Children with autism more likely to face maltreatment, study finds

ScienceDaily | 2/15/2019 | Staff
The study, led by researchers from Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD), examined the entire population of Middle Tennessee residents born in 2008 and compared their records through 2016. Using data collected through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, 387 children out of the population of 24,306 were identified as having a diagnosis of ASD.

More than 17 percent of those identified with ASD had been reported to the Child Abuse Hotline by 2016, compared to 7.4 percent of children without ASD. Additionally, females with ASD were six times more likely to have substantiated allegations of maltreatment than males with ASD.

Children - Autism - Department - Child - Services

"If roughly one in five children with autism is reported to the Department of Child Services (DCS), we need to make sure there is awareness of how common this is and further educational and service system partnerships to optimize our ability to respond," said Zachary Warren, PhD, executive director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's TRIAD and a senior investigator for the study. "This represents a very vulnerable population, and we have a responsibility to work with mandated reporters, service providers, school systems and those who respond to these allegations to make sure they're equipped with all the tools necessary to meet the complex needs of these children."

According to Warren, children with ASD may be particularly vulnerable to maltreatment due to a variety of factors, including the presence of challenging behavior and complex cognitive and language impairments, increased caregiver stress, lower levels of family social support and higher rates of caregiver isolation and dependence.

Children - Autism - Work - Team - Providers

Children with autism are also more likely to regularly work with a team of providers who may be...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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