future and present of the many behavioral set backs.I am so drained.

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  25. I am so glad I have found this blog, just had a blow out with are 14 yr daughter who was diagnose with Aspergers in oct. Like everyone else, I have laughed and cried whilst reading all the posts here. It is so comforting to know that it is not just us. despite working in education with children for all abilities from 11 to 18 yr olds, for 18 years it is so different when it is your own!
    thankfully or annoyingly (i'm not sure which) my daughter only steals stuff from my wife and I, her focus is food and especially food! so we have just found what is left of one of my wife's Xmas presents in her room .
    as with so many of the other comments it is not so much what she has taken(again!) but what might happen later on in life. She is a very bright child and is doing very well at school ( pretty much A's in all subjects accept languages), but doesn't get that taking other peoples things without asking just isn't on!

    I do worry about my other 2 children who are 5 and 9 , and the impact that all of this will have on them, but I guess like everyone we will just have to keep smiling and do the best we can.

    hugs to you all, just remember no matter what we still love the little.... ;O)

    Gary
    London England

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  26. My son was born premature and expected some development issues. He will be 4 in March (should be June) and he's been enrolled in everything possible since birth. He's in EI school, and loves it. Since last Spring we've noticed some behaviors, discussed at length with teachers, Dr, ect. Since the Holidays started he's just been out of control. Meltdowns, screaming, pushing his brother and never lets his brother have anything. He doesn't like his brother looking at him during meal times. ( Their Uncle is Autisic, and I chalked up some things, learning habits-or are they) So, their Dad tells me 4 or 5 days ago we should have him tested. The next morning I did my Google thing, low and behold-I self diagnosed myself, and naturally I think he may have Aspergers too, maybe along with a sensory issue. The meltdowns and bedtime have us both dreading 5-6pm, every day. It's hard enough to keep my own anger in control, let alone the both of us. I'm struggling, and hey..There's a lot of missing toys around here! I'm at a loss at where they could be. I can't keep toys in a toybox, they all end up in the other side of the room where his brother sleeps. Only some toys can stay I guess. If I clean it up, within 2-3 days it looks exactly as it does now. You can't even get to the bed, you'll hurt yourself stepping on all the crap he throws over. He use to do this in the kitchen, since a gate is there as well. I'm so new to this idea, and nothing concrete but I can tell you one thing. I am so relieved to know and understand what has been wrong with me all my life. So thankful! I'm not nearly as stressed as I was, knowing this. I will be cruising through your site, we are truly not alone in this battle. Oh, and am waiting for a call back from his teacher to see what testing can be done there, and calling the DR after that. Angie-diagnosed severely depressed at age 21-dismissed from counseling cause they didn't think they could help me any further and didnt' want me to waste any more money. Now 36 with 2 boys, both micro preemies. 1 age 3 1/2 and 1 1/2.

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  27. WOW! WOW! WOW! Like many of you, I turned to google today to see if lying and stealing were related to aspergers. My boyfriend's son has AS and ADHD. For the most part, he's a good kid. But he will steal. And when he's caught, he will look you straight in the face and lie like it's the truth! Even though he knows he's been caught and we know that he's taken something (again!) I am in the USA. I moved from California to Georgia (3000 miles) last January to be with my guy, who I met on facebook. lol. Anyways, I knew about his son having AS and ADHD. The first few months were good. But shortly after his 13th birthday in May, his attitude changed. He became defiant, verbally and physically abusive, and then we started noticing him "finding" things just about every day on his way home from school. His father kept making excuses for him, believing he was "finding" things, or that someone "gave" him these things. I was suspicious from the get go. Well, needless to say, now he is starting to accept that his son steals and lies. I sure wish there were answers. I am getting exhausted as he works 24 hour shift at the fire dept., and sometimes takes extra shifts in between. I want to cry and pull my hair out sometimes. I just don't know what to do. I am SO thankful to know, though, that this appears to be a symptom of AS. If I figure something out, or find out about any new treatments, this will be the FIRST place I post. :) Best of luck to everyone.

