AARC Tip of the Month | January 2020 | View as Webpage
male and female signs
Puberty and sex education can be a tricky topic. It can be awkward to talk about, and we may not know the right questions to ask or where to go for accurate, up-to-date information. 
 
Why is sex education important?
  • It is essential for self-advocates to be empowered with information and resources to protect themselves from harm. Some studies indicate that it is four times as likely for individuals with autism or developmental disabilities to experience sexual assault or abuse than those without. 

  • Some individuals with autism are incarcerated due to not understanding legal implications or social skills. For example, a person may be incarcerated for self-stimulatory behavior that may appear sexual in nature, or for displaying harassing behavior as a result of misreading social cues. While these behaviors may not have been the intent of the individual, they are still against the law. Exact numbers are not known; however, research estimates that approximately 4.4% of those incarcerated meet the criteria for an autism diagnosis, a number that is four times greater than non-incarcerated individuals. 
 
While sex education may look different for every individual, and family and cultural needs must be considered, it is essential to develop a plan for education (either at home or school) that includes explicit teaching on puberty, self-care, social skills and relationships, safety, and sex education. It is also important to provide resources for self-advocates to research topics individualized to their needs.

For some tools to help teach this topic, download this quick guide:
UPCOMING EVENTS ON AUTISM & SEX EDUCATION

The AARC is proud to invite Stephanie Mitelman, international speaker and AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator, to talk about this sensitive topic as it relates to individuals with autism at every age. Learn how to teach accurate information and promote healthy relationships while supporting individual needs. 

  • ASSEC Pre-Conference Workshop: February 15-16, 8am-4pm (In Person Only)
  • Parent Seminar: February 15, 7pm-9pm (In Person & Via Distance)
Resources of the Month
The resources of the month are available in the Special Education Service Agency (SESA) Library. Search for items on the   SESA website , or contact the librarian, Anne Freitag, at   afreitag@sesa.org   or 907-334-1301 

Electronic books may be accessed from anywhere in the state. If you've used our ebooks before,   go to the login  page here.  If you haven't, please contact Anne so she can set up a username and password for you.   Learn more about ebooks here .
Asperger's and Girls: world-renowned experts join those with Asperger's Syndrome to resolve issues that girls and women face every day!
Featuring Tony Attwood, Temple Grandin, & 7 other experts
Future Horizons, Inc., 2006. ISBN: 193256540X 
Description: "...describes the unique challenges of women and girls with Asperger’s Syndrome. In it you’ll read candid stories written by the indomitable women who have lived them. You’ll also hear from experts who discuss whether “Aspie girls” are slipping under the radar, undiagnosed; why many AS women feel like a minority within a minority (outnumbered by men 4:1); practical solutions school systems can implement for girls; social tips for teenage girls, navigating puberty, the transition to work or university, and the importance of careers." - Publisher's website .
Asperger's Syndrome and Sexuality: from adolescence through adulthood
By Isabelle Henault; foreword by Tony Attwood
Jessica Kingsley, 2006. ISBN: 1843101890
Description: “Playing the dating game is often tricky: all the more so for individuals with Asperger's Syndrome. How do AS adolescents and their families cope with sexual feelings and behaviour? What help can be given if a man with AS oversteps the mark in expressing his sexuality? How do people with AS deal with intimacy and communication in sexual relationships? In this comprehensive and unique guide, {the author] delivers practical information and advice on issues ranging from puberty and sexual development, gender identity disorders, couples' therapy to guidelines for sex education programs and maintaining sexual boundaries.” - Publisher's website .
Autism-Asperger's & Sexuality: Puberty and beyond
By Jerry and Mary Newport; foreword by Teresa Bolick
Future Horizons, 2002. ISBN: 1885477880 
Description: "Written by two adults diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, this groundbreaking, personal look at the sexual challenges of those diagnosed with autism or Asperger's includes advice on dating, sex, birth control, disease prevention, abuse, and personal responsibility." - Publisher's website .
A Boy's Guide to Growing Up! (DVD)
Presented by Marsh Media
Written by Liz Smith
Illustrated by Gala Perry
Marsh Media, 2005. ISBN: 9781559420723 
Description: Sexual development of boys in the adolescent years. "... covers the following important topics: external anatomy, physical and emotional changes of puberty, health and hygiene, privacy and safety. In addition to the DVD/Video (Run Time: 14:49), the comprehensive kit includes an extensive teaching guide (36 pages) and packets of 10 student booklets (32 pages each). The instructional material is organized in chapter format, allowing for lesson breaks, instructional focus and revision. Designed for students with mild to moderate disabilities..."-- Publisher's website . Grades 5-8.

