Sexuality & Autism

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Internet Resources

RC Knickmeyer et al
A major finding in the research reported here was that individuals with cognitive disabilities who were receiving anti-libidinal medication were similar on most variables to those who were not receiving anti-libidinal medication or any medication at all, and also to those who had committed non-sexual offences against other people.
Susan Hayes et al
(I)t could be worse; I could be one of them... closed minded people who find it necessary to divide everyone into 'us' and 'them'. Probably like you, like most homosexuals, the last thing I could possibly want is a 'cure' for my individuality.
Transexual Road Map
This is a peer support service for adults on the autism spectrum. Personal relationships and sexuality issues can be explored openly. It is suggested that participants reserve a nick and email address for use specifically on this site as an aid to maintaining confidentiality.
Dedicated to creating dialogue among and about the rapidly emerging group of individuals who identify as asexual.
Autism itself is a misunderstood condition in itself, and can make life a challenge. By some twist of fate, I also had another complex issue to deal with - homosexuality. This combination has presented me with an extra set of challenges and insights.
Tony Langdon
We have a quick and easy online tour through the most important topics for teens who are sexually active now or just thinking about having sex. It's called Just Say Yes! because we're tired of people telling us what we can and can't do.
That the sexual existence of developmentally disabled people has been denied and ignored so completely is hardly surprising, given the way that this society trivializes sex and how narrowly and exclusively it considers who is sexy and sexual.
David Steinberg
People with Developmental Disabilities have a right to grow into adulthood and grow into adult relationships; have a safe place to live; have information in order to be able to form healthy relationships.
Few studies have compared sexual behaviours among adolescents with high-functioning autism (HFA) and typical populations, and indicated whether specialized education is required. We hypothesized that adolescents with HFA would (1) display poorer social behaviours; (2) engage in fewer behaviours related to privacy and have poorer knowledge regarding privacy issues; (3) have less sex education; and (4) display more inappropriate sexual behaviours; and that (5) parental concerns would be greater for the HFA sample. Parents of typical adolescents (n = 50) and adolescents with HFA (n = 23) were surveyed with a Sexual Behaviour Scale (SBS) developed by the authors, with domains corresponding to the hypotheses. The HFA and typical groups were found to be significantly different on all five domains. However, following covariation with age and level of social behaviour, it was found that only parental concerns about their child distinguished between typical adolescents and those with HFA. Specialized sex education programmes with a social interaction emphasis should be considered for this group.
Mark A. Stokes, Archana Kaur
Simply put, the sexuality of persons with mental disabilities is one of the most threatening issues confronting clinicians, line workers, administrators, advocates, and attorneys who are involved in mental health care related work, as well as the families of individuals with mental disabilities. It is "a public policy question as controversial as they get," since the taboos and stigmas ordinarily associated with sexual behavior are inevitably enhanced when juxtaposed with stereotypes about mental disability.
Michael L. Perlin
Includes several articles on sexuality, a handful of jokes, and information on sexuality courses.
Melissa Bee
Creating new dialogues between the public, researchers, and community advocates to strengthen informed responses to critical sexual and social issues.
The term 'intersexed' refers to atypical differentiation of the sexual organs. It describes an anatomic condition that a person is born with. It does not refer to any form of sexual behavior or personal lifestyle.
Jim Sinclair
Mental health and general well-being are likely dependent on factors other than gender role identity, but these data support the theory that positive androgyny is associated with their attainment.
Brenda Mae Woodhill
What is more important is to focus on TIME and PLACE: What can you do appropriately (and safely) . Where, and when is it appropriate to do so?
Janice Adams
Loving relationships, which include sexual expression, are an integral component of a person's physical, emotional and mental well-being. Accordingly, service providers need to consider this aspect of life to be a priority in service delivery.
Regional Residential Services Society,
What is the benefit to our culture as a whole to have a group of people who are regarded as being unable to have sex?
Safeguarding People who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) from Sexual Abuse / Victimization
Sex education does not only exclusively involve sexual issues. They cover a wide spectrum including personal hygiene, safety against abuse, appropriate private and public behaviour, and so on. Sex education focuses on two main themes: the need for accurate information and appropriate, responsible behaviour.
Richard Joseph
The most basic sexuality skills that all individuals with autism must learn are simple discrimination skills. No other skill will be more important for their ability to function in either group home or sheltered workshop settings.
Surveys of sexual behavior in autism suggest a variety of behavioral expression. However, the course of sexual development in autism is unplotted, leaving questions about the normalcy of specific behaviors. Even less is known about deviations of sexual development and the incidence of paraphilias in this population. We explore the problems of definition of sexual behaviors and describe a case report that highlights the difficulties of management. An application of a testosterone-suppressing medication and its effect on sexual behavior are reported. After failure of behavioral and educational programs, leuprolide, an injectable antiandrogen, resulted in suppression of behaviors and retention of the participants' communityplacement. Follow-up for almost 3 years shows no abnormal physical effects. Dosage has been tapered over that period to a low but effective dose. Directions for research are discussed.
George M. Realmuto, Lisa A. Ruble
Dedicated to providing easy access to sexuality information, education, counseling, therapy, medical attention, and other sexuality resources for people with disability, illness, or other health related problems
Melissa Bee
Young people with disabilities are no different from other kids in their need to understand their bodies and relationships; they, too, have romantic longings and sexual interests.
University of Michigan Health System
Talking about the mechanics of sexual activity is not something that people are comfortable doing, yet the 'how-to' information may be exactly what is needed.
Marilyn Irwin
The special needs of individuals with disabilities must be taken into consideration when parents and professionals present information on attitudes, values, behaviors, and facts about social skills and sexuality.
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, NICHCY News Digest #ND17
The most common myth is that children and youth with disabilities are asexual and consequently do not need education about their sexuality. The truth is that all children are social and sexual beings from the day they are born.
National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities
Provision of supported living services should be offered in an atmosphere which respects privacy; and supports, rather than prohibits, the expression of one's sexuality.
TASH
Sexual feelings are normal, and there are many ways of expressing one's sexuality. If a person has a disability, it does not change any of this. What often changes is the socialization that provides the foundation for sexual identity.
Geri Newton
We are a social and educational organization whose purpose is to promote understanding and appreciation for the many forms of adult intimate relationships and consensual sexual expression.
The Benhaven programme is designed to help adolescents with autism to comprehend the function of their adult bodies and to assist them in moving towards some appropriate and socially acceptable forms of sexual behaviour.
John Mortlock
Speak Up is about ending the silences that prevent people who use alternative ways to communicate from protecting themselves from sexual abuse. It is about giving people with complex communication needs the information, education and means to communicate about healthy sexuality and sexual abuse.
This paper explores the efficacy of an intervention on HIV/AIDS and sexuality education with autistic children. A number of autistic children are sexually active, without realising the consequences of their actions, and this makes them vulnerable to HIV infection and pregnancy.
Nazli Jugbaran, Eliza Melissa Moodley

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