I have 13 year old son who is has a learning disability and ADHA ( inattentive type) and aspergers syndrome. My son does go to counseling and we are waiting to get into a Psychiatrist. The issues I am dealing with and I don't know weather they are part of the diagnoses I mentioned above or something else but he lies almost all the time and he likes to steal from his family he is always sneaking food into his room and denying it, he is stealing women's undergarments from the house or his grandmothers house and denying it as well he does get in trouble in school and always blames some one else even when he is caught on camera he has taken money from my self and my girlfriend as well as his grandfather he has also been caught with pornographic magazines in his room as well as pictures from the Internet this has been going on for a few years and i am at my whits end and have also considered a youth home for him before he ends up in jail or on the sex offender registry is there any hope for him before it comes to this.
Sounds like he's got some addictive behaviors. Typically when one thinks of addiction, they think of substances. But addiction can be to anything if one has prone to obsessive compulsive behavior. In this case this kind of addiction is not healthy. For one thing he will have to want change before he can get better...
My guess is he feels a sense of shame about it, but can't stop or isn't willing, hence the denial.
Rather than lumping all the instances into a behavioural issue can you deal with them one at a time as they crop up.
For example the stealing food and denying it. Is he not allowed access to the fridge to make himself a snack? If not maybe you have house rules that are too strict or that need re-adjusting so that he can cope and behave within those rules. He may genuinely be hungry/thirsty even if it is at a time when you are not. My son has to have an extra snack sent into school everyday because mid-morning he feels hungry and he cannot concentrate or complete any schoolwork feeling like he needs to eat something.
The stealing money. Does he fully understand the concept of something belonging to someone and you cannot help yourself to it? What is he stealing the money for? Does he get pocket money and is he allowed to spend it on things he wants to buy? Have you used a reward chart whereby good behaviour stickers can be accumulated to earn a reward of his choosing, and when he does something he is not allowed to do he loses a sticker?
Regarding pornography. He is 13. Unfortunately at that age some teenagers are no longer virgins! I don't agree with that, but he is bound to be sexually curious and aware. What information/discussions have you had with him about sexuality, growing up, relationships. He won't be able to deduce this information like other kids sometimes can. He will need it all explained to him in grafic detail. He maybe looking at pornography to get the information he is not getting from you. Can you speak to the school counsellor for example about how you should go about giving him sexual education. Some cities have special groups for teenagers/young adults on the autistic spectrum that cover these issues. You don't end up on the sex offenders register for looking at pornography unless he is looking at something that is illegal. And even if he is doing that, does he understand the concept that 'just because it is on the internet doens't mean you can look at it'. In many instances he will not be able to predict the outcome of his behaviour. You will need to explain these concepts to him and it may take years for him to understand.
Maybe the stealing womens underwear is tied in with the above. Have you talked to him about it? Why is he stealing them? Does he want to find out what women wear? Does he want to wear them?
The lying, even when it is obvious he has done it is just because he has Aspergers and probably can't think of a more convincing lie. To some extent we all lie and we all have things we don't want other people to know about us. However he is not capable of lying well. Does he understand that he could go to jail for stealing? Do you think he has any understanding of that process? Have you heard of things like Social Stories where you can put information into a story form that they can understand.
I think it would be a big help and re-assurance if you could join a parent support group as you will meet lots of other parents and families with similar problems. Even better if it is one where you all socialise together because it will give him an opportunity to meet other children like himself. Does your son go to any clubs or socialise in any way or is he isolated at home?
I also wanted to add that part of the diagnosis of ADHD is impulsiveness. I am sure you know what it means, but basically you do things on impulse without thinking about or knowing the consequences of your actions. Can you speak with the professionals who are involved with your son about these problems you are having. They are very typical, and you should be getting some help and advice about how to be dealing with these things.
In regards to your comment on the above, I have explored all of these options. I have talked to him in regards to the stealing of money, the pornography, as well as the lying and the stealing of undergarments. There inlies the problem, we have explored all options which is why i am now reaching out for help. The rewards seemed to work for a little while, then he fell off the wagon and seemed to not care if he got back on. As for stealing undergarments, it has gone to the extent of stealing little girl's underwear as well as adults. The pornography, he has used money that was stolen from us to purchase business cards and cell phone use from his friends to contact "live" chat with "real" people in which are in the pornography and x-rated conversation numbers...this is the problem. I have worked with physically and mentally challenged people (adults and kids) for the last 3 years, I am very aware of these behaviors and feel that I have a tight grip on how to handle these situations effectively, but this one is a little more difficult as his intelligence level is higher than most. He knows what he is doing and understands that it is wrong and that there are consequences to his behavior. Believe me...he has plenty to eat. He is not denied access to the fridge or other things in the house, but it is the stealing of food from his sibblings, stealing containers of frosting which he will sneak to his room and eat a whole jar, sitting down to eat a slice of pizza, then to turn around to see that he has eaten the entire pizza. He is eating breakfast at home (quite a healthy portion) as well as snacks and lunch at school. A snack after school and then dinner at home. I really don't know what more can be done...he knows that it is wrong, just lilke the other things, but when asked why he does this, the typical response is almost always "I don't know". As for the stealing of undergarments, "i don't know", for the pornography "i don't know", the stealing of money "i don't know". Trust me, we have explored all options in this case and are looking for any bit of help we can use, despite the obvious which we have already tried.
What do the professionals involved have to say about these behaviours?
