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Monday, February 11, 2019

Juvenile Justice and Autism

The objective was to delineate the prevalence of criminal behavior and school discipline in juvenile justice-involved youth (JJY) with autism. A sample of 143 JJY with autism was matched to comparison groups of JJY without a special education classification, JJY with learning disabilities, and JJY with other special educational needs (N = 572). Results showed that JJY with autism committed significantly fewer property crimes. With regard to school discipline, JJY with autism were least likely to receive policy violations, out-of-school suspensions, and in-school suspensions. Finally, regardless of special education classification, JJY who had a history of fighting in school were more likely to recidivate. Our results suggest that JJY with autism are not more likely to commit crimes compared to JJY without SEN.
From the article:
We found that JJY without SEN had significantly more school violations compared to JJY with autism during the 2010–2011 school year with the exception of incidents involving violence at school. It is important to note that because of the protections of the IDEA (2004) for SWD, including for those with autism, schools would have acted differently (e.g., possibly more cautiously) in response to disciplinary infractions because  f federal procedural safeguards. Additionally, when teachers know a student has autism, they may be more likely to attribute youth misbehavior to symptoms of the diagnosis, over which the student has no control, and therefore be less inclined to punish them (Ling et al. 2010). Therefore, it is possible that disciplinary responses were overall  lower for JJY with autism due to IDEA safeguards or to differential teacher responses.  however, it appears that IDEA safeguards and differential teacher responses may not  ave the same effect for JJY with other IDEA-eligible disability classifications since JJY with SEN and JJY with LD received more OSS and ISS compared to JJY without SEN during the 2010–2011 school year