Tearing and destroying items — Scope | Disability forum

Tearing and destroying items

tabi Member Posts: 3 Listener
edited September 2019 in Autism and neurodiversity
I am looking for ideas for a young gentleman who has a severe need to tear items such as his shoes (and he tears them down to the soles), his clothing (he will be naked before he is done ripping them), etc. He has a "non-destructible" string in which he is given daily and goes through quickly and then goes back to tearing other desired items. Does anyone have any other functionally equivalent replacement behavior that has been effective? thank you! 


  • newborn
    newborn Member Posts: 741 Pioneering
    If it is just the act of tearing up clothes which is a form of challenge and a hobby for him,  would he take to destroying  (clean ) discarded  clothes?  Charity shops  sort donations,  some have small faults or a missing button, or there are just too many winter clothes when summer is coming, so they need to dispose of stuff, by the bagful, because it can't go on sale..

    It ßhould be possible to come to agreement with one or two managers, who might be sympathetic or might simply  be glad to get rid of bags of stuff.   (An alley just off our high street has palladins full of discarded donations from several charity shops.  They have to pay to have the bins emptied, so if someone actually wants to take  entire mixed bags full of blemished or out of season clothes, they may be delighted. )   

    lf he enjoys tearing shoes, they are also often unwanted by charity shops.     Does he ever branch out? If he would expand his hobby,  he could if he liked destroy other charity shop unwanted donations. Some bin all soft toys and baby things.   
  • tabi
    tabi Member Posts: 3 Listener
    thank you newborn, but we were hoping for a replacement behavior idea. i appreciate your response! 
  • April2018mom
    April2018mom Posts: 2,868 Connected
    Hello @tabi
    I am tagging Scope’s autism experts as they may be able to help @SparkleSheffieldAutismAdvisors
    Have you contacted the National Autistic Society or not? They should be able to offer strategies to help distract him and discourage him from ripping up clothes. 
  • tabi
    tabi Member Posts: 3 Listener
    thank you!! i will check with the national autistic society as well!! thank you again!! i am trying to come up with a positive behavior support plan for this family. 
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,674 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @tabi

    @Amber_76 asked a similar question a while ago about ripping clothing, OCD and autism.

    On that post @Yiman60 suggested asking the person the reasons why they do this, they said:

    "Just ask , it's amazing what you find out.

    Have you read The Reason I Jump, it's facinating and an easy to understand insight into the Autism Spectrum world. 

    It could be quite complicated . Someone could use this as Stimming , it's just like hand flapping, twiddling a pen, jumping , may be that's why he does this.
    If this has become an obsession then it's gently trying to stop the obsession.  
    If it is Stimming then that's what often happens , they do this in private.

    Its going to be a case of trying different solutions  till you find the answers."

    I found a free downloadable copy of The Reason I jump here.

    Senior online community officer