Teens with Autism | Sexual Education

Educating on the subject of sexuality is a very sensitive issue because of the social, ideological, and religious connotation that it bears. Despite this, it should be exposed with a total and absolute naturalness, even with adolescents suffering from autism spectrum disorder.

Autism and puberty

Children with autism may require more time to understand and adapt to new physical and psychological changes in their body. It is important to discuss all these changes before puberty begins.

What should we explain to them?

With the onset of puberty there are general issues that should be part of the education of children which should focus on these aspects:

  • How to develop self-confidence, self-esteem, acceptance and self-respect, the difference between public and private norms of behavior.
  • Social skills such as dialogue, communication with the couple, group outings, etc.
  • Respect for the couple, explanation of the process of courtship and respect for the will of the couple.
  • Prevention of the abuse of others, understanding the warning signs.
  • Communication between the couple, establishing agreements, discerning what is acceptable, the importance of trust, sexual diversity, people’s rights.
  • Education about the human body, its names, parts, what each one is for, and changes that are experienced.
  • Privacy.
  • Expressions of affection through kisses, caresses, sex, etc.

How should we talk to them?

Parents are the main educators of their sons/daughters about sex. The ideal time to properly transmit the information should be sought. Parents know their children very well so that under this condition you must:

  • Be honest in answering the child’s spontaneous questions.
  • Have standard answers for inappropriate or questions asked in public places.
  • Transform mistakes into opportunities for learning.
  • Apply useful strategies in other educational fields.
  • Request support and advice from medical and educational specialists.
  • Take care of the way you address children.
  • Give them confidence.

Some conclusions about ASD and sexuality

Adolescents within the autism spectrum disorder have normal sexual needs. They exhibit various behaviors and feel sexual desire, just like other young people. It is not about being hypersexual or asexual.

However, some people may have uncontrolled sexual behaviors due to lack of communication and social interaction. According to studies, sexual diversity is greater in people with autism than in the rest of the population.

These studies also showed that they have a higher risk of sexual abuse (78%) than other adults without autism (47%). Obviously, there is a significant risk in those who do not receive sex education.

Women with ASD are more likely to have a good relationship compared to men. This is due to the fact that men traditionally initiate courtship and seduction in a relationship.

Complications to socially interact with people with autism make the process difficult.

People with autism have the same problems as common teenagers in terms of identity and sexual orientation. However, these are aggravated due to their condition in communication and socialization.

To cope with this difficult stage, it is necessary to promote sexual education, prevent them from being vulnerable; without sexual risks, without feeling guilt, and without underestimating their sexual activity. Direct communication is the key to understanding this stage of their lives.

Currently, there are not many programs to guide young people with ASD about sex and sexuality, because teens within the spectrum ignore the social cues and expectations of their classmates, and there is no clear and direct talk for young people.

Teach them to avoid vulnerability to sexual abuse

The director of the Autism Research Organization, Dr. Peter Gerhardt, states that “Autistic children and adolescents should know that they should close the bathroom and should learn how to do it.”

“Sometimes parents think it is safer if they take their child to the bathroom with them, but the challenge is that the person most likely to cause abuse is someone the child knows, not someone the child doesn’t know and if you don’t teach a child to close the door in a public restroom, he/she is too open to abuse.”

It is difficult for young people with autism to learn from their partners about sexual norms. Basically, this depends on the parents. There are some fundamental concepts that they can learn if they receive proper sex education:

  • Establish who can touch you or ask you to undress.
  • Touch with abuse / Touch without abuse.
  • Bathe alone and dress alone.
  • Report inappropriate touches.

There is another difficulty that may arise: teaching the fundamental social aspects of sexuality. Topics such as masturbation fall within the scope of the social, so that young people need to know about when and where it is appropriate to touch and internalize the concept of privacy.

According to Dr. Gerhardt, “for children with autism who go to high school, if we do not pre-teach, they will get a very skewed view of human sexuality. At this time, there is no curriculum that really addresses issues in a functional way and there is little research on the subject. With sexuality, you are not only providing information, but you are also teaching values ​​and social competence.”

In this regard, it is recommended that parents:

  • Educate the child thinking about the future, “pre-teaching” is essential.
  • Be direct and precise: use clear terms such as “penis” or “vagina.”
  • Be insistent and repetitive about sexual security.
  • Search for another person to show basic hygiene and safety concepts. It is essential that he/she be of the same gender.
  • It is necessary to address the social connotation of sexuality.
  • Strengthen and reward appropriate behavior.

