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Can children with ASD/Aspergers tell lies?

(19 Posts)
bigbluebus Fri 15-Jul-11 14:03:48

My DS 14 was given a diagnosis of HF ASD at age 7. When he was assessed, they weren't 100% certain (has never had speech delay - in fact was the opposite) but due to problems at school they thought it best to give a label so he would get help/statement he needed.
(He was assessed out of county due to issues with CAMHS here at the time )
He got his statement and 1-1 for 25 hrs a week and when he was transferring to Secondary school it was suggested he be retested for Aspergers. Went back to CAMHS and was assessed 'in house' this time. After 2 apptmts & lots of form filling/questionnaires by us and school, he did not meet the criteria sufficiently for a DX of Aspergers (although they said he should really have had speech and language delay to qualify DX of HF ASD.).

Anyway, that's his DX background, but my question relates to info I have read about ASD which says that people with this condition always tell everything as it is - and can't lie. DS will tell lies to the ends of the earth even when you have all the evidence to prove that he has done something wrong. Something he said to me yesterday made me think about this again. DS had been told something by a boy at school whom I know has SEN. I told DS I thought this boy was "winding him up" but DS said "no, D never tells lies - he only ever tells the truth, he doesn't know how to lie!" I have always assumed that this boy was on the spectrum but don't know for sure.

Does anyone else have a child with a DX of ASD/Aspergers who will constantly lie to save their own skin?

amberlight Fri 15-Jul-11 15:37:17

Yes, some can lie. Most of us never manage to learn how to do it/are complete rubbish at it. But there are some who are so utterly fearful of getting rules wrong (for example) that they would rather risk trying to lie than facing the truth that they didn't do something right. Difficult to explain the intense panic and fear if we make an error of some sort (generalising) Nothing to do with other people's reactions, really - more our own sense that things have to be exactly Right and there has to be An Answer to a problem.

But lying in a bad way is of course wrong.

Lying in 'white lie' ways is something we're asked to do all day every day, which is totally confusing to be honest. "Do I look fat?" (required answer - no ) "Yes you do!" (oops)

"Do you mind me taking that last biscuit?" (required answer - no of course not, do go right ahead) "Absolutely I do!" (how rude!)

"How are you?" (required answer, "fine thanks") "I'm feeling absolutely rubbish today". (I don't want to know how you are, actually - that's not what the question is for)

So how we tell what's a good lie from a bad one is anyone's guess. Takes years and years to work out the code.

utah Fri 15-Jul-11 16:17:31

My eldest is how amberlight describes he can lie but it is more about him telling you what he believes you want the answer to be. it causes great frustration especially as he is trying to understand the unwritten rules that we all live by and I just want to know if he is hungry etc.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 15-Jul-11 16:47:22

My DS will lie, (HF ASD DX) to get himself out if trouble or to avoid doing something he doesn't like, but he's rubbish at it! He'll also tell it how it is with no sensitivity to peoples feelings. Eg He was at a friend's for tea yesterday, (first time in over a year,) and told my friend that the chips were burnt and tasted horrible!

The DC I support, who is more at the AS end of the spectrum will try to tell you what he thinks you want to hear, but may get that quite wrong. He has more social skills and is bothered about trying to please others, but just doesn't know quite how.

Oblomov Fri 15-Jul-11 16:59:34

Ds1(7) never used to lie. So honest. Teacher said you could always trust him. Stickler for rules and the truth.
But a while ago he started lying. And I think, like Amber says its due to his prefectionist feature of his personality. He lies about stuff that is so blindingly obvious, have you done this? when no one else could have possibly done it. Its as if he can't bear me to know that he has done something, that isn't 100% perfect. Because that seems to be what he strives for.
Does that make sense ?
Both are perfectionist qualities:before, sticker for rules, now, never doing anything wrong. but just different aspects of the perfectionist, IYSWIM.

merlincat Fri 15-Jul-11 18:52:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mitmoo Fri 15-Jul-11 19:12:43

Son high functioning AS has started to lie a year ago he is so crap at it you wouldn't believe it.

bigbluebus Fri 15-Jul-11 19:18:59

Thanks for your replies. Some interesting angles about how and why our ASD youngsters lie. My DS mostly lies about taking food out of the cupboard/fridge. I always know its him by the way the packet has been opened or by the wrappers left in the playroom - but he will always deny it was him even though he knows that I know it was him!!!! Often lies about things he should have done too - like cleaning teeth - even though tooth brush is bone dry!! For someone who constantly watches CSI he certainly hasn't learned about leaving clues!!!

