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Guests and Ghosts

charting-courseEventually every kid will start having questions about sex, or they will reach an age that "the talk" is inevitable. For us it was slightly trickier. You see my son Roger (15) and daughter Lucy (10) are both autistic. The normal stork stories or euphemisms are not going to fly. For us, just the facts are the best approach. The birds and the bees involves so much more than just where babies come from.

I got lucky with this one. A couple years ago we were invited by Children's Hospital to take part in a study that was being conducted by one of their partners. The study was looking at a drug and sex education program for youth with autism. Yay! I got some guidance on how to proceed with the subject. Let's face it I have a teenager on my hands; the subject has to be addressed and needs to include more than just where babies come from.

When Roger was little it was easy and cute. Seriously, he thought girl babies were pooped out and boys were cut out. Go figure. Really my kids never really cared how babies got in there or how they got out. They just wanted a sibling. Lucy still wants a sister and that is not going to happen. No way no how.

Back to the program.

The program was very easy to follow. Part of it was a computer game where your child goes into different rooms and each room has a different topic and a quiz at the end. In our group we only had the computer program and our focus was drugs only. After we completed the program the company sent me the whole curriculum , including sex education.

Now I know it may seem odd to be using a curriculum to talk about sex and drugs with your own kids. Not everyone will use this approach. For our family it worked better than trying to just sit down and talk. We could set aside a little bit of time a day and break the subject down into smaller sections rather than one long talk. In our house the birds and the bees is an ongoing subject not just a have a talk and be done.
For Roger and Lucy it is just what we needed. The book they sent me is separated in sections. Each section takes on a different subject such as relationships, sexual activity, sexual health, and sexual feelings to name a few. Each section has talking points and short worksheets to help. There is also the online game that goes with the program so the kids get a more interactive approach to the subject. Honestly I will probably also use this with my youngest Porkchop (8) who is not on the spectrum.

We have also given the kids different books they can read at their pace and comfort. For Lucy we use The American Girls book The Care and Keeping of You. Roger we use Making Sense of Sex: A Forthright Guide to Puberty, Sex and Relationships for People with Asperger's Syndrome by: Attwood . Both books are straight forward with presenting the information.

There are so many resources you can find online when it comes to dealing with the birds and bees as well as autism. Different programs, social stories, books, and online forums where you can talk with other autism parents on how to approach the subject. I have a section of resources on my No Guile site

At the end of the day how you approach the subject is up to you. You know your child best. You know what approach will work and what information they can process.

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This month Pouches learned about a very important resource for families who have lost loved ones to sudden tragedy, an organization called LLOST.

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