Tag Archives: Children With Autism

Sex Education and Autism: Keeping Things in Perspective for Children With Autism

Sexuality has always been a taboo topic in society especially when kids are concern, so much more so when it comes to kids and teens with autism. Today, however, teaching about sexuality is considered a must to develop and enhance personal values with respect upon self and others as a basis. Sexual education is usually infused in school curriculum to teach children as early as 7 to understand and value themselves and others. This is one way of teaching them how to develop meaningful and respectful relationships later on.

To kids and teens with autism, the preparation and method can be quite comprehensive. Kids with autism are known to be socially challenged and often, have a hard time co-mingling with other, but this condition does not exempt them from being subjected to sexual harassment or abuse. By laying the foundation for them like correctly identifying body parts, clear understanding of human reproduction, learning about safety, and discovering family and interpersonal relationships will eventually develop their awareness and confidence.

The key in teaching children with autism about sexuality is by doing it gradually and according to their age and development. Be reminded that sexual education is not merely about sexuality per se but more on raising awareness and recognizing their own capabilities to better understand their bodies, relationship with others, and feelings deep within.

School Agenda on Sex Education for Autism

Sexual education is compulsory to most, if not all, school curriculum. The most fundamental aspect in educating children with autism about human sexuality is the literacy skill bestowed upon them. Amid their developmental needs, these children (most especially the teens) can now understand, interpret and assess outside and imagery messages (especially those coming from the media and the internet) correlated to relationships, sexuality, and gender.

Teachers usually raise awareness to students with autism about their body and to better understand the changes that come with it especially during puberty. It is important that they infuse key learning in a positive environment without discriminating gender. Often, raising awareness is inclined to dispel certain myths that students might hear or learned from outside influences especially from peer pressure. Often, this particular school curriculum provides a venue or forum to generate open communication between students with autism and parents.

Your Role As A Responsible Parent

Raising a child with autism can be tough. No doubt about it. However, we are tasked to make our kids independent and be confident enough to be able to sustain their needs and wants amid living in the wide-ranging spectrum of autism. It is our obligation to provide them information and knowledge consistent to what has been taught in school. It is understandable that it can be hard to some levels of autism severity but, when kids ultimately grow up, and the least we can do is to openly and honestly discuss with them issues on sexuality to better gear them when they reach puberty.

Aside from social issues, the most important aspect of sex education to children with autism is for their safety. Prevention of abuse must be foremost in the minds of parents, teachers and caregivers. From learning about themselves to personal hygiene, bathroom and locker room independence and safety, drawing the line between “good touching” and “bad touching”, proactively teaching our kids the right way about their sexuality can make them understand better about privacy thereby preventing them from becoming likely victims to predators prying on innocent kids.

Cameron’s 8 today, full of life, full of confidence…

My son Cameron – laughter, tears, pain and fear come to mind when I think of him. He’s 8 today, full of life, full of confidence. But he wasn’t always that way.

Cameron was 18 mths when I first heard the word Autism. I knew he had some speech delays and was developmentally behind at that age, but the word Autism never entered my mind until spring of that year. I know the doctor was telling me all of her findings on that day and why she suspected my Cameron had Autism, but after that word, I blocked everything else out. I remember tears all of sudden rushing down my face and my husband leaning over to hug me and say everything was going to be ok. At that moment, I thought nothing would be the same again.

That fall my son was admitted into a preschool for children with Autism. I guess I am lucky that I live in a province that provides such a service. There was so much information given to me all at once my head was spinning. ABA therapy, schedules, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy. One mom can only handle so much. I really didn’t know what Autism meant other than what I had seen in movies. I remember having to ask a staff member at the pre-school to explain what was going on, what PDD-NOS meant. My husband tried to be supportive, but he had work etc. I had work also, but all of a sudden I remember reading up on everything about Autism and therapies was much more important.

It took almost 3 yrs of every type of therapy, naturapathy, me quitting my job to provide at home support for him, listening to every seminar, reading every Jenny McCarthy book on Autism to realize it’s not the end of the world. We were ok! Cameron was going to school, he could speak (although not well), he loved playing with kids, everyone adored him, he was funny and charming and everyone fell in love with his big brown eyes. And my marriage had survived.

I know quitting my job wasn’t the best decision, I was lucky I was able to do so and I had a husband who was there to support me in all my decisions. Cameron who is 8 now, has just entered grade 3. I have to admit the first year of school was an adjustment, not just for him, but for me. After spending every waking second learning, studying and living Autism, to have 6 hrs a day to myself was strange. He still receives help at school, and has an educational assistant in the class, but the boy he has become is amazing. He has never given up on trying, either with educational stuff or socially. I am proud of his hard work to overcome his disabilities!!