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  28. Our daughter, who is 10, was diagnosed with aspergers just this past week. We have been through quite a bit and stealing has been going on, that we know of, for a year. It's one specific child at school because this girl makes her angry and the girl is mean. She does this to punish the girl. I marched her to the police station after She was suspended from school recently for stealing the girls money. I believe she is mimicking my behavior. Think about it, when our children do something wrong what do most parents do? They, "take" things away! I don't know about any of your children but for mine I believe she truly thinks she is punishing this girl for being mean to her. Not making excuses and it's not acceptable behavior. We have repeatedly told her she will end up in jail if she keeps doing this. The psychiatrist asked her about the stealing and she said it was from this girl and that she really believes she steals to teach this girl a lesson by taking things away that are enjoyable to her.

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  29. In my home, it's our 12 year old daughter. She was adopted at 14 months old. She came from a wonderful foster care home, receiving tons of love and attention from foster parents and their older kids. She walked into our home as a 14 month-old toddler and almost immediately things started disappearing. Just about everywhere she goes, including stores, she takes things. We've found everything from useless junk to cell phones. Her response has always been "I found it" even when everyone knows she stole it.

    We're working through the school system to get help as we're on limited funds and cannot afford private therapy/counseling. She has been on medication for ADHD for many years. We've been told she has an incurable/untreatable oppositional defiance disorder. She's also one of the sweetest kids you'll ever meet, loves horses, board-games, playing outside, and coloring. As her dad, it breaks my heart on almost a daily basis to think about her future and how eventually, she'll get sucked into the criminal justice system regardless of diagnosis and treatment if she continues to steal.

    I have nothing but heart-felt emapthy and tears for everyone who above who has posted similar comments. I can only hope and pray that there soon will be some way to effectively help kids (and the parents of kids) deal with this compulsion. Until then, my heart goes out to each and every one of you.

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  30. My child is 15. I did not know a connection between aspie and stealing existed until now although I have suspected it. I had not known of anyone talking about it before now. He steals anything and everything. Not every day but enough to concern me for his later years. I have done all the above and nothing works. He has done this since he was old enough to walk. Even tho knowing he is not alone in this helps me in knowing where it comes from I am concerned. Thank you for your blogs on this and all the comments.

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  31. I so feel everyone's pain here! My daughter (Iraq) has gotten no better... the stealing continues. The other day I found about $150 worth of DS games in a cute little DS holder (not hers) hidden away. She said she has had it for maybe a month or more.

    Right now the US has very, very little support for people with these kinds of issues. Autism is one thing, but kleptomania... most people still erroneously believe we can punish this out of our kids. We can't.

    There are drugs and more drugs... but it is hit-or-miss (and more often than not, miss) to find something that works even to take the edge off.

    Hugs to all!
    Leigh of Adasperdown

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    Replies
    1. Help-I had some friends staying over at my house for five days last week. One of their teen sons has Asbergers.The day after they left we found a change jar was missing, then found the jar empty and hidden in the back of an under sink cabinet. We started searching for anything else missing and found that about $200 in cash (bills) was gone from a small wooden chest that had been in a desk filing slot, and two iPod nano things. I was embarassed to call my friend but did, to tell her of what was missing. She said she asked her sons and they denied any knowledge. Should I call her back and tell her about the kleptomania info I found on this site or what? Any suggestions how to approach this delicate situation? I'm out a lot of money!

      Delete
    2. Regardless of if your friend's son has Asperger's or not, the simple facts are that things are missing from your home. Has anyone else been in your home that could have taken these items? If not, then you really, really need to present the evidence to your friend and ask for your items back... or the money for them.

      Remember - a person doesn't have to have Aspergers to steal things. It's possible their other son might have stolen the items to sell on the streets or whatever. Some kids do it for the thrill. (Aspies generally do it because it is a compulsion - but not all aspies steal.)

