A recent conference on sex education for those with learning difficulties concluded that pupils with ASD should be encouraged to celebrate sex, rather than sexual awareness being seen as a problem for these pupils.
At the Sex, Sexuality and Relationships in Autism Spectrum Conditions conference, organised by The Hesley Group, delegates explained that many mainstream schools routinely exclude children with learning difficulties from sex education, while at special schools this tends to be a constant theme.
Lynne Moxon, a consultant psychologist and academic from the University of Northumbria, discussed what she calls “socio-sexual education”, which relates not only to the biology of sex, but also to appropriate behaviour and social codes. “Physically those with autism develop the same as everybody else. We must recognise that sexual development is a normal process. Sex is a drive like thirst or hunger” she said.
Discussing the case of a young man who had been confined in a mental hospital for inappropriate behaviour in public, and the situations of others who find themselves in prison, Ms Moxon concluded: “We have to teach these youngsters strategies for dealing with their sex drive, teach them the appropriate behaviour, the right times and places and we have to start young – certainly before they are 14.”