Can you tell me about Aspergers sexuality issues?
As one of the most difficult times in the life of a child with Asperger’s, sexuality and puberty are much dreaded by parents and teachers alike. Children with Asperger’s, while very intelligent, tend to be immature for their age. However, puberty and sexual development will appear at the appropriate age, leaving room for confusion for the child and possible embarrassment for the parents.
Teaching your child with Asperger’s about sexuality is very important and must be taken seriously. This is not the time to be shy and hope the child makes these discoveries for himself. Chances are, he will make these discoveries without proper knowledge, and that is a recipe for disaster.
By always practicing open communication with your child with Asperger’s, sexuality and puberty talks will come naturally and with little trepidation. Remember, any anxiety or discomfort you feel will be obvious to your child. You do not want to send the message that sexuality is a negative frame of mind. Here are some of the issues that occur in children with Asperger’s Syndrome from lack of knowledge:
- Touching self or others inappropriately in public
- Undressing in public
- Talking about sexual subject in public
- Beginning sexual activity at a young age
- Sexually transmitted diseases
While all parents worry about many of these same issues when their children reach the teen years, typically developing children have a better chance of understanding than a child with Asperger’s, about sexuality. Parents of children with Asperger’s must approach sex education with purpose in order to inform their child about the way things should be. Here are some tips for the parent of an Asperger’s child nearing puberty.
- Start early. Young children with Asperger’s Syndrome should be taught about their bodies using proper terminology. Any questions that arise should be answered age-appropriately, with facts and simple terminology.
- Open communication is a must for parents and children. Teach your child that he can talk to you or ask questions about anything.
- Discuss emotions. Your child with Asperger’s has difficulty relating to others and understanding emotions and feelings. Be sure to talk about the emotions and feelings that come with puberty and sexuality.
Due to the challenges of Asperger’s, sexuality is a big issue that must be tackled when the time is right. If you are unsure how to start a conversation with your child, you might want to consider a resource like “Autism-Asperger’s & Sexuality: Puberty and Beyond”, by Jerry and Mary Newport. The authors of this book are a married couple with Asperger’s Syndrome.