Does he have any interests and obsessions that you can channel his attention into and keep him too buy for anything else?
Would a visit to the local police station/prison give him something to think about, especially if he is allowed to see the cells etc?
I think professionals should be pushed to give you more help/advice here. Especially as impulsiveness is part of his diagnosis so everyone should be working on helping him to stop and think before he acts. And afterall, you are trying to stop him getting into trouble as he will become legally responsible for his own actions.
Another consideration is boarding school. It maybe that his behaviours might actually get you into a school, or even a private school. It depends what your local Educational Law states. But maybe a totally different environment might do it.
I have just had the information pasted below sent to me via the nas.org in the UK asking us to send this email. Just thought i'd post it here for you to see that there are others with Aspergers also getting themselves into trouble. It's not a solution, but you are not on your own with your difficulties.
Dear Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC
I am writing to urge you to consider the case of Gary McKinnon, a man who is accused of hacking into US computer systems. In 2005 the Crown Prosecution Service decided that his alleged offences were best tried in the US rather than in the UK, and in light of new evidence relating to Asperger syndrome in his case I am asking you to please reconsider the decision.
I understand that he only received a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome in August 2008 and that this hasn’t been taken into account in previous legal proceedings within the UK. This new evidence relating to Asperger syndrome is crucial and I hope you will consider this lifelong developmental disability as relevant now. It is not uncommon for people with Asperger syndrome to develop single-minded, obsessional interests, and to be unaware of the effect their actions have on others.
It is of great concern to me that the likely extradition proceedings may be damaging for a person with Asperger syndrome.
It is likely that if extradited to the US, Gary would be incarcerated in a super-maximum security prison. Conditions within such prisons may lead to extreme distress and a person with Asperger syndrome would be particularly vulnerable to developing mental health problems, especially as Gary would be denied access to those on whom he relies.
I call on you to take urgent action to stop the extradition of Gary McKinnon, and to allow him to stand trial in the UK for a crime he freely admits committing in the UK.
Please contact The National Autistic Society 020 7923 5799 or at ***@**** if you need any further information.
I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.
Sneaking a pornographic magazine at 13 - no need for a shrink for that one. My brothers and my husband all have fond memories of finding their Dad's stash. My brother sold it to his other friends which made Daddy very angry.
My son was caught surfing porn - we put a parental lock on the computer. It is so easy to find and he said it was intriguing. We kind of laughed when he presented a list of where people do it - schools. mass transportation, parks and prison. He had carefully researched the subject. Sam is 10 and very well versed in computer searches.
The woman's underwear - could be the start of a fetish. That may be worth talking to a doctor about. this is the age they start. At 13, puberty is starting to hit. The person usually has a fantasy or masturbates with something - a stuffed animal, a silky piece of woman's underwear and a a fetish is born. I am not judging a fetish here - that is just how they start.
My son has been known to pilfer things (he likes to use that word). Usually its our stuff. A couple of times it happened in a store and once out of a charity box. We returned the item(s) and money and my husband told him if he did it again than the only thing in his room would be a bed left - because that is what you get in a prison cell. He told him that Daddy wouldn't be able to get him out of that trouble. Then we made him watch a documentary on juveniles in detention. Then we made him read a couple of articles about children who had been sent to prison boot camps and had died there. Then I made my brother, who is a correction officer, sit down with him and describe prison life. He gave him the scared straight lecture designed for teenage offenders who are given warnings. It is a scary lecture. Perhaps it is time to explain to the child that there is family money that is needed for bills. If that doesn't work their are plenty of stories about juveniles dying in detention centers and the anal rape is pretty horrifying (and very true). Perhaps you now a correction officer to talk to him- they can be pretty graphic about what goes on there and it is faster than working through a shrink. Sounds mean - but we were worried that he would be arrested one day. My husband is a lawyer and the process is a pain in the neck. Sam needs to know what will happen if he does A. So we needed to tell him about B.
Besides Asperger's, Sam's shrink is an expert on eating disorders. Sam has one. he sneaks food into his room (and he became obsessed with it after a bout with Prozac). He gained 30 lbs in four months on the stuff. We don't take it anymore. His doctor tells us that children with psychological disorders often turn to food as a way to cope with the stress. It is very comforting.
Before you go to a psychiatrist, remember they will probably try to medicate your child. If you are comfortable with that than by all means. If not, you may want to work more with Cognative Behavioral Therapy. My daughter who has ADHD, Tourette's and OCD does a lot of that and it is working well in getting her obsessive thoughts under control. She does take adderall which helps the inattentive stuff.
I am a grandmother helping raise my grand kids, due to abandonment by their mother. The oldest, 13, has all the same issues, all the same responses, and has been in therapy for about 5 years, on several medications... nothing helps. The "professionals" are the worst of it.... as Sally44 responds, it must be something the family is not doing.... Believe me to live with children like this, knowing they are going to be in prison by the time they are 20, you work your creativity, call in muscle and family, beg for anything that might help.... only to become more frustrated, because the "Professionals" think it is better to talk Baby talk to the child, you pay hundreds of dollars for a 45 min session EVERY WEEK, so that they can play games in front of the Professional who takes detailed notes... but after 5 years +, they still do not want to know how it effects the family.... Because they are just there for documentation. I love this kid, he is brilliant... and so confused. I know he needs help, but there is just no one to give it.....we feel helpless about 36 hours a day.
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