      For the record, most people who steal (by compulsion or just for the thrill) will deny doing it... so please don't hesitate to press your friend to dig a bit deeper and perhaps dig through her sons' belongings. Unfortunately it is likely that if the items were stolen for the thrill, they have already been sold at school or where ever. (A kid with Asperger's is less likely to sell the items and more likely to hide/hoard them.)

      Good luck!

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    3. Yes, I took pics to send to her of similar items so she could be on the lookout. I'm suspicious it was the Asperger son and think they may just be with his stuff still...I hope. He was the only one that had been in the room they were missing from, as he took a shower there because the front bathroom was being used. No one else has been in the house. Delicate situation but the family is an awesome family and are cooperating. Thanks for info. You are a treasure to those who deal with this special challenge. God bless you.

      Delete
  32. My son is 6 and has been stealing since he was about 3, people thought it was funny, sweet and just his age, now it's not so funny. To cut a very long story short we did everything from taking his toys away to making him take things back, I couldn't think what to do to make him stop, then one day I asked why he did it, he just said he couldn't help it. I felt so sorry for him. So there and then we made a deal, if he 'had' to take something when he came home from a friends, aunties or school he had to show me what he had taken and then I would tell him if he could keep it ( a 1 pence he found on the floor, a broken pencil sharpener, a hair clip etc,) if it was something more ( money, a phone and so on) I'd take it back and explain, I don't make him take it back or explain or punish him and so far he brings home more things he can keep than not. Good luck and I hope we all find our own ways x

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  33. My aspie step son lives with his grandparents by his and their choice. He is not allowed to order anything on the computer because they are so afraid of having their accounts tampered with, but it came to our attention that about a week ago they had to close a checking account because of unauthorised charges. My husband noticed that his son had been getting a lot of things sent to his grandparents and asked him where it was all coming from, and his son admitted that he had taken his grandfathers debit card and made purchases with it.

    When the grandparents admitted they closed the account after $1300 was missing. My husband told them what he knew, certain his son would be confronted and man up, but my step son called as usual and mentioned nothing.

    We are appalled at the way this was handled, and are comforted that other aspie kids do the same thing.



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  34. I am wondering if anyone has found a medication that works to help with the urges to steal. My son is just 22 and is sitting in jail awaiting sentencing for getting drunk and then walking around trying car doors. If the doors opened he took out junk like gum , key chains. He was arrested. None of the car owners are pressing charges but he is still dealing with the state. He is very bright, ADHD and has Aspbergers...but it is not recognizable to many because he is so bright. Like all of you, this was an issue from childhood that I tried everything to teach him not to do. So... I am hoping that someone found some medications that might help. It is a horrible thing and if there is not something to help stop it jail is the next phase. Hopefully not prison.

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    Replies
    1. We've recently boosted my daughter's dose of Zoloft and it seems to be taking the edge off some of her OCD tendencies - like stealing. Keeping our fingers crossed at this point!!!
      Leigh

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  35. I amSO happy to have found this blog! Like all who have written, I'm at the end of my rope with my son's stealing! He is 16, adhd, aspie, pddnos, ocd, PTSD sexual trauma, and The Good Lord only knows what else! Involved with Juv. court probation, and so trying to keep him from being arrested. He has the abilty to knnow stealing is wrong, but can't internalize "stop" this is wrong. I was so comforted to know I'm not the only one! He is on prozac for picking, and concerta for adhd....no consequence has helped..except..when he was caught shoplifting(at 15) and police brought him home, he is scared to death I'll call the police. So that is the next step... in a half hour of this conversation he wants "to do what he wants" I closed myself and cat behind my locked bedroom door, afraid I would either go off on him again or call the police. I'm slowly learning to not alow my "angel with horns" to take away my peace. Good luck to all, and thank you for this blog site.

