(For Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities)
Let’s get practical. This section contains ten sets of activities that you can use with your child to talk about sexuality. Pick and choose among these activities based on what your child already knows and what they’re capable of learning. If you like a particular activity, but you find it too easy or too difficult for your child, then adapt, adapt, adapt.
PDF versions for some of these activities are available so you can download them, save them to your computer, and print them out. If you see this button at the bottom of an activity, then there's a PDF version.
Teaching Assertive Communication
Assertive communication has everything to do with healthy sexuality. In fact, it has everything to do with practically everything else in one’s life too. Sure, it may make your life a lot easier to have a complacent, obedient child, but that child may never be able to stand up to a sexual predator or an abusive boyfriend or girlfriend. Might as well start teaching your child a little disobedience today! Take me there.
Teaching Decision-Making Skills
Most of us make a lot of our decisions with very little thought. Right? Does that always work for you? Well, it certainly doesn’t work for children with developmental disabilities, especially when they have to make big decisions. Help your child avoid disastrous consequences by teaching them how to make the right decisions. Take me there.
Discussion Starters: Questions about Sexuality
Go ahead, take a chance. Ask your child some or all of the questions in this activity, and see where the discussions lead. You may be surprised. Take me there.
Having sexual feelings is not a choice, but what you do with your feelings is a choice. Use this activity to help your child recognize sexual feelings and the physical and emotional responses they produce. There are four choices you can make when you have sexual feelings, and your child needs to know and understand what each of these choices is, and when each choice is appropriate. Take me there.
Teaching Sexual Abuse Prevention:
Circles and Relationships
One of the biggest concerns of parents is how to protect their children from sexual abuse. Unfortunately, there is no magical solution to this problem. Protecting children from sexual abuse takes hard work and it takes a lot of time, especially if your child has a developmental disability. We’re sorry we have to tell you this because we know that your days are already full. We know that you’re already teaching other lessons over and over that children without developmental disabilities pick up on the first try. Again, we can’t offer you a magical solution. Nobody can.
But what we can offer you is a program that works. And it’s been working for children with developmental disabilities since 1983. If you’re willing to do the work outlined in this activity, you will make your child’s life dramatically safer. Take me there.
Teaching about Private Behaviors
The next biggest concern for parents, after sexual abuse, is to prevent their children from exhibiting private behaviors in public. These behaviors include showing their private parts in public, masturbating in public, or talking about private parts or behaviors in public.
Again, there are no magical solutions to these problems. But there are activities you can do with your child that will teach them about private behaviors. Take me there.
Teaching about Puberty
No child should experience their first period or their first wet dream without knowing about it ahead of time. It’s just too scary. Start talking with your child about puberty before it begins, and then continue the discussions all throughout puberty. Take me there.
Teaching Your Daughter about Her Periods
Whether or not your child has a developmental disability, they will still mature physically. In other words, puberty happens. And if you've got a daughter, periods happen. Are you prepared? For starters, we hope you understand the importance of talking with your daughter about menstruation before she gets her first period. It's not something she should experience "in the dark." Take me there.
Autism Spectrum Disorders and Sexuality
Teenagers and young adults on the autism spectrum need to know about puberty, hygiene, private behaviors, sexual abuse, romantic relationships, and sex. In order for them to make good choices, it is your responsibility as a parent to teach them about these very personal topics. We’ll show you how. Take me there.
Teaching Dating and Relationship Skills to Teenagers
with Asperger’s Syndrome or High Functioning Autism
Dating and relationships can be tough for anyone to handle, but teenagers with Asperger’s Syndrome or High Functioning Autism face unique challenges. That’s because they lack certain skills and abilities that make it easier to meet people and to get close to them, both physically and emotionally. We’ll examine three challenges to successful romantic relationships to see how you can help your teenager. Take me there.
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