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Interviewing Children on the Spectrum

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2019
2 pages

This is an overview of how to conduct forensic interviews of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by the presence of social and communication difficulties, restricted/repetitive behaviors, and/or stereotyped interests, and to stimuli such as sound, light, and touch.





The challenges in memory recollection and impairments associated with ASD are noted, along with difficulties in speaking, understanding, and using language. Preparation before the forensic interview is discussed, noting that effective interviewing of children with ASD requires some preliminary data from caretakers, other professionals who have had contact with the child, or from records. Such information will assist in identifying the unique characteristics, competencies, and limitations of the child, as well as any accommodations needed to capitalize on the child’s communication strengths. Step to take during the interview include minimizing distractions, keeping the child on topic, ignoring irrelevant behavior, and emphasizing open-ended questions.