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Adults with autism spectrum disorder and learning disability presenting with challenging behaviour: how tolerant should we be?

Purpose – Reporting to the police incidents of challenging behaviour displayed by inpatients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and learning disability (LD) represents an important but often controversial issue. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to this topic through a brief literature review and the presentation of a clinical case. Design/methodology/approach – Case study and literature review. Findings – The action of reporting to the police can be a useful tool within the therapeutic input provided to patients with ASD and LD who present with challenging behaviour. This can enable staff to feel legally supported, and can promote patients’ learning of social rules, in respect of their rights and duties. The clinical case highlighted that reporting to the police can be effective when it is part of a comprehensive, multi‐professional therapeutic process. This should aim at directing patients towards rehabilitation rather than incarceration. This should also entail the identification of clear pathways and ongoing involvement of patients and families. Originality/value – Despite the relevance for clinical practice of the above debate, little has been published on this topic. This paper contributes to this discussion through the presentation of a clinical case and by describing how this issue was addressed within a secure inpatient setting. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour Emerald Publishing
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