Thursday, 14 February 2019

Let’s talk about sex, baby... with our autistic son


Anthony has started taking Sex Ed at school. Well that’s not actually true.. he’s refusing to take Sex Ed at school.

When the notice came round from school (to all the parents) to tell them that there would be PHSE classes, I looked it over with interest. ‘Personal, Social & Health Education’ mostly seemed to be covering puberty and sex this year. Well he is turning 11 in a few months, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

You could object to your child participating for a number of reasons, but I thought to myself “Oh well, he should probably do it.” We try and include Anthony in all the lessons that we can. He did cycling proficiency only a week ago and was brilliant at it. It did not go the same for Sex Ed.

When the first lesson started he was initially fine with the talk. The teacher started to talk about the topics that would be covered during the Sex Ed classes. It wasn’t until she got the list of terms and words that were going to be used throughout the lessons that Anthony started to freak out. 

Naked.

Penis.

Vagina.

While some of the kids giggled.. Anthony did not.. he started to get quite upset.

At first his teaching assistant thought he might just be a bit shy. He started to become really anxious and then shook his head and said that he didn’t want to be in class anymore.

“I shouldn’t be talking about this with you,” he said to the teacher.

“... this is completely inappropriate,” he said.

When I heard the use of the word ‘appropriate’ I realised what was going on. And I became quite proud of Anthony.

Two of our three children are autistic and the other one is a five-year-old girl. I definitely class them as vulnerable. They don’t always understand everything the same way everyone else does.

Sometimes things have to be kept really simple if they’re going to understand it. Somethings can become too complicated and if we want them to stay safe, simple is best.

So when we talked to the kids about their bodies, and about what’s OK and what’s not OK, we kept it really simple. The only people who should ever see them naked... is us. The only person to touch anything inside their pants.... is them because this area is private.  And if someone asks them to do something they don’t like they say 'no', and they tell us.

The final thing with all the the children is that they can tell us anything. Anything.

If something they have done has made them feel bad, if they are worried they going to get told off it’ll be OK. We’ve always wanted them to feel safe to tell us anything that could be concerning them.

Anthony felt that talking about his body parts and the parts of other peoples bodies was not appropriate and he did exactly the right thing in that situation. He told them he wasn’t comfortable with it and he removed himself from the situation.

Honestly I can’t be prouder.

Anthony’s PSHE lessons are once a week for about an hour.  They are covering everything from puberty to sex. But Anthony is going to be using this time in his school to catch up on the lessons that he struggles in.

The school have given us the curriculum they are working to for his PSHE classes and we’re going to go through that with him. We’ve already started and he is surprisingly easy to talk to about it given his objection in class. Some of it I know he’s not quite ready for mentally yet but as our clinical psychologist once told me ... you can explain most things to anyone if you do it at their level and using language they understand.

We’ll see how he gets on, but for the moment he’ll only be talking about sex with his mum or dad... and that’s fine with us.

2 comments:

  1. Sounds like he has a great level of maturity and knows just what he can and can't deal with. No wonder you are proud of him #KCACOLS

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like he knows all that he really needs to at this point in his development. Instilling in them that idea that they can tell you anything is crucial #kcacols

    ReplyDelete

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