Fuente: http://bit.ly/2KqmAiL

teens smiling

Teens with autism catch things and situations in a different way, the sexual aspect of their development needs to be explained according to their social skills


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First Medical Appointment | What to Expect for Your Child

The centers specialized in autism and neurodevelopment were created to treat specific pathologies of the nervous system of newborns, infants, children, and adolescents and provide individualized attention to children with ASD and other disorders.

These centers provide a series of services that include diagnosis, family and group therapy, medical consultation, treatments, follow-up, and recommendations.

Neurological diseases cause great concern for parents. The best course of action is to initially consult with the pediatrician who will decide if the kid must be referred to a neuro pediatrician.

The causes that most frequently generate childhood neurology consultations are:

– Delays in development: global, motor, language, or behavior.

– Febrile seizures and epilepsy.

– Cognitive disability (mental retardation).

– School learning disorders, such as ADHD.

– Headaches.

– Suspicion of autism or Asperger’s syndrome.

– Suspicion of brain malformation.

During the first visit, a series of processes must be carried out to facilitate the fluidity of the diagnosis and subsequent treatment. This medical appointment is essential as it allows the specialist to collect the data that will lead to the diagnosis and develop the most appropriate strategy to treat it.

An accurate, orderly exchange of information and the formulation of questions are the main tools to start the process.

Sometimes, not all the answers are available. However, it is a good idea to prepare questions before going to appointments. If possible, write down all concerns and share them with the specialist.

The specialist usually asks questions about family and personal history; i.e., how was the pregnancy, childbirth, and the evolution of the child during the first days from birth, weight, and height at birth, and head size.

It is also important to remember the moment in which the kid consolidated certain basic achievements such as smiling, holding his/her head, sitting, walking, or emitting his/her first words.

How is the process?

The medical team is responsible for reviewing the admission documentation and will guide you in choosing the most appropriate type of appointment for your family.

Diagnostic evaluations

Once the preliminary guidelines have been received by the medical team, a diagnostic evaluation is carried out with a psychologist -or neuropsychologist- usually, two appointments are made for two days. Parents must be present at each visit.

First appointment: in this first evaluation, which lasts approximately 3 hours, your child will complete the tests to evaluate:

  • Cognitive abilities.
  • Language skills.
  • Adaptive skills.
  • Socioemotional skills.

Parents must complete other tests, such as:

  • Rating scales.
  • Questionnaires.
  • Interviews about the child’s history.

Second appointment: in this meeting, specific tests related to the autism spectrum disorder are carried out, and the interview with the parents and the administration of the autism diagnostic observation program are completed.

After all the tests have been completed, the results of the evaluations, impressions, and initial recommendations are reviewed. This appointment can last between for and six hours.

In a period of four to six weeks, you will receive a written report that includes test results, history, impressions, and recommendations.

Team evaluation

This consists of attending an evaluation with a multidisciplinary team of specialists, among which are psychologists, neuropsychologists, and pediatricians of behavioral development. This evaluation takes place in four appointments for two days, in which the parents must remain in the medical center.

First appointment: it lasts approximately 3 hours, and your kid will complete the tests to evaluate:

  • Cognitive abilities.
  • Language skills.
  • Adaptive skills.
  • Socioemotional skills.

Parents must complete other tests, such as:

  • Rating scales.
  • Questionnaires.
  • Brief interviews about the child’s history and concerns.

Second appointment: in this meeting, the specific tests related to the ASD are carried out, and the interview with the parents and the administration of the autism diagnostic observation program are completed.

Also, the family meets with the behavioral development physician to discern medical concerns and issue case recommendations.

After completing all the tests, the results of the evaluations, impressions, and initial recommendations are reviewed. This appointment can last between five and seven hours.

In a period of four to six weeks, you will receive a written report that includes: test results, history, impressions, and recommendations.

Developmental behavioral pediatrics appointments

At the time of the appointment with the developmental-behavioral pediatrician, the child’s medical history is analyzed. In this, you can convey all the concerns and doubts you have. The pediatrician will also make recommendations to move forward with tests and proper medical treatment.

Parents should go to these appointments when kids have already been diagnosed with autism and require specific help related to behavioral, medical, or emotional problems.


To facilitate the visit, provide all the information about your son or daughter, complete the admission questionnaire and forms. Perhaps some questions may seem irrelevant or uncomfortable, but they should be answered as honestly and accurately as possible.

