Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Teaching kids with special needs sex ed: group therapy

"I am needing sex education resources so I can teach my 13-year-old about his changing body," writes reader Janet. "He is non-verbal (autism) so it is always hard to know what he understands. A book with lots of pictures would seem to be ideal. The few I have found on Amazon don't have enough reviews to be able to tell if they are good or not. But I'm sure one of your readers will know." 

I'm in the market for this information as well. Here in the tri-state area, the New Jersey organization POAC (Parents Of Autistic Children) offers free conferences on the topic for parents and professionals. My friend Peggy went and said it was great; there's an upcoming one on January 8, Sexuality & Safety from Preschool to Puberty & Beyond

If you know of seminars, books, info or resources that can help, please share.   


  1. For Girls, the American Girl book "The Care and Keeping of You"

  2. All of Robie Harris's sex ed books are BRILLIANT. I've written about her for both Tablet and the Forward -- she talks to a zillion experts about how to make topics developmentally appropriate. Her books (mostly done with cartoonist Michael Emberley) are in accessible, visual, graphic novel form and she's written ones aimed at kids from 2 to 18. Check out It's So Amazing!, It's Perfectly Normal, It's Not the Stork!, Let's Talk About Sex and Let's Talk About Where Babies Come From. Many are in Spanish, too. Good luck!

  3. Hi! I’m a professional counselor who works exclusively with kids and adults with disabilities.

    First, kudos to you for asking questions and seeking resources on a very important topic that many parents choose to avoid!

    If you can find a professional/agency using the Circles curriculum (, I highly recommend it. This program is designed for students with disabilities, and introduces topics like health/hygiene, social relationships and responsibilities, sexuality, and abuse (there are 2 levels of the course, the second covering more of the sexuality topics).

    The material is very visual, simple, and easily modifiable to meet individual students’ needs.

    The courses are designed for professionals/schools, and run around $1500, so, likely cost prohibitive for a family purchase, but I know some families who’ve had luck fundraising for a school to purchase and use the course.

    Best of luck to you!

    1. I love your name!! Rosellen.... I just might steal that for a character in one of my fictional books!! ;)
      Love you later, Raelyn

  4. It's so great of you to raise this issue and ask for suggestions. I'd like to suggest that whatever information is presented and ideas conveyed, they should be augmented by some confidence-building. This is especially important for youth with the kinds of disabilities that may make them feel that they are simply never going to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, much less have sex or raise a family. The late Stella Young wrote beautifully about this in her "Letter to My Younger Self" The article may or may not be right for everyone youth with disabilities, but it's a good piece for parents to read, to give some insight into what a lot of disabled kids worry about in regard to sex and relationships. Here's a link:

  5. Dave Hingsburger's books/talks if you can find them might also be a good resource for discussing anatomy, consent, relationships, and boundaries. My understanding is that they are mostly for adult learners with intellectual disabilities, but I think they would be easy to tailor to younger people.

  6. I would recommend the American girl book as well as I also have it. But I also will give you a warning it may take a while for them to understand. I have multiple disabilities and have a minor freak out every time before I go to health class, but I'm also an Aromantic sex repulsed Asexual so that's probably part of it to.

  7. Thank you. This will prove very useful when I have to tell my two children about sex one day in the future. How much do they cost?



Thanks for sharing!

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