The purpose of this paper is to present preliminary data on a cohort of patients referred to a specialist forensic medium-secure autism spectrum disorder (ASD) service during its first two years of opening and to identify variables associated with admission to the service.
Data on all referrals to the service (n=40) was obtained from clinical files on demographics, offending history, psychiatric history and levels of therapeutic engagement. The sample was divided into two groups: referred and admitted (n=23) and referred and not admitted (n=17). Statistical analysis compared the two groups on all variables.
Totally, 94 per cent of all individuals assessed had a diagnosis of autism, however, structured diagnostic tools for ASD were used in a small minority of cases. About half the sample had a learning disability, almost four-fifths had at least one additional mental disorder and almost three-quarters had a history of prior supervision failure or non-compliance with treatment. The sample had a wide range of previous offences. No significant differences were found between the groups on any of the variables included in the study.
The present study presents a starting point to follow up in terms of response to treatment and characteristics associated with treatment outcome.
The sample had a wide range of clinical and risk-related needs. Both groups shared many similarities.
This highlights the need for comprehensive assessment looking at risk-related needs so that individuals are referred to an optimal treatment pathway.
O' Donoghue, T., Shine, J. and Orimalade, O. (2014), "Characteristics of referrals and admissions to a medium secure ASD unit", Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 138-146. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIDOB-06-2014-0008
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