Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Theft Cycle

Stealing is what kind of brought us to the diagnosis of Alcohol Related Neurological Disorder (ARND) for Akila. We had always known there had been prenatal exposure to alcohol, but weren't sure the impact. Akila has always had issues with ownership, trying to sneak toys home from friend's playdates, taking stuff from my jewelry box, etc. Then in first grade, she started stealing like crazy. One week, she stole on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Each night we had a talk about stealing, how it makes someone feel, etc. Consequence each night. Thursday night, I told her if she stole the next day, that her beloved blankie (which she was obsessed with) would go in the garbage never to be seen again. She came home on Friday with a ten dollar bill. Most of her theft had been a pencil, lip gloss, etc. So, bye bye blankie. It hardly phased her. I thought this would tear her apart as she was so obsessed with it.

The next week, she was stealing again. This is when I figured out that something was seriously wrong. I talked to the school psychologist who said they normally didn't see this in kids who "had" enough and that they usually saw this in kids who lived in shelters. I did some Internet digging, and learned that this was a common thing with kids affected by alcohol. Having worked in education, I had received some training on FAS long ago, but didn't know anything about FAE/ARND or that kids could have it without the physical features. As I looked at the list of behaviors, I immediately knew Akila had it.

Anyway, she has a pattern of being very cyclical in her theft. She usually doesn't do it much at the beginning of the school year, but usually, right around November when she is getting comfortable with her new classroom and the new teacher, it begins. Sure enough, it seems to have started yesterday. She came home from school saying that she stole some gum from her teacher. At bedtime, I found 2 pencil erasers and a key chain in her pocket which are not hers. She admitted that she took them from someone. A year ago, this would have set me off!!!!! I am in such a better place now to deal with this knowing how her brain processes things like this. She will still get a consequence and we will talk about it. But I now can deal with it so much more calmly. Information is truly precious.

1 comment:

Sheri said...

Good for you. Thankfully, for now, Dustin really only steals from home. Taking odd things to his room or hoarding food. He loves to take food and put it behind the sofa cushions or in chairs. Yuck.