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!
Posts tagged ‘disabled kids’