Autism: Playing a Part in the Juvenile Justice System
When examining the juvenile justice system, a key factor that needs to be addressed in society today must include the aspect of juveniles with Autism. Up until ten years or so ago the concept of autism was basically unknown and non-factor in dealing juveniles. Research now shows that in Utah alone one in every forty-seven children born is born with some form of Autism. ( http://www.stellamarie.com/index.php/2010/06/24/autism-rates-per-state) Having this information we now must examine what part Autism plays with juveniles, our role in addressing the issues, and ways that we can protect and educate society on this very important epidemic issue. In this article I will address three key issues on Autism; facts and identification of autism, case research in the juvenile system, and education for first responders. This topic touches the lives of so many families, including mine. For this reason we must do our part to aid in the awareness of its debilitating effects and find ways to keep these very special kids out of the juvenile justice system and with their families, where they belong.
Before we can understand why there are so many children in the juvenile justice system, with this disability, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of the disease itself. In an article titled, “Effects of Autism on Communication” (Edelson), he writes, “Speech development in people with autism takes different paths than the majority of neurotypical children. The effects of autism on communication are extremely varied. Autism is increasing referred to as being part of the autism spectrum due to the variability and degree of its effects.” He goes on to examine several key issues that plague autistic individuals and cause barriers for them that are difficult to...