Mitmoo Fri 15-Jul-11 19:27:25

Teeth brushing I have that one too, and then showers but wont use a towel and drips all over the house.

coff33pot Fri 15-Jul-11 20:43:22

My DS tells lies like having a tummy ache or feeling ill and doesnt want to go school. Or if in school will lie his way out of facing a teacher situation when he has gone to far and is stressed out by using this same excuse. He will also lie if he has been to the bathroom and the soap is in the toilet making bubbles when flushing even though he was the only one in there!

fusia Sat 16-Jul-11 00:22:24

my 7yr old son tells a few white lies eg:washing hands before meals-i have to smell them to check and he acts all cheeky and giggley if he gets found out-so cute.i love it
the not so good one is when he lies about going to toilet before bed then he goes to bed with full bladder/bowel and has accident in bed so has to be supervised for this one.

bigbluebus Sat 16-Jul-11 10:37:16

amberlight interestingly enough my DS has always managed the 'white lie' stuff pretty well - it's not something we have ever had to specifically teach him. He does take 'diplomacy' to the extreme sometimes though when you really want an honest opinion!
We thought he had got over the 'bad lie' stuff as he had started to own up to things straight away at school instead of continuing the lie even when he knew that they knew he was guilty! Its mainly a problem at home - maybe he just doesn't think that lying to us (his parents) is as bad as lying to other people
I remember when he was younger he used to tell all sorts of lies at school to staff and friends about things like 'where he was going on holiday' - and they always believed him! I wish we'd had half the holidays he said we were going on!!!Seems to have stopped doing this now too although did go through a phase of telling friends at secondary school that he had got PS (age 18) games that we would never let him have in a million years.
And they say that people with ASD have no imagination !!!

Claw3 Sat 16-Jul-11 10:55:30

I think its a bit of myth that ALL ASD/Aspergers cant lie.

I think it depends on how good an imagination they have and how rigid their thinking is.

Ds can lie in as much as yes or no, but he cannot extend his story beyond that. For example

"did you write your name on the wall" ds "no"

"then how did your name get on the wall" ds "i wrote it with my pencil"

It can appear as if he lies at other times, because he has taken the question very literally. For example

"did you hit your brother"


"brother is saying you kicked him"

"yes i kicked him"

Had i asked did you kick him, he would have said yes, but i asked did you hit him!

Ds can pretend "you have a spider on your head" when you dont, which is a bit like a lie too.

elliejjtiny Sat 16-Jul-11 19:57:47

Ds1 does lie but he's not very good at it. eg he will come to me with a wet patch on his trousers and a smell and when I ask him about it he will say ds2 did it!

MrsShrekTheThird Sat 16-Jul-11 20:09:50

ime they can lie - sometimes it's a perception thing, they saw something and understood/misinterpreted it their own way; DS1 has asd and is the best outright fibber in our house grin which fooled us for a lonnnng time as to how/why he could do it. What he is actually expressing is what he WANTS to happen [control freak] or rigidly believes is so (think smartie test) rather than something that is actual current correct information. Dunno if that makes any sense whatsoever, will come back with examples if you want smile

Eveiebaby Sat 16-Jul-11 22:31:42

DD has been know to blame DP or the dog for things she has done!

mumslife Sat 16-Jul-11 23:01:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moosemama Sun 17-Jul-11 00:07:38

Ds1 can lie - in fact he's capable of some absolute corkers.

Interestingly, he never told lies at all until last year, then he went through a period of lying about just about everything, which was him sort of testing out what lies he would get caught out in. At the time he was very interested in why his bully never got punished when he lied about what he'd done to the teachers/dinner ladies and I think this is what gave him the idea to try it himself.

He has calmed down now, but will still occasionally lie about things like not washing his hands, or having a wash before bed. Earlier this year was caught out stealing sweets out of a jar which was on the highest shelf in the kitchen, but he was so bad at it that he sucked the mint until it was small, then panicked that it felt like a tooth that had fallen out and brought it in to us to ask us if he'd lost a tooth! He was genuinely amazed when I knew he'd stolen a sweet as well. grin

We also get the black and white situations that someone mentioned earlier as in,
me: "ds1 did you hit ds2?"
ds1: "No!"
me: "Well ds2 has a bruise and is crying so I think you did hit him"
ds1: "I didn't hit him"
me: <<thinks for a minute>> "ds1 did you kick ds2?"
ds1: "yes"

So technically he wasn't lying, because to his mind he didn't hit his brother, he kicked him - but sometimes I think he does know what I'm talking about and its his way of trying to cover up the truth, especially as although he can be literal in some ways, he's not as literal as a lot of children who have AS and is very good at getting his own way through manipulation.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Sun 17-Jul-11 00:31:35

I think the ability to lie convincingly requires a level of sophistication that my DS just doesn't have (yet.) It's a developmental milestone that DC with ASD come to late or not at all. It's also connected with the theory of mind issues. If DC don't realise that you don't already know everything that they know, what's the point in lying? So they start lying later and those with poorer social skills take longer to learn how to lie well.

And the white lie thing is different again. My DS is truly so egotistical that he doesn't care if he hurts feelings. He's not being deliberately unkind, he just doesn't have the skills to work out what he should say, the truth is much easier.

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