Dr Caroline Richards’ PhD research investigating the risk markers and causes of self-injurious behaviour in autism spectrum disorder was highlighted in a recent Channel 4 News article. The research demonstrated that environmental triggers, behavioural characteristics and the presence of health problems more than double the risk of children with autism engaging in self-injury. These data contribute to the ongoing debate about the causes and treatment of self-injury in children and adults with autism spectrum disorder. Children who display self-injury rarely receive appropriate psychological and medical assessment and intervention, and atypical antipsychotics are frequently prescribed, despite the strong evidence base for psychological interventions.
Caroline Richards’ PhD research was funded by Research Autism and supervised by Professor Chris Oliver at the Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders.