|Sexuality Education and Your Son or Daughter with Autism or Asperger’s|
|Written by Sorah Stein|
|Wednesday, 05 September 2012 01:17|
Having a child with Autism or Asperger’s is an adventure. It seems some days that it takes all you’ve got (plus a few extra-large cups of coffee) to get through the day between getting out the door to school, therapy sessions after school, getting dinner on the table, homework, baths, and putting the kids to bed. It’s easy to get caught up in the minute-by-minute and day-to-day and miss the fact that before your very eyes: your son or daughter is growing up.
But grow up he or she shall do (despite your vest efforts!). And that means one day, in the not-to-distant future you will have a pre-teen on your hands.
Most states do not require children participating in special education to access sexuality education in school. This means that you have now acquired one more responsibility: congratulations, you are now your child’s sex ed teacher.
Sexuality education for children with Autism and Asperger’s is not optional. Sexuality education for children with Autism and Asperger’s is critical.
As much as you’d probably like to believe that your son or daughter will forever remain innocent as they day he or she was born, the fact is children, including those with Autism and Asperger’s are sexual beings. Just like you (and your parents too!). Being sexual is not the same as having sex. Being sexual is about who you are, how you see yourself, and what you do. Being sexual is about being male or female, seeing yourself as male or female, and acting in the role of male or female. For younger children this includes playing games such as house or school. For older children this includes cooking and sewing or working on cars after school.
For children of all ages, with and without disabilities, being sexual also means learning about their bodies, and more importantly that they are responsible for their bodies. Children with Autism and Asperger’s are not exempt from needing these lessons.
Your son or daughter needs to know about his or her body. If your daughter doesn’t know what her body parts are called, how can she tell you when something hurts? How can your son tell you about an inappropriate touch from an adult, if you don’t teach him about different kinds of touch? What response do you expect from your daughter when she gets her first period, if you don’t teach her about it? Or your son when he has his first wet dream?
For many typically developing children, what they learn from school is augmented with information from parents, television, and peers. Children with Autism and Asperger’s typically do not have these kinds of peer interactions and they don’t learn the same way from television and movies. Even more so, your child’s peers will be much more likely to target and make fun of his or her lack of knowledge in this area.
Your child will also be much more vulnerable to exploitation from adults if not properly educated. This is a scary prospect.
Now, the point of all this is not to scare you into locking your son or daughter in the house. Nor is the point to have you terrified every time your child leaves the safety of your side. The point is to help you realize just how important it is that you ensure your child has good, accurate, and appropriate sexuality education.
And this just might mean you’ll blush. And squirm. And not always know the answer. And that’s just fine. But you will learn. And then you will teach your child.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 04 November 2012 14:39|