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  36. My 14 year old son has ADD ODD and Aspergers and steals constantly. Sometimes I can get him to give back what he took but most of the time it is just lost. He doesn't seem to care about anyone else when he steals. He has yet to admit it but I think that he stole my husband's engraved wallet I gave him for his birthday the first year we were together. My husband is gone now and that wallet was very sentimental but my son does not seem to be able to connect that. Just today he stole all of the money in my wallet, a bag of quarters I keep in my diaper bag and all of the change I keep in a jar in my bedroom. I feel like a prisoner and like I can't have anything in my own house. I have a hard time understanding why he is doing what he is doing and it is hard for me not to take it personally. I feel like he is trying to hurt me everytime he steals from me or my family. My family does not want him in their homes anymore and I am becoming distanced from them because my son can't leave their houses without taking something. I wish there was a solution but it helps to know that I am not alone.

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  37. Hmmm... I read a blog a little while ago about how a parent's child has issues with whining. Yes, they tried everything. No, they hadn't used that term lightly. They had no idea what to do to stop it. One day, they'd just read the kid the riot act (along the lines of "If I've told you once, I've told you a million times: Don't whine!"). Child's response? "What's whining?"

    So I just wonder if she actually has the word 'stealing' in her vocabulary because if she doesn't, she doesn't understand what it is that you, policeman and such are not telling her to do.

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    1. LOL!! Yes - she certainly does know the definition of "whining" and "stealing" and has since she was a toddler. This is NOT a matter of a child who doesn't have a full understanding of the terminology her parents are using, but one of a child in the autism spectrum whose brain does not process information in the same way as a "typical" person. She does not learn the same way or react the same way.

      She is currently 10 years old, has a high IQ and still whines, has major meltdowns and steals things regularly (pretty much daily... yesterday it was a left shoe... one of mine). Currently there is no "cure" for kleptomania or therapy that has been approved for children... though I admit the last time I was at a pet store I found myself pausing briefly in front of the electric training collars before sighing and moving on.

      Delete
    2. Your last line here just made me LOL! :)
      If ONLY...

      It is healthy to keep a sense of humor about things, although this is often easier said than done! My daughter has had sticky fingers since she was a toddler but I always figured she would grow out of it as her understanding increased and with continued ethical guidance... No way! It has gotten worse, especially increasing steadily in the past two years (she is now seven). Last week after we had just discussed the issue with her psychiatrist, we were driving home and found her snow boots stuffed with legos from his office! He had even directly asked her before we left to make sure she didn't have any of his things in her possession, to which she assuredly shook her head and solemnly said "No." Finding our stuff hidden around her room or outside is sadly almost normal now in our family, but branching out directly to people in the outside world is newer, and more worrisome. Worst of all, is she can explain why it is wrong to steal but she does not seem to feel one iota of guilt... Even after leading her through the "How would you feel if...?" empathy discussion plus illegality of the act, she apologizes sweetly then asks if she could "just keep one," or say she just "really wants them." I am overwhelmed for this and for many other reasons related to her behaviour! Thanks for all the discussion on the subject, and for the laugh! :)

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  38. I have an aspie 9 hear old son mix with adhd. the aspie is a new diagnosis. We are on a budget and can not afford to move. This state just don't have the resources to help me with my son. He is stealing and from everywhere. I am the only one who has caught him but I think stores like wal mart is suspicious because I have "their secret people" following me around wal mart. It has gotten so bad I have to pat him down before we leave a store. He has now moved to stealing from me and when we walk in a store he goes and finds what he wants quick while I am distracted by my daughter and her friends and pays for it with money he stole from me and I don't know how much he spent till he gets home and I put the pieces together that he stole from me. I lock things up in my room and he gets a screw driver and takes my door knob off and gets in and takes money. HELP!!! CPS is involved now because they think that kids only steal when trouble is going on at home.....

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    Replies
    1. Go back to the folks that gave your son his diagnosis and involve them. Tell them all about the stealing. If and when they claim that people with Asperger's don't necessarily steal, send them here.

      I feel for you!!!

