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Asperger syndrome and arson: a case study

Asperger syndrome and arson: a case study Purpose – People with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) may offend as a result of social skills deficits, co‐morbid mental health problems, abuse of drugs and alcohol, or because of their special interests. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate these issues by describing a patient in whom all of these factors contributed to fire‐setting behaviour. Design/methodology/approach – This paper briefly summarises the literature in relation to ASD and offending, then describes the case of a young man with Asperger syndrome who set a fire in his home. Findings – The paper concludes that late diagnosis and the consequent lack of intervention may increase the risk of offending. Adults with ASD who offend can benefit from treatment in specialist secure units and the prognosis following such treatment may be good. Originality/value – The paper highlights the risk of offending in people with ASD, the factors which may contribute to offending, and possible approaches to treatment. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities Emerald Publishing

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
2044-1282
DOI
10.1108/20441281111187171
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – People with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) may offend as a result of social skills deficits, co‐morbid mental health problems, abuse of drugs and alcohol, or because of their special interests. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate these issues by describing a patient in whom all of these factors contributed to fire‐setting behaviour. Design/methodology/approach – This paper briefly summarises the literature in relation to ASD and offending, then describes the case of a young man with Asperger syndrome who set a fire in his home. Findings – The paper concludes that late diagnosis and the consequent lack of intervention may increase the risk of offending. Adults with ASD who offend can benefit from treatment in specialist secure units and the prognosis following such treatment may be good. Originality/value – The paper highlights the risk of offending in people with ASD, the factors which may contribute to offending, and possible approaches to treatment.

Journal

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual DisabilitiesEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 17, 2011

Keywords: Asperger syndrome; Autism spectrum disorder; Autism; Arson; Offending; Medical diagnosis; Medical treatment

References