Having a safe in the home is not a typical parenting strategy that caregivers anticipate using. However, the reality of living with a child, youth or adult with FASD often means using proactive stategies to avoid dangerous and potentially expensive mistakes. Some families may find they have no probelms with things going missing or items being borrowed. However, many families have to find a way to cope. Using a safe to store valuable and dangerous items provides a safety net for familes and individuals living with FASD who are still learning about ownership.
A simple safe can be picked up at a variety of locations for various prices. Many home furnishing and hardware stores will carry safes from anywhere between $15 and $300 depending on the size and shape.
It can often be difficult for parents and professionals to understand appropriate consequences surrounding stolen items. If it is apparent that an individual struggles with understanding ownership, there is an obligation to eliminate some of the most tempting and dangerous items. These items include car keys, medications, money, credit cards, cell phones and more. Understanding ownership can take many years and even after an understanding is developed, many individuals must still combat an overwhelming impulse to acquire tempting goods or property. As professionals and parents, it is important not to punish behaviour that is intrinsic to an individual's disability. Instead, eliminate the temptation and work towards an understanding of ownership.
Reasonable consequences will look different for each person as they depend entirely on how each individual's brain works. If he or she struggles less with memory, then grounding may work. However, if he or she has poor memory functioning they will not remember why they are facing consequences 30 minutes into a grounding or time-out.
It is not unfair to ask a child to pay back the cost of a lost or stolen article (within reason). If the individual is responsible for taking someone's MP3 music player, they should be responsible for either compensating the person financially or with in-kind labour such as chores.
Be sure that whatever punishment is used does not focus on the act of stealing or impulsiveness - remember this can be an aspect of the individual's disability. Instead punishment should focus on the individual's refusal to return the item or frustration with you or the person who told on them.