      Delete
  39. I can relate. My 16 year old aspie has progressed to breaking in houses. Therapists are pushing for legal consequences, but I am resisting, when I can. He has been charged with burlary twice. Has court tomorrow, but there is more to the story that they do not know. It is frustrating for me to accept that as a parent, I am expected to handle my son with "kid gloves on" while they can do any abuse they please and it is legal. So worried about the future, but I think the advise of involving evaluation person and making medical record notes is a good thing to do...hope it is not too late for us. Also, we started Zoloft in Dec...may need to increase it. So glad to have read this and know that we are not alone.

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  41. I don't know if it makes me feel better to know that others are going through the same thing or to feel more overwhelmed and hopeless. My 12 year started stealing a couple years ago. It doesn't matter who, what, where or when; if he wants it, he will take it and then lie where he got it from. He has stolen from the neighbors, babysitter, school, and myself. His stealing has caused financial strains all too frequently.

    Like many of you, I have tried everything. I worry that I am wearing down. I am considering letting him live with his father, however, I don't think that it would be in his best interest.

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  42. So this summer I found out my aspie son stole my CC and charged $260 on it. I was able to get some of it back by shear luck. Now today he did it again! To my dismay my wife will not enforce punishment and I think that i why it happened again. We started to make him pay it back, but that fell by the wayside because of the incessant whining. I hate Minecraft and I think that is the worst thing for a aspie, but it gets my son out of my wife's hair. So now the tab is up to almost $400! I'm to the point of writing the items on a index cad and placing them under the tree. Anyone care to comment? Thanks for reading :)

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  43. My son who is now 18 has been stealing from us for years. We have tried everything, hiding our cc and debit cards. He always seems to find and use them. He has asp. and ahdc and a high IQ. he has stolen at school and from other family members. we have been seeing Pychs. and counselors since he was 5. He has been arrested and been in the juvenile system since he was 11. Now that he 18 he will be charged as an adult. He has stolen again just this week, his addiction is Microsoft points. I have contacted Microsoft and the bank and there is nothing they can do. Take away the Xbox and he makes our lives miserable. I am at the point having turn him into the police. I don't want to do this, but I am out choices.

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  44. I am 43 and have Aspergers. I used to steal all the time, as a child. It was related to the visual stim around shiny objects or bright colors, and also hoarding. I still have these issues, but I no longer steal.
    It took some severe examples of Cause and Effect- I had to learn natural consequences of stealing. I lost friends, even adult of friends of the family, and I also had to have a mortifying conversation with some shopkeepers- as well as to eventually be threatened with juvenile hall- but I got it.
    It's really the only way, but you HAVE to provide alternatives. I currently "collect" things digitally: photos, shopping carts full of stuff I won't buy, iTunes music, etc. I also keep non-stolen things around me that I got legitimately.

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    1. Thank you... Great perspective.

      Delete
  45. Ps, for those of you with older kids stealing money, I honk it's related to a lack of understanding of what's in others heads. You need to work with them on what happens after they steal: what is the result to the rightful owner of the money/goods? How does the theft negatively affect e rightful owner? What hardships and emotions do they experience?

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  46. Thank you fro this blog, I know it is old, but thank you!!! I am beside myself with my son. He has been diagnosed with high ADHD, PDD-NOS, Tics, Sensory Integration Disorder, and ODD. He is 15 years old. He was misdiagnosed for years and my concerns were blown off by doctors. We have gone through several types of therapy and doctors to help him. He is on several meds. He has stolen our credit cards, family members' credit cards, ordered porn, and bought things online to list a few things. We even did out patient therapy, but nothing works. He has now become violent at home. The schools do not see this behavior, supposedly. We are so lost and hurt. So thank you for this blog and others that wrote in, I know we are not alone.

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  47. So refreshing to read all these posts and know that others understand what I have to endure. My 14 year old daughter has completely ostracised one of her sisters through her stealing. She is highly intelligent and has a scholarship at a fee paying boarding school. I am so scared they will ask her to leave if they realise the extent of her thieving. We also have the inappropriate sexual behaviour and risk taking on the internet. As a single parent I am beside myself with worry for her safety.

