Brief Report: Using the Social Communication Questionnaire to Identify Young People Residing in Secure Children’s Homes with Symptom Complexes Compatible with Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects approximately 1% of the general population. The prevalence of ASD, or symptom complexes compatible with ASD, amongst young people residing within Secure Children’s Homes (SCH’s) remains ill understood. There are critical implications for the resourcing and understanding of the management of young people with social/communication difficulties. This paper describes a preliminary investigation of the prevalence of ASD within SCH’s in the UK. The Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) was completed with support workers for 113 adolescents admitted to two SCH’s in England as a screen for ASD. The SCQ identified 15 (13.3%) young people with symptoms compatible with an ASD presentation; differences in gender, legal status and a history of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) are discussed.
KeywordsAdolescent Autistic spectrum disorders Prevalence Social communication Secure units Vulnerability
The authors would like to thank the young people and staff of the SCH’s for their support and participation in this project.
PJK conceived of the study, participated in its design, analysis and interpretation of data, drafting of the manuscript and critical revisions leading to publication. PS participated in co-ordinating the acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation of data and drafting of manuscript. LT participated in co-ordinating the acquisition of data and drafting of manuscript. CN participated in the design, drafting and revising of manuscript. AM participated in drafting and revising of manuscript. KE participated in the drafting and revising of manuscript and revisions leading to publication.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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