Learning About Sexuality on the Spectrum | Organization for Autism Research

Resource Spotlight

OAR’s 2018 webinar, Sexuality on the Spectrum: What We Know and What We Don’t Know, explains the current knowledge base around sexuality and relationships and breaks down the current best practices for parents and educators approaching these issues with young people with autism. The webinar presenters were Dr. Peter Gerhardt, the chair of OAR’s Scientific Council and the executive director of the EPIC School in Paramus, N.J., and Amy Gravino, a certified autism specialist and author of The Naughty Autie, a memoir of her experiences with dating, relationships, and sexuality.

This webinar introduces participants to the concepts of sexuality in the context of autism spectrum disorder, reviews the scientific evidence, and debunks common misconceptions. The webinar covers the importance of comprehensive sex education for people with autism and discusses best practices for designing these educational programs. Dr. Gerhardt and Gravino discuss how to introduce an understanding of privacy at an early age, how to build skills that to reduce the risk of sexual abuse or assault, and the impact of puberty on young people with autism.

The presenters handle these heavy topics with humor and honesty as they fill viewers in on the latest research about sex and sexuality in autism. The webinar is full of important information for self-advocates, parents, and educators alike, and includes recommendations for useful resources for learning about and teaching sex and sexuality education. All of OAR’s archived and upcoming webinars can be accessed on our webinars page.


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