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  48. Not sure if I should laugh or cry, as I can share very similar stories. My granddaughter who is 6, has been living with me and my husband on and off for four 4 years. At 3, she started 'lifting" things from time to time from stores or day care, putting them in her pants,. At first we thought it was just not knowing any better. But as she got older, this behavior combined with other behaviors caused me to do research and conclude that she is an aspie (though not yet formally diagnosed). Her "lifting" seems to be an impulse that she doesn't seem to be aware of as being "wrong" in "the moment". However, after the fact,she suffers some "guilt" and will lie about it. This year, she started coming home with things that don't belong to her from "after care" and school. Most of the items are of little or no value and many are bizarre. One day she came home with 6 glue sticks from school, sparkle dust off the floor, pieces of cut string and scraps of paper.. Her pockets are full of rubber bands, scraps of paper, multiple pencils, feathers, even "dirt"...literally dirt that she collected. But sometimes, the things she takes in the house, or "relocates", are of importance or value. One day we saw her pick up a rental key to an apartment of ours and get ready to put it in her pocket. Two days ago, she picked up my "sims" card from my desk and wanted to play with it. She is attracted to different tectures, shapes and loves punching holes in things, cutting string. heaven forbid we throw any of it away. To me, it seems to be a coping mechanism for anxiety. It would be great to come up with some techniques before she gets older. I think the less guilt she feels with the behavior, the more likely she is to feel freer to ask for things instead of take them, but who knows. It is discouraging that there has been so little help in the field relating to this issue.

    Her bed is another story...At first, only stuffed animals showed up. Then I realized she had started a "stash" under her pillow.....binoculars, a compass,pencils, crayons writing paper, paper clips, blank scraps of paper, straws, thermometer, little fuzzy feathers and mysterious treasures that miraculously appeared. She doesn't like me to look at it because she thinks I will be mad. I let her keep the things in bed, except if I see something that she might get impaled on....seriously.

    My sense is she needs these things to be "grounded"., but she realizes it is weird and open to ridicule, so she hides and hordes. I ask her to show me her treasures but she is embarrassed by the stuff. Isn't there is a way to place 'weights" in the pockets of aspies, so they feel more grounded.

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  49. Our son is 12 and has Aspergers and we are constantly dealing with the issue of stealing food, hiding it, lying about it and it is especially bad when it comes to anything remotely sweet. It's as though it's an addiction he can't resist. But he doesn't feel guilty or remorseful unless he gets caught. He also has ADD and the sugar destroys any benefit he gets from his medication. Lately he has begun to steal clothing and toys from his little sister and clothes from me. My husband and I are at our wits end; and we don't know if the therapy works. Help!

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    1. I wish I had the answers! We have installed keyed locks on the master bedroom door and have purchased mini lockers/lock boxes to keep "items of interest" safe. The food is still a problem and we may be putting a lock on the refrigerator door soon. If we had a pantry, we'd put a lock on that too, but unfortunately we don't. We have found the remains of perishable foods in drawers and under beds (yuck). It's been going on for years. *sigh*

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  50. Wow, everyone... Im a Nanna who is trying to help our daughter, to 'manage' her 8 year old daughter, and her stealing. SHe has Aspergers and her mum is fantastic in learning and researching and managing her daily life but of late granddaughter has started this stealing thing from school. Like others have said, she doesn't feel remorse until discovered for the stealing and then lying about it... then her anxiety about what will happen, goes through the roof and a meltdown occurs.. Its like she just 'cant connect the dots' ... to what ownership means.. (or how to cross a road safely for that matter). SHe is a beautiful, caring, loving child but it appears even the 'experts' are unable to assist with this issue. If only all childrens problems could be solved with a hug. (sigh). And sadly the community just cant accept someone with a non typical social behaviour. Her school is good and is trying to assist and be understanding, but the parents of the kids in her class aren't. Sadly, its just another story of a child needing a method for dealing with her disorder of the brain.

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