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Worldwide, many people suffer from domestic violence daily. Many people have spoken up about the tragedy, but it seems as if governments are not doing enough to help these victims. The turmoil these people go through is more strenuous than anyone could imagine, even more for someone with special needs such as autism, and domestic violence continues to plague our communities.

Autism is a developmental disorder on a spectrum, meaning it doesn’t affect each person diagnosed with it in the same way. Some people with autism need more specialized care, while others can complete daily tasks with minimal support. It is a very misunderstood and complex diagnosis that places these individuals at greater risk of being victims of domestic violence. 

Autism and Domestic Violence: Important Facts To Consider

Because of the prevalence of behavioral issues amongst these individuals—and not all caregivers being aware of how to handle the situation correctly—there could be a higher incidence of violence. Below are some things to know about the correlation between the diagnosis and domestic violence:

They Need Help Verbalizing Their Situation

A person with autism will have problems with communication. This lack of understanding and verbalization is one of the main characteristics doctors notice when making a diagnosis. It could vary in degree from one person to the next, but overall, they need assistance in some way.

They may not know how to ask for help or who to speak to when something happens to them. And they may need someone who understands the situation to give them more guidance or to speak up for them.

Someone who notices a problem with violence at home should contact the authorities and have a skilled legal representative assist. For more information, discover here how the legal system can be involved. 

Violence May Go Both Ways

People with autism could have violent outbursts, which their caregivers counter with violence instead of appropriately handling the situation. Unfortunately, the behavioral aspects of autism could be very challenging for some people to deal with, but it still doesn’t warrant using violence.

The condition makes them feel threatened quicker than a neurotypical person would. A caregiver’s best approach would be to find the element that is causing the person with autism the emotional overwhelm and remove them from that situation. 

Calming them down is a much better approach than retaliation. And when caregivers understand why they react this way, they would have more empathy than meltdowns.

Caregivers Could Need Skills Development

In some cases, the person with autism would need a lot of assistance, and families would either appoint someone to help them with the care or attempt to do it on their own. To an untrained individual, this could be very taxing emotionally.

Many institutions offer training on autism and how to help people with autism adequately navigate the world around them. For any caregiver, these institutions provide invaluable information that may improve their level of care and lessen their need to resolve violence-related issues.

Understand The Situation Before Judging

Carl Jung, who made many contributions to modern psychology, once said that thinking is complex, and that’s why most people judge. Unfortunately, with the complexity of autism, most people don’t understand and will pass judgment instead of asking for clarification.

A person with autism could behave differently than expected and usually don’t fit into social norms. When others notice a difference in behavior that they deem ‘not normal,’ they could lash out violently to correct it.

Anyone coming in contact with a person with special needs like autism should reserve their judgments until they have all the information about the diagnosis and the specific circumstances that brought on the behavior.

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Arrange For Specialized Counselors To Help

When a person with autism needs care after a domestic violence incident, they may need to speak to a professional that understands their condition. They could struggle to find the words to describe what happened. And they may not understand their situation or why it happened and need someone with a lot of patience to help them through.

Not many counselors have training geared to assist these individuals, and it could be challenging to find someone with the necessary experience that will help. However, finding a counselor willing to work with them for a prolonged period is imperative.

The Final Thoughts on Autism and Domestic Violence

People with special needs like autism may be some of the most vulnerable members of society. And anyone who takes advantage of this vulnerability could face the long arm of the law. The best approach would be to support the person as much as possible and find the specialized care they desperately need before passing judgment. 

After all, domestic violence is challenging in any situation. But for someone who doesn’t understand what is happening, it could leave more emotional scars that follow them for the rest of their lives.

Alicia Trautwein is an Autism advocate, writer, motivational speaker, and dedicated mom of four. Alicia’s desire to advocate for Autism comes from her own autism diagnosis and that of her three children, niece, and brother. Her life’s mission is to educate on autism acceptance and change the world for future generations of autistic individuals.

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