Sunteți pe pagina 1din 9

Autism & JJS

James Hannah

Juvenile Justice System and Autism

James Hannah

Salt Lake Community College

Autism & JJS

James Hannah Abstract

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder? I was wondering the same thing, and learned some interesting things about the disease has I did research. I even went to the Utah Autism and Asperger Syndrome Conference and learned a lot. Met Temple Grandin who I talk about and she is one amazing person and a very good advocate for persons with Autism/ Aspergers. Dr. Jed Baker also spoke at this conference and he did a lot on helping people with Autism function in school and once they are old enough to work and such if they can. I wanted to see what the Juvenile Justice System is doing when they come into contact with Autism/Aspergers. Dr. Leo Kanner first wrote about Autism in an article Autistic Disturbance of Affective Contact in the journal Nervous Child in 1943. Autism has been around well before then, but it was Dr. Kanner with this article that brought autism to the general public. He did a study on 11 children, 8 boys and 3 girls. Dr. Leo Kanner was the chairman in the newly formed Department of Child Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Autism & JJS

James Hannah What is Autism/ASD?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. They include autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDDNOS) and Asperger syndrome. ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art. Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development. However, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age. Autism Speaks continues to fund research on effective methods for earlier diagnosis, as early intervention with proven behavioral therapies can improve outcomes.

What is Asperger Syndrome/HFA? The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institute of Health (NIH), defines Asperger Syndrome as: A developmental disorder that is characterized by: Repetitive routines or rituals, Peculiarities in speech and language, such as speaking in an overly formal manner or in a monotone, or taking figures of speech literally, Socially and Emotionally inappropriate behavior and the inability to interact successfully with peers,

Autism & JJS

James Hannah

Problems with non-verbal communication, including the restricted use of gestures, limited or inappropriate facial expressions or a peculiar, stiff gaze, Clumsiness and uncoordinated motor movements. It was 1944, an Austrian pediatrician named Hans Asperger, was observing four children in his practice who had difficulty integrating socially. Although their intelligence appeared normal, the children lacked nonverbal communication skills, failed to demonstrate empathy with their peers, and were physically clumsy. They spoke in ways that were either disjointed or overly formal, and their interest in a single topic dominated their conversations. Aspergers observations, published in German, was not widely known until 1981, when an English doctor named Lorna Wing published a series of case studies of children showing similar symptoms, which she called Asperger syndrome. Wings writings were widely published and popularized. AS became a distinct condition and diagnosis in 1992, when it was included in the tenth published edition of the World Health Organizations diagnostic manual, International Classification of Diseases (ICD10), and in 1994, it was added to the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), the American Psychiatric Associations diagnostic reference book. Individuals who are diagnosed with autism or autism spectrum disorder who have normal cognitive abilities, and experienced no significant delay in acquiring language skills, are very similar to individuals with Asperger Syndrome. High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFA) and Asperger Syndrome share similar symptoms and are helped by similar treatment approaches. I had the opportunity to meet a person with HFA and her name is Temple Grandin. She was born in Boston,

Autism & JJS

James Hannah

Massachusetts, to Richard Grandin and Eustacia Cutler. She was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 in 1949. After graduating from Hampshire Country School, a boarding school for gifted children in Rindge, New Hampshire in 1966, Grandin went on to earn her bachelor's degree in psychology from Franklin Pierce College in 1970, a master's degree in animal science from Arizona State University in 1975, and a doctoral degree in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in 1989. She talked about how her mother never gave up on her taught her manners and loved her as she was. She also says that teachers helped her, but also having art and music classes that she is now upset to see many schools are taking away. (Grandin, 2012)

ASD/Law Enforcement Youth with ASD often get in to trouble without even realizing they have committed an offense. Offenses such as making threatening statements; personal, telephone, or Internet stalking; inappropriate sexual advances; accomplice crime with false friends; and making physical outbursts at school, would certainly strike most of society as offenses which demanding some sort of punishment. This assumption, though valid at face value, may not take into accounts the particular issues that challenge the ASD individual. Problems with sensory overload, poor social awareness, semantic misunderstandings, inability to deal with changes in routine or structure, and little to no understanding of non-verbal communications, are the very kinds of things that make more appropriate responses to society very difficult for someone with ASD. While the individual with ASD might have committed the offense, the intent might well have been anything other than to do harm (Debbaudt & Rothman, 2001). Because approximately 80

