Monday, 30 October 2017

Autistic Children and Misleading Reports on Violence

We have seen recent media reports claiming that half of autistic children are violent.

Let's explore where that statistic came from.

In 2011, a study was done.  This was heavily promoted by the big anti-autism group in the USA. That group promote anti-autism therapies, at huge cost.  These are paid for by insurance companies, who need to know that there is a terrible risk to not 'treating' the children. 

The researchers asked for non-autistic parents with just one autistic child to participate.  There must also be other non-autistic children in the family.  In other words, the autistic child had no-one in the family unit with whom they could communicate naturally.  A source of stress and misunderstanding for the child.

The family were asked about the violence from their child, now or 'ever'.  This included 'rough play', 'ever'.  Or pushing someone, ever.   They found that, by including bizarre criteria like this, they could pretend that half of the children were 'violent'.

Do you know what the statistic is for non-autistic children playing roughly or ever being 'violent'?  About half.

So, it's not actually any different.

We also know that autism in itself doesn't cause violence.  Links have been found to a combination of (for example) autism and some forms of ADHD.  Only the combination proved reliable, not autism.

Autistic people of any age are no more likely to be violent than anyone else.

I do wish we lived in a world that provided correct support for families whose child   - whether autistic or not - is violent.  I also wish we would stop 'demonising' autistic people.

Thank you for listening.