Sexuality on the SpectrumSeptember 7, 2021
OAR hosted a free webinar on the topic of sexuality, sexuality education, and relationships on October 15 at 2:00 PM ET, which featured Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D., OAR Scientific Council chairman and executive director of the EPIC School (Paramus, N.J.), and Amy Gravino, M.A., president of A.S.C.O.T. consulting. Gerhardt and Gravino provided an overview of the many challenges associated with sexuality and sexuality education in ASD and offered recommendations as to the role individuals with autism, their families, and the professionals who support them need to play in this complex and important area of adult life. This video is the recording of the webinar, so people can access this content.
It goes without saying that individuals with ASD are sexual beings. Unfortunately, the biological, physiological and behavioral aspects of human sexuality in general remain significantly under-researched, so it is not surprising that there is even less research when it comes to sexuality and individuals on the autism spectrum.
This knowledge gap, when added to the social, cultural, religious and legal restrictions that often govern the display sexual behavior, results in an area of intervention about which we have limited evidence-based information as to
1) the content of instruction in sex education,
2) the process of instruction or intervention in sex education,
3) the timing of intervention in sex education or,
4) the development of effective interventions to prevent sexual abuse.