Nancy Crown on Interviewing People with Autism

In a new tip sheet, clinical psychologist Nancy Crown explains common misconceptions and offers advice for reporters interviewing people with autism, a developmental disability. Crown, who has worked extensively with people with neuro-developmental disabilities and their families, teaches medical students how to take patient histories at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

“People with autism tend to be fairly guileless, and by definition, have unconventional social judgment,” writes Crown, who is also the mother of a child with autism. “If approached at the scene of a crime, for example, anxiety and/or communication difficulties may lead them to think they are in trouble. It would be important to frame the interview, explaining your role, why you are interviewing them and how you will use the information.”

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