- sexuality is an all encompassing topic and not just about sexual intercourse
- autistic girls can enter puberty as early as 6 or 7 years old. A trend has been noticed that autistic girls are entering puberty earlier.
- autistic children can explore sexuality in socially inappropriate times. They tend to ignore social cues that exploring their sexuality in public is inappropriate.
- Sexuality Wheel
Myths and Attitudes:
People with developmental disabilities:
- are delayed in sexual development
- have a higher or lower fertility rate
- do not have the same sexual needs as everyone else
- cannot take responsibility for their sexuality
- cause themselves mental or physical harm when they masturbate
- are oversexed and out of control
- will remain childish and innocent forever
- are not able to marry
- will produce children with disabilities
- are unable to use temporary forms of birth control accurately
- will be over stimulated by sex education and it will make them want to be sexually active
(Adapted from: Rowe, W. S (1987) Sexuality and the developmentally handicapped: A guidebook for health professionals. Queenston, ON: The Edwin Mellen Press
Puberty for Girls
For girls, the introduction of a panty liner or bra can be very hard on their sensory. If these items are left to be introduced when they are needed, there isn't enough time to gradually introduce them. Starting early with a light undershirt and transitioning to a training bra over extended time.
Very literal in there learning and interpretations. Autistic children can become very fixated on something someone said. Busting myths and misconceptions that autistic children establish is very challenging.
One-off talks and drive-by lessons are often not successful with autistic children. We assume that one lesson should be transferable to other situations, but autistic children have a hard time transferring ideas from one context to another.
Reteaching and altering preconceived notions is very difficult with autistic children.
Very important to use proper terminology. The male's genitals is a penis and should not be identified using slang.
The concept of private versus public is a good place to start. Do they understand what public places and private places are in society? Public versus private activities?
- Private means just for you and not for other people.
Often, no two autistic children are the same. What works for Johnny may not work for Suzy.
Tweets I received during the session: