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Characteristics of referrals and admissions to a medium secure ASD unit

Therese O' Donoghue (Department of Psychology, St Andrew’s Healthcare, Northampton, UK)
John Shine (Department of Psychology, St Andrew’s Healthcare, Northampton, UK)
Olufunto Orimalade (FACS-Forensic-Assessment-Community-Services, Alberta Health Services, Edmonton, AB, Canada)

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour

ISSN: 2050-8824

Article publication date: 8 September 2014

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Research limitations/implications

The present study presents a starting point to follow up in terms of response to treatment and characteristics associated with treatment outcome.

Practical implications

The sample had a wide range of clinical and risk-related needs. Both groups shared many similarities.

Originality/value

This highlights the need for comprehensive assessment looking at risk-related needs so that individuals are referred to an optimal treatment pathway.

Keywords

Citation

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

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited