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Sexuality and Relationship Education for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders A Professional’s Guide to Understanding, Preventing Issues, Supporting Sexuality and Responding to Inappropriate Behaviours

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Book - Sexuality and Relationship Education for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders A Professional’s Guide to Understanding, Preventing Issues, Supporting Sexuality and Responding to Inappropriate Behaviours

by: Davida Hartman

About the author:

Davida Hartman is a Senior Educational Psychologist in the Developmental and ASD Psychology Department for Carlow and Kilkenny, Irish Health Service Executive. She is a regular lecturer and trainer on sexuality and relationship education for children with ASD and consults to a number of different groups and agencies. She has been working with children and adolescents with ASD for thirteen years in the capacity of a psychologist and a teacher. Davida received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Trinity College Dublin, her MA in Educational Psychology from University College Dublin, and she is a Registered Psychologist with the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI). Her website can be visited at

ISBN: 978-1-84905-385-3

Year: 2013

Publication Info: 256pp


Children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) require specialized teaching strategies when learning about puberty, sexuality and relationships. This professional resource offers practical teaching advice geared towards the needs of young people on the autism spectrum.

Beginning with information on good practice, policy, teaching methods and recent research, the book then divides into key sex education topics that assist professionals in developing their own individualized and developmentally appropriate curricula. Covering issues of gender, public and private, puberty, hygiene, emotions, sex and more, each topic provides an overview of the difficulties that children with autism might experience, discussion and activity ideas and photocopiable resources including instructional stories, checklists and illustrations. The final section demonstrates how to respond to ongoing patterns of inappropriate behaviour and put together a behaviour plan.

Aiming to explain and support the child’s developing sexuality while also addressing crucial issues of safety, this book is a much-needed teaching manual for all professionals working with children and young adults with autism including educators in mainstream and special education, psychologists, therapists and social workers.



Acknowledgements. Author’s Notes. Part I: Understanding. 1. Introduction. 2. Sexuality, Sexuality and Relationship Education & ASD: A Summary of the Research. 3. Understanding Sexual Behaviours in Children. 4. Teaching Tools and Recommendations. 5. Working with Parents. 6. Developing Sexuality and Relationship Education Policies and Procedures. Part II: Preventing. 7. Teach Gender. 8. Teach Body Parts and Fluids. 9. Teach Growing and Changes. 10. Teach Puberty. 11. Teach Appearance and Hygiene. 12. Teach Public and Private. 13. Teach Safety Skills. 14. Teach Sexual Health. 15. Teach Conception, Pregnancy and Birth. 16. Sexuality and Relationship Education in a Modern Age. Part III: Supporting. 17. Teach Emotional Understanding and Regulation. 18. Teach Sensory Sensitivities. 19. Masturbation. 20. Teach Relationships. 21. Dating, Intimate Relationships and Sex. 22. Teach Sense of Self. Part IV: Responding. 23. Responding to ‘Inappropriate’ Behaviours in the Area of Sexuality and Relationships. 24. Putting Together a Plan. Appendix A: Research Articles. Appendix B: Sexuality and Relationship Education Child Checklist. Appendix C: Sexuality and Relationship Education Organisation Checklist. Appendix D: Sexuality and Relationship Education Curriculum Plan. Appendix E: Functional Behaviour Assessment. Appendix F: UPSR Sexuality and Relationship Education: Individual Behaviour Plan. Appendix G: Illustrations. References. Recommended Reading and Resources.




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