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Engaging and Supporting Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders through a Forensic Medical Examination

Hosted by: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Research has shown that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders experience abuse and sexual victimization at rates higher than the general population. Compounding this problem, individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders experience an array in new and unfamiliar situations, particularly those related to medical examinations and procedures. Under these circumstances, routine hospital visits can quickly become overwhelming and traumatic. A medical forensic examination, following an already traumatic experience of suspected sexual abuse, can thus magnify the individual's anxiety and lead to increased agitation and difficulty completing the examination. In this training, participants will learn about the prevalence, core features, and range of symptom presentations of Autism Spectrum Disorders and the implications for providing effective services and supports to individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. The presenter will share general tips and strategies for engaging and supporting individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Practical skills will be shared to address challenges specific to the forensic examination following an allegation or disclosure of sexual abuse to minimize additional trauma or anxiety for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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