Autism & JJS

James Hannah

percent of patrol responses do not involve criminal activity, contact with individuals with autism may occur anywhere in the community. Because autism affects each individual differently, many people with autism often function well in society--they may have regular employment in a supervised or unsupervised workplace, and may live in traditional or assisted living homes. Therefore, the initial call for assistance to law enforcement may first appear as a domestic disturbance; however, upon arrival, the officers may receive information or otherwise determine that the subject is affected with autism and has reacted inappropriately to some event. The initial contact may be predicated by a request for medical assistance. Reports estimate that as many as 25 percent of individuals with autism will have seizures by the age of 21. Other calls may involve complaints of strange behavior, such as being in an unfamiliar place or just wandering around or doing unusual things. Autistic persons have not developed the social awareness usually expected by others in the community. Law enforcement officers are trained to handle unexpected situations they may encounter on routine calls. By understanding the nature of autism, responding officers can manage calls involving individuals with this condition more effectively. Officers can use the acronym AUTISM to help them remember the methodology they should use when dealing with individuals with autism. They should-Approach the person in a quiet, non-threatening manner. Because autistic persons may be hypersensitive to stimuli, officers should attempt to avoid quick motions and gestures that an autistic person may perceive, even remotely, as threatening.

Autism & JJS

James Hannah

Understand that touching the autistic person may cause a protective "fight or flight" reaction. Officers should never touch an autistic person on the shoulders or near the face. Autistic hypersensitivity includes being touched and even extends to invasions of their personal space. Talk to the person in a moderate and calm voice. Although officers may have to repeat their directions or questions several times, they should be patient and wait for answers. Speaking loudly will not help and may even be viewed as threatening. Instructions should be simple and direct with no use of slang. An autistic person will take an officer's statements literally. "Do you think that's cool?" or "Up against the wall!" probably will cause confusion and result in an inappropriate or unexpected response. Officers should use specific commands, such as, "stand up" or "go to the car, now" to reduce the chance of confusion. Seek all indicators to evaluate the situation as it unfolds. Maintain a safe distance until any inappropriate behaviors lessen, but remain alert to the possibility of outbursts or impulsive acts (Debbaudt & Rothman, 2001).

Conclusion Looking at Autism and Juvenile Justice System we need to remember that we are dealing with one children and two that not all children can be normal to what we might thing is normal. I look at it what is normal to us might be abnormal to a child with Autism. There needs to be more training and studies done to find out if we are doing things right when it comes to children with any type of metal or developmental disorder. When I worked in a treatment center for troubled teens and young adults I learned really

Autism & JJS

James Hannah

quickly that each one is different in how you have to approach things with them. How you handled melt downs etc. And what I saw was not how some of them should have been treated. I always thought to myself if I was in their shoes how would I want to be treated and a lot of it was they needed someone that would listen, but also hold them accountable for their actions and help them through the tough times. I was fired for that reason because it went against what they wanted to do with them. I was very upset to see that we are to control them and if we cant teach them how to manipulate the system to get what they want and to me that is not helping them grow and be able to live and do things on their own.

Autism & JJS

James Hannah

Bibliography
Autism Speaks. (2012, 12 01). What is Autism. Retrieved 11 26, 2012, from Autsim Speaks: www.autismspeaks.com

Baker, J. (2012). No More Meltdowns. Utah Autism & Aspergers Conference (pp. 118). Salt Lake City: Future Horizons, Inc.

Benaron, L. D. (2009). Biographies of Disease: Autism. Westport : Greenwood Press.

Debbaudt, D., & Rothman, D. (2001, April 1). Contact with Individuals With Autism: Effective Resolutions. The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin , pp. 1-5.

Grandin, T. (2012). The Way I See It. Utah Autism & Aspergers Conference (pp. 1-18). Salt Lake City: Future Horizons, Inc.