Suggestibility, Compliance, and Autism Spectrum Disorder in Clinical and Forensic Settings

Presented By Jerrod Brown, PhD
Jerrod Brown, PhD

1 hour | 1 CEs

This On Demand professional training program on Suggestibility, Compliance, and Autism Spectrum Disorder in Clinical and Forensic Settings is presented by Jerrod Brown, PhD.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder distinguished by communication deficits (i.e., language and non-verbal) and behavioral irregularities (e.g., repetitive actions). The presentation of these symptoms can vary widely in presence and severity, which contributes to a great deal of heterogeneity within this diagnostic spectrum. For instance, social abilities and performance on intelligence measures differ substantially across individuals with ASD. Regardless of the ultimate manifestation of ASD, individuals with this disorder, relative to the general population, are at an increased risk for worse outcomes in a variety of settings (e.g., education, work, and home). In particular, individuals with ASD who become involved in the criminal justice system are likely to experience of host of challenges and difficulties. Complicating matters, the communication and behavioral symptoms of ASD make it difficult to adequately participate in the different stages of the criminal justice system (i.e., arrest, interrogation, trial, and corrections). Of serious concern are settings where individuals with ASD are interrogated by police officers or cross-examined by lawyers. Here, the combination of ASD symptoms with the strenuous demands of the context (e.g., high stress and confusing) can deleteriously interact to result in compliance or even suggestibility. Compliance can be defined as the degree that a person will acquiesce to the requests or demands of another individual. In contrast, suggestibility is the predisposition to uncritically believe and incorporate false information from external sources into one’s memory of an event. The risk of compliance or suggestibility among individuals with ASD is only exasperated by leading and repeated questions, negative feedback, and misinformation, all of which are commonplace during interrogations and cross-examinations. In instances of either compliance or suggestibility, there is risk of false confessions and wrongful convictions. To prevent these deleterious outcomes, criminal justice and forensic mental health interviewers need a strong understanding of ASD and how to adequately account for this disorder during criminal justice and legal interactions.

Intended Audience

This on-demand professional training program is intended for mental health and other allied professionals

Experience Level

This on-demand professional training program is appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

CE / CPD Credit

APA, ASWB, CPA, NBCC Click here for state and other regional board approvals.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program you will be able to:

Describe the causes and symptoms of ASD

Describe ways to improve the identification of ASD in criminal justice and forensic mental health settings

Describe the role of ASD in compliance and suggestibility

Describe skills that minimize the risk of compliance and suggestibility

Describe the empirically-based literature associated with ASD, compliance, and suggestibility


Presented By

Jerrod Brown, PhD

Jerrod Brown, Ph.D., is a professor, trainer, researcher, and consultant with multiple years of experience teaching collegiate courses. Jerrod is also the founder and CEO of the American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies (AIAFS) and the Editor-in-Chief of Forensic Scholars Today...

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