Profiling Autism and Trauma
April 11, 2018
Individuals with autism face considerable adversities in society. What is perceived as traumatic to individuals with ASD and how they express symptoms of trauma may differ in some ways from those without ASD. Yet, there is almost no current research on how trauma-related disorders manifest in people with autism.
“Most studies haven’t looked at trauma and autism — the ones that did report a very low rate of trauma-related disorders in the autistic population,” says Dr. Connor Kerns.
Dr. Kerns aims to bring light to this tough but important topic with a new study currently underway that investigates the kind of life events individuals with autism consider traumatic, and how this group expresses symptoms of trauma.
Dr. Kerns has already interviewed both adults with autism and parents of those on the spectrum, as well as polled clinical experts in ASD and trauma in order to better understand potential symptoms of trauma in ASD. In the next research phase, she will survey a larger group of 800 people to determine if the trends that emerged during her interviews and expert poll reflect the broader population of people on the autism spectrum. The ultimate goal is to develop an instrument that will be a better measure of trauma for those on the autism spectrum so that their trauma can be recognized and effectively treated.