Want to make people uncomfortable? Ask them about their sex education of their child with a disability (regardless of whether their “child” is 4 or 42 years old)!
What have you done to educate your child with autism about sex and sexuality? If you need some help getting started, here are some resources. A new publication called Impact: Feature Issue on Sexuality and People with Intellectual, Developmental and Other Disabilities was recently published by the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota. Its articles cover topics ranging from sexuality education in the home and school, to personal stories of dating and marriage, to legal and ethical issues for staff and agencies providing services for people with disabilities. The new Impact issue on sexuality is available online in PDF and text-only at http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/232. In addition, a free print copy can be requested by calling 612-624-4512 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just a quick review of some of these articles tells me that this can be a very useful resource; for example, one article discusses how direct service professionals should ethically support the sexual choices of the individual, not impose their own values. Another article has specific suggestions for teaching sex ed (using task analysis, Circles® charts, and storyboards).
Yet another issue is addressed in the article Coming Out: A Mother-Daughter Conversation. The full range of human sexuality choices, including LBGT issues (lesbian, bi-sexual, gay, and transgender), is something that many parents are uncomfortable thinking about, much less discussing. Yet, individuals with disabilities may not all be heterosexual; two courageous parents presented on this very topic at the Autism Society of America annual conference in July.
Take a look at these articles—they cover a broad range of topics and ages. Guess what: all people go through puberty and need information about it!