Autism is one condition that’s been misunderstood by many. People who haven’t had close contact with autistic people may not fully comprehend what autism is all about and how people living with autism behave. This has led to several misconceptions and judgments due to how their condition influences how they behave.
One of the significant issues people believe has been influenced by autism is violent crime. Even though there’s no conclusive research that supports it, people tend to believe what they want to. This has made autistic people victims of this belief as they’re seen as perpetrators of violent crimes. In worst-case scenarios, autistic people have been accused and sentenced in courts because of crimes they may have or may not have committed.
Is There Really A Link Between Autism And Violent Crimes?
So, the main question that most people seek to answer is whether there’s a link between autism and violent crime. But even before that, autistic people who’ve been sentenced or are facing charges should get a criminal defense attorney. The responsibility of a criminal defense attorney is to represent and defend a client, and people living with autism can benefit from a defense attorney.
Autism is a bio-neurological developmental disorder that typically starts before age three but can be (and often is) at older ages. Symptoms can vary from person to person, as well as the severity of the symptoms. All persons with an autism diagnosis will have some varying degrees in the following three areas:
- communication (verbal & non-verbal)
- relationships – Struggling with relating to others & their environment
- lack of thought & behavior flexibly
While autism is a disability, people living with it can vary independently. Some will require daily support in their everyday activities, some will require less support, and in some cases, they can also live with no support required. In terms of learning and problem-solving, they also have different skill levels ranging from severely challenged to highly skilled ones.
Even though people with autism are different in their dependency levels and problem-solving skills, one of the most common characteristics is their struggle with social interactions. This is caused by mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. This lack of everyday social interactions with other people has led to more people misjudging autism linked to violent crimes.
Is Autism Linked To Violent Crimes?
Several studies are being conducted to determine whether there’s a link between autism and violent crimes. The studies aim to determine whether the individuals with autism are perpetrators of crimes. However, with some people believing it’s linked to violent crimes without proof, people living with autism are already victims.
Lack of social interactions can often be confused as misfits in society, and that’s how autistic individuals get misjudged. However, one thing to note is that people living with ASD may not have control of these conditions and won’t perceive the need for social life as any other average person. Even with such challenges, there’s no conclusive research that can link violent crimes to people living with autism. People living with autism aren’t more violent than people living without autism.
Also, another research shows that while people living with autism may have challenging behaviors in expressing themselves, there’s no link to any violent crimes.
The research also states that more insights on violent crimes convictions didn’t show any direct connection with autism in itself. Instead, it may have been triggered by other conditions, which may occur together with autism. In some cases, violent crimes may be triggered by other conditions such as trauma, neglect, and child abuse. Even then, having a diagnosis of any mental illness does not indicate an individual is more apt at committing violent crimes. Quiet the opposite is true according to Vera Institute for Justice:
People with disabilities are three times more likely to experience violent victimization than people without disabilities, and the rates are even higher for women and those with intellectual, psychiatric, or multiple disabilities.
As discussed, there’s no conclusive research that can link autism to violent crimes. Therefore, the misunderstandings, misconceptions, and judgments directed towards autism and people living with autism should stop. As they may already have a challenge having an everyday social life, linking their condition with violent crimes does more harm than good when it’s not true.