Aspergers Children & Sexual Behaviors

Individuals with autism are sexual beings, just as everyone else is. However, because of their inability to control all of their impulses, they may display behaviors that are inappropriate in public. This can be particularly difficult to deal with as it can be embarrassing for parents to deal with. This is something you will need to be direct and proactive about.

There are social aspects of sexuality that will need to be dealt with. You can use social stories to teach about sexuality as well as many other things. It is important that your child understand good touch/bad touch. They can be vulnerable in this area and you want them to be prepared in order to reduce their risk.

In order to be proactive, you will need to think ahead, and decide what is appropriate to teach your child at each stage of development. When talking about sexuality, use real terms. Individuals with autism do not pick up on social cues, so they need concrete terms about what you are talking about. Reinforce appropriate behavior, and when inappropriate behavior occurs (e.g., masturbating in public), redirect the child.

Plan ahead before going into the community. Let them know exactly what is expected of them while they are in the community. If your child is young and doesn't seem to comprehend, give them something else to keep their hands busy.

Using behavior modification techniques can be effective. For older children, adolescents, let them know that it is okay to do that, but it needs to be done in private. You need to decide that you will address the issue, and not avoid it.

Set aside some time with your child to talk about sexuality. If you only respond when an incident occurs you may be sending the wrong message to your child. Find out what your child knows about sexuality, again using direct questions. Find out if your child has concerns or fears about sexuality. 

Talk about what is "normal" sexual behavior, but also let them know what is inappropriate. Try to let your child know that you are comfortable and that it is okay to have sexual feelings and it is OK to talk about them. If you still have concerns, talk to your child's school. They may have some programs that can be helpful in teaching more about sexuality. Or you can seek the advice of a professional outside of the school.

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