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Autism spectrum disorders in institutionalized subjects.

Journal article
Authors Henrik Anckarsäter
Thomas Nilsson
Jean-Michel Saury
Maria Råstam
Christopher Gillberg
Published in Nordic Journal of Psychiatry
Volume 62
Issue 2
Pages 160-167
ISSN 0803-9488
Publication year 2008
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Pages 160-167
Language en
Keywords Acting Out, Adolescent, Adult, Autistic Disorder, Epidemiology, Psychology, Therapy, Child, Cohort Studies, Communication, Comorbidity, Crime, Psychology, Statistics & numerical data, Cross-Sectional Studies, Empathy, Female, Forensic Psychiatry, Hospitals, Psychiatric, Statistics & numerical data, Humans, Male, Mass Screening, Statistics & numerical data, Middle Aged, Neuropsychological Tests, Personal Construct Theory, Personality Assessment, Prisoners, Psychology, Statistics & numerical data, Residential Treatment, Statistics & numerical data, Sex Offenses, Psychology, Statistics & numerical data, Social Conformity, Sweden, Violence, Psychology, Statistics & numerical data
Subject categories Child and adolescent psychiatry


What do we know about the prevalence and the specific features of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) among subjects in forensic psychiatry and special youth centres? A clinical case series consisting of 42 subjects with ASD, recruited from three well-characterized populations in forensic psychiatry and special youth care, was used to determine: 1) the prevalence of ASD in these institutions (at least 13%), 2) the distribution of diagnostic criteria in this special population (mostly social interaction and communication problems, few or atypical flexibility problems), 3) the degree of comorbidity (the rule rather than the exception), 4) neuropsychological test profiles (lowered IQ with uneven profiles), 5) types of crimes and offences (very heterogeneous, often stress-related with dissociated features), 6) mental health care needs (high), and 7) special clinical features (especially expressions of flexibility deficits in non-classical areas and proneness to dissociation). This descriptive study indicates that ASD is a clinically relevant problem among forensic populations that has to be considered in diagnostics, assessments of needs and treatment planning.

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