Sexuality and Relationships Potential for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders
For more information: Contact Jerry Newport at: Wholphin48@Hotmail.com Mary Newport at: Marymozartandwhale@hotmail.com Wholphin48@Hotmail.com
The Normal Path of Social Growth Age: Activity 0-.5 “I am the universe” .5-1.5 “ No, I’m not…” 1.5-3.0 Initial contact with others 3-5 Games and other contacts 5-12 Escalated “teasing,” INNOCENT contact with other gender 12-15 Knowledge of physical potential, properly managed by family 15+ Dating begins And the rest happens way too early to tell!
While ASD Children are Getting Busted (Diagnosed)….. Normal Children: Engage in an array of pre-puberty “dancing”; teasing, spontaneous playful contact, activities that must have certain people present to happen ( Source: “Solving the Relationship Puzzle – Stephen Gutstein, Ph.D. )
If your child is a girl, she is far more likely…. to have dates and other age-appropriate social experiences, boyfriends, a husband and even children than autistic boys BUT this experience is not always positive. The naviete of ASD females can set them to trust the wrong men, be abused and suffer lifelong effects like post- traumatic stress disorder.
Social barriers for autistic boys Far too much attention is paid to teaching our boys the don’ts while not teaching them what to do… Add to that, bullying and social ridicule by peers and you get a young man with Unbearable social anxiety: Fear of rejection Obvious self-conciousness Fear of social initiation
Common Internal Messages in High Functioning Party Animals: I am fun to be with. I can be myself and someone will like me. I don’t really need people but I like them sometimes.
Common Internal Messages in People with ASD: I am supported and tolerated but never liked. I have to be what others want me to be and that is impossible. I am sick of living in this shell!!!
Wait a Minute!! There ARE some positive things that people with ASD offer to potential friends or sexual partners!!!!
ASD People Often Have a Strong Sense of Fairness, Morality and Social Justice
Practical advice for social beginners who are young men…. 1. Pay attention to your grooming. 2. Seek girls with similar interests to you and school activities that include them. 3. Pick social “comfort zones” to share with girls you like as friends or possible dates. 4. Be patient! 5. Don’t expect to always succeed! 6. Show interest in social companions. 7. When in doubt, act as if you know what you are doing ( like 99% of successful men )
The scariest part of social interaction for most ASD people is the spontaneous nature of it. Some drills can help build confidence for social situations.
What are drills? A drill (Jerry’s version) is any sequence of actions that can be learned to the point of being done without hesitation and with confidence in the outcome.
Some of Jerry’s Regular Drills • The “I lost something” drill • “Before going to bed” drill • “Wake up” drill • “Someone is interrupting me” drill
One drill in detail…… How To Ask Someone Out on Phone 1. Call someone you actually know. 2. Call at appropriate time. 3. Introduce yourself
Phone drill continued….. 4. Access target (Make sure you are not talking to mom or roommate) 5. Have something to say before asking for the date ( feign genuine interest ) 6. Make clear, enthusiastic invitation
Phone Drill Conclusion….. • 7. If answer is “yes”, confirm time, place and hang up asap. LESS IS MORE. • 8. If answer is “no”, ask if you can try again. Adhere to “three-strike” rule.
School activities that foster social growth… Group music: Band, chorus, orchestra Performing arts: Acting especially Team sports Clubs that do projects: School newspaper, poetry club, other clubs that jointly publish something or do a joint activity
Interest Group Strategies 1. Your child needs to SHARE his interest. 2. Look for group with compatible ages and other social factors. 3. Be cautious about “real-time” invitation to an Internet Interest group.
Physical Drills Know where exits, restrooms and refreshment facilities are, wherever you go out. Know safe places to park and walk. Know where you want to sit in a theater, concert, sports arena or any event you attend with a date.
Other Adolescent issues….. Sexual abuse Bullying
Two Scary Statistics Before the age of eighteen, over 85% of girls and at least 40% of boys with a developmental disability will be… SEXUALLY MOLESTED ( Source: David Hingsberger, disability sexuality expert )
Even scarier……. In the overwhelming majority of instances, the sexual abuse will be done by a person who is trusted to work with the developmentally disabled child or teen. (same source)
Why are autistic youths more vulnerable to sexual abuse? 1. They are afraid to report it. 2. Nonverbal people are vulnerable. 3. They have the wrong information about sex.
What can you do to discourage sexual abuse? 1. Give your children the right information: The FACTS about sex What kind of TOUCH is okay and what is not okay
What else can you do? 2. Make sure your non-verbal child has A way to tell you that he has been abused!!
What to do About Bullying? • Remember everything Carol Gray told you. • Encourage physical fitness, self-defense training. • Don’t say it is wrong to defend yourself. • Never say bullying is the victim’s fault.
Individual/Paired Physical Activities Self-defense class Tumbling/gymnastics Walking/running Horseback Riding Swimming Dancing Bowling Weight Training Golf Horseshoes Tennis Badminton Catch
Why Pets? 1. Pets teach the value of pleasurable contact: sensuality 2. Pets offer unconditional love and acceptance
Appropriate Pets 1. Are durable 2. Don’t carry communicable diseases 3. Won’t harm infants if in house 4. Are strokeable, holdable and noticeably respond to loving contact.
Let’s see if my audience….. Can tell whether the following pets are….. Appropriate or Inappropriate
Other Appropriate Sensual Activities Cooking Tasting Foods Mudpies Building Snowmen, Snowforts Listening to music, playing music Decorating house for holidays, other special events Slinkies Elastic Stretching Spinning Coins, Rings Eggbeaters!!!!
If You can’t talk about sex with your child…… If sex is a forbidden subject at home If your child learns that sex is “dirty” Where will your child learn about it?
Adult Concerns….. Accepting responsibility for sexual activity Social options for adults
What Part of “NO” Don’t You Understand????? Avoid “Date-Rape’ Drugs No women “get pregnant” by themselves. No woman ever “just got” an abortion.
“NO” also means this: Sex is never enough to continue an abusive relationship. The desire for eventual sex is never enough to allow a parasite to abuse or exploit you.