Parents Helping Parents of Wyoming State Parenting Center

Betty Carmon- Parent to Parent Coordinator- Powell Region

As a parent with 3 adult children, the youngest (23) with Autism, talking about sex can be a tough subject.  I have always believed that sex should not be a “secret subject”. To overcome barriers I have found my family pediatrician to be very helpful. This person can introduce issues of physical, cognitive, and psychosexual development to parents and their children at an early age and continue discussions at most visits throughout adolescence and young adulthood. When sexuality is discussed routinely and openly, conversations are easier to initiate. I found in my own experience that this allowed for more comfortable conversations to continue with all my children. Medical professionals can explore the expectations of parents for their child’s sexual development while providing general, factual information about sexuality in people with similar disabilities. With insights into the normal stages of child and adolescent sexual development, parents can better understand their own child’s behaviors. For example, by recognizing that masturbation is normal toddler behavior, parents can better understand and shape the self-stimulatory behaviors of their teenager who functions developmentally at the level of a 3-year-old child. The problem is not the child’s behaviors per se but the inability to distinguish between behaviors that are publicly and privately appropriate. All of this “background” information is good to know when considering HOW to talk with your kids about hard subjects!

Comments on: "Sex Education for Developmentally Disabled" (5)

  1. Jan Jones said:

    When my daughter became old enough to ask questions, we all spent time with her answering her questions in a VERY simple way. She has continued to ask questions as she is getting older and we are very up front with her answers. Her Dr. also showed her pictures and spent time showing her the answers as that seems to be the way she learns.

  2. Erin Swilling said:

    Talking about sex can definitely be a difficult subject to broach with our children. Between movies, magazine ads, schoolground talk, etc. kids are certainly hearing and noticing at least bits and pieces of this very topic. I agree books and physicians are great resources!

  3. Tammy Wilson said:

    Good information on a hard subject. There are several good books out there on human sexuality that can help a parent talk to their child. Local libraries are a good source.

  4. Downeychick said:

    Great idea to use medical professionals to help with this hard topic! I wish I had done that….I feel I had as much open communication as my children felt comfortable with It was usually them (not me) that would call off the talk first! Thanks for the suggestion.

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