Autistic children more likely to face maltreatment: Study

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New York, Feb 16 (IANS) Parents, take note. If your child is suffering from autism spectrum disorder (ASD) then you have to be more cautious, as a new study has suggested they are more likely to face maltreatment than normal children.

The study, published is the journal Autism, found that children with ASD were nearly 2.5 times more likely to be reported to the Child Abuse Hotline by the age of 8.

“This represents a very vulnerable population, and we have responsibility to work with mandated reporters, service providers, school systems and those who respond to these allegations, to make sure they’re equipped with all the tools necessary to meet the complex needs of these children,” said co-author Zachary Warren from the Vanderbilt University, the USA.

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For the study, the researchers examined 24,306 children, out of which 387 were diagnosed for autism, for eight years.

They found more than 17 per cent of those identified with ASD had been reported to the Child Abuse Hotline, compared with 7.4 per cent of children without ASD.

Additionally, girls with ASD were six times more likely to have substantiated allegations of maltreatment than males with ASD, the team suggested.

“There are a lot of things we still don’t know. But I think this study highlights the need to start examining those factors to better equip reporters and those who are responding to those reports,” Warren noted.

–IANS

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