How Does Autism Affect the Processing of Child Sexual Abuse Trauma?

Jose Carbajal, Regina T. Praetorius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Children in general are a vulnerable population, but children with neurodevelopmental disorders are even more vulnerable. This case study, which uses secondary qualitative data to focus on a survivor of sexual abuse who has autism, explores how a child with autism interprets and processes being sexually abused. We contrast how a child with autism experiences child sexual abuse with the experiences of children without autism; major differences emerged in terms of how a child with autism normalizes and interprets sexual abuse. The findings of this study indicate mental health professionals need more training regarding the complications autism adds to the experience of childhood sexual abuse. Further research is needed on the effects of child sexual abuse and autism and on how best to treat the aftermath of child sexual abuse in children with autism.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalJournal of Human Services: Training, Research, and Practice
StatePublished - Feb 29 2020

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