Also available from this publisher: A Boy's Guide to Puberty and Personal Safety
Erin's Period Book
Written by Barb Zimmerman; illustrations by Tim Mullarkey; cover portrait by Pat Zimmerman
Authorhouse, 2010. ISBN: 9781438972695 
Description: "Erin's Period Book uses simple language to explain the scary process of menstruation. Detailed photographs show young ladies how to change a pad. This book is a wonderful tool to teach girls with developmental delays how to take care of their feminine hygiene needs, at home, school or in the community." - back cover.
A Girl's Guide to Growing Up! (DVD)
Presented by Marsh Media
Written by Liz Smith
Illustrated by Gala Perry
Marsh Media, 2005. ISBN: 9781559423601 
Description: Sexual development of girls in the adolescent years. "... covers the following important topics: external anatomy, physical and emotional changes of puberty, health and hygiene, privacy and safety. In addition to the DVD/Video (Run Time: 16:43), the comprehensive kit includes an extensive teaching guide (36 pages) and packets of 10 student booklets (32 pages each). The instructional material is organized in chapter format, allowing for lesson breaks, instructional focus and revision. Designed for students with mild to moderate disabilities ..." - Publisher's website . Grades 5-8.

Also available from this publisher: A Girl's Guide to Puberty and Personal Safety
Growing Into a Young Lady
Written by Barb Zimmerman; illustrated by Tim Mullarkey Authorhouse, 2010. ISBN: 9781438972701 
Description: "Adolescence is tough on all girls. Hair where there was no hair before, growing breasts and then it's time to start wearing a bra!... This book shows girls in simple language what to expect and how to take care of their changing bodies. Using a few sentences per page this book is perfect for young ladies with developmental delays. " - Publisher's website .
Making Sense of Sex: A forthright guide to puberty, sex and relationships for people with Asperger's syndrome
By Sarah Attwood; illustrated by Jonathon Powell
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008. ISBN: 9781843103745 
Description: "This book is ideal for those who need clear, detailed explanations and direct answers to the many questions raised by puberty and sexual maturity. Making Sense of Sex is a thorough guide written in unambiguous language with helpful diagrams, explanations and practical advice for young people approaching puberty and beyond.." - Publisher's website .
Taking Care of Myself: A hygiene, puberty and personal curriculum for young people with autism
By Mary Wrobel with contributions by Patricia Rielly
Future Horizons, Inc., 2003. ISBN: 1885477945
Description: "Puberty can be especially tough when young people have autism or other special needs. Through simple stories similar to Carol Gray’s Social Stories, author Mary Wrobel teaches caregivers exactly what to say and not say, and shows how you can create helpful stories of your own. Mary addresses hygiene, modesty, body growth and development, menstruation, touching, personal safety, and more. Young students can benefit from self-care skills such as using the toilet, brushing teeth, and washing hands. Parents and teachers should begin teaching these necessary skills as early as possible, even from ages 3-5. The ultimate goal is to maximize the child’s potential for independence and lifelong social success." - Publisher's website .
Taking Care of Myself 2: For teenagers and young adults with ASD
By Mary J. Wrobel with contributions by Allison Rothamer
Future Horizons, Inc. 2017. ISBN: 9781941765302 
Description: " Written for teenagers and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), this instructional book is also for parents, instructors, and therapists to help teens on the autism spectrum. The information is written in an easy-to-understand manner with simple how-to lists. This book is geared for use in an instructional or home setting for any teenager or young adult with ASD. Topics covered include: dressing for different events, feeling anxious in social situations, public versus private behaviors, staying healthy, anxiety, depression, and feeling suicidal, social media issues, sexual harassment, finding and keeping friends (including a boyfriend or girlfriend), safe and responsible sex, and deciding to have sex with a partner, and more." - Publisher's website .
Alaska Autism Resource Center | 866-301-7372 | aarc@sesa.org | www.AlaskaARC.org