Heterogeneity within autism spectrum disorder in forensic mental health: the introduction of typologies

Regi Alexander, Peter E. Langdon, Verity Chester, Magali Barnoux, Ignatius Gunaratna, Sudeep Hoare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Individuals with diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) within criminal justice settings are a highly heterogeneous group. Although studies have examined differences between those with and without ASD in such settings, there has been no examination of differences within the ASD group. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on the findings of a service evaluation project, this paper introduces a typology of ASD within forensic mental health and intellectual disability settings.

Findings: The eight subtypes that are described draw on clinical variables including psychopathy, psychosis and intensity/frequency of problem behaviours that co-occur with the ASD. The initial assessment of inter-rater reliability on the current version of the typology revealed excellent agreement, multirater Kfree =0.90.

Practical implications: The proposed typology could improve understanding of the relationship between ASD and forensic risk, identify the most appropriate interventions and provide prognostic information about length of stay. Further research to refine and validate the typology is ongoing.

Originality/value: This paper introduces a novel, typology-based approach which aims to better serve people with ASD within criminal justice settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-209
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Autism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2016

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