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    Stealing and Intellectual Disability

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    Chad is a 22-year old man with mild intellectual disability. He has good verbal abilities and can easily carry on a conversation and understand complex directions. Chad works in a factory. He does his job well, but he has been caught stealing from other workers' lockers. The problem occurs during work breaks or at other times when he is alone near the lockers. At these times, he opens co-workers' lockers and takes cans of soda or change that he uses to buy soda from a vending machine. He will lose his job if he does not stop stealing. When caught stealing, he says he is sorry and promises not to do it again, but the problem continues.

    Briefly describe how you would conduct self-instructional training with Chad to help him stop stealing from co-workers. Second, describe one other behavioral modification procedure that you have learned in this course that could be used in conjunction with self-instructions to help Chad stop stealing money and soda from co-workers' lockers.

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    Solution Preview

    It is clear that Chad has opportunities for growth and self-direction given the description of his intellectual functioning. The first thing I would do would be to have a discussion with Chad about the problems associated with stealing. However, the style as depicted below may differ depending on what was taught in the course.

    Those with Mild Intellectual Disability may have an understanding that stealing is wrong, but it's possible that he may not be able to make the association between the wrongdoing of stealing vs. the wrongdoing of jaywalking, for instance. Both are wrong, but society has a different value system for each offense. Therefore, I would instruct Chad as follows: After debriefing him of the severity of the offense, I would highlight each and every problem in a concrete fashion for him to understand. Being that he is able to follow complex directions, it's possible that he can also follow a grid depicting the problem (whether written out, in picture format, or both). Thus, the following could be documented in picture or written format and discussed with Chad:

    So #1 would be to define stealing concretely such as by stating that it's the act of taking something from someone else without their knowledge.

    Then the problems associated with stealing should be clear:

    2- a) It will make the person upset
    b) The person will not trust him in other situations
    c) Saying sorry is not enough without resolving the issue
    d) Only a few offenses without a plan to fix the ...

    Solution Summary

    This posting deals with behavior management techniques and the proper protocol to use with someone with Mild Intellectual Disability who engages in the behavior of stealing.