This guide is to assist law enforcement and child protective services staff in working with children with disabilities who have been abused or neglected.
If you suspect, but are not sure if a child has a disability, use the general sections – All children with disabilities and Responding to distress – which include tips for children with a range of disabilities.
If you know the child’s disability, go to that section: Autism spectrum disorder, Communication disabilities, Deaf/DeafBlind/DeafDisabled/Hard of Hearing, Intellectual disabilities, and Mental health symptoms.
Because the focus of this guide is on working with each child as an individual and following their lead, many tips discussed here can be used to support any child, regardless of whether they have a disability. This information can be used as a quick reference field guide, to learn more about a child before an interview or interaction, or as a study guide at work. It contains a number of resources for criminal justice staff, abuse investigators, case managers, and families and caregivers, as well as information about interacting with children with a range of disabilities.