Show all your child’s medical records to facilitate the evaluation process. For example:

  • X-rays.
  • Previous laboratory tests.
  • Reports and medical records.
  • Psychological and developmental evaluations.
  • Medications he/she takes.

The main diagnostic tool is still everything you tell the doctor and what the clinical examination reveals. Only with a well-developed medical history can a diagnosis be suspected, which sometimes confirms the complementary tests.

doctor with mother and son

The first medical appoinment is important and you should not be afraid of it




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Does Autism Affects Motor Skills?

Autism spectrum disorder affects the full development of infants’ motor skills, and the more acute the disorder, the slower the progress in gross motor activities such as grabbing objects and moving from one place to another.

It constitutes neurodevelopmental alterations that lead to deficits in the social, behavioral, and communicative spheres. Its prevalence is 1 for every 150 live births worldwide and affects 3 to 4 times more males than females.

It is a health problem of great importance, as it is estimated that 80% of people with autism have a motor dyspraxia (lack of organization of complex movements) that usually is not diagnosed in routine neurological exams. (Sokhadze, E. 2013).

Motor alterations have been found in children within the spectrum, regardless of their IQ. These motor dysfunctions have gone unnoticed in recent scientific texts, as they have emphasized socio-communicative and cognitive deficits.

The DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 2013) includes some motor symptoms in ASD diagnostic criteria, such as simple motor stereotypes; for example, aligning objects and rotate objects.

However, motor alterations in ASDs include other deficits that are not always explored or detected by professionals.

In a study published by the journal Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly (2014), more than 150 children between 12 and 33 months of age could be evaluated. Of the total children in the sample, 110 children had autism, and the remaining 49 did not have this disorder.

During the observations, it was recognized that children with autism were one year late compared to normal children when it came to motor skills; e.g., grabbing an object or taking the spoon.

Kids with ASD also denoted a delay of approximately 6 months in relation to gross motor skills, among them jumping, running, etc. are mentioned. The author responsible for the study, Megan McDonald (2014), assistant professor at the College of Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University commented:

“It is not much if we talk about older children, but for children between 1 and 3 years of age, these are substantial deficits, almost a third of the time of their life,” he said in a university press release.

At that age, they are like little sponges: we can teach them motor skills.”

In addition, the early detection of motor problems in kids within the spectrum “gives us more time to help children reach their peers’ level with regard to motor skills,” said McDonald.

The results of the study showed that the development of motor skills should be included in treatment programs for children with autism.

Treatment plans for children with ASD usually focus on social communication and not motor skills.

In this regard, McDonald added that “parents (…) should take into account adaptive physical education programs, which are customized according to the skills and needs of a child.”

There is still a lot of work to do in relation to this issue, so that research continues. Definitely, more studies are needed to characterize these motor alterations and look for possible specific aspects of autism spectrum disorder.

group of kids playing

Autism may affect the physical development


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Relation Between Autism and ADHD

The symptoms of the autism spectrum disorder may vary. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) does not have a spectrum, but it has some autism-like symptoms, which present difficulties that may vary from one child to another. But how do autism and ADHD relate? Presenting the symptoms of one of these conditions increases the risk of having the other. Some common symptoms of these conditions are difficulty in paying attention to people, staying in constant motion, invading personal space, limitations in understanding social cues and emotional crises.

The position of specialists on the link between autism and ADHD.has changed. In the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-4) (2011), it was stated that a person could not have autism and also ADHD. But recent studies, published in the fifth edition in 2013, confirmed that a person could be diagnosed with both disorders.

Difficulty paying attention

Children with autism can present this difficulty due to several factors. Language difficulties can make it appear as if the child is not paying attention or refusing to follow instructions, when in fact, it is very likely that he or she does not understand what is being told, asked or explained.

Difficulty socializing

ADHD can affect interpersonal relationships due to the inability to make eye contact and trespassing people’s personal space. In some cases, the manifestation of these symptoms can lead to the child being misdiagnosed with one condition instead of the other. To avoid a wrong diagnosis, parents must consult a specialist.}

By presenting the symptoms of one of the two conditions, the probability of developing the symptoms of the other condition is increased. For example, children with language problems are more likely to have reading disorders. For this reason, it is necessary to consider all the factors related to children’s development, including social relationships, attention levels, language, behavior, cognitive and psychomotor abilities, and skills, mood. A detailed neuropsychological medical evaluation should be carried out so all areas of development are analyzed to obtain a broad vision, and therefore the child can receive the appropriate help.

Another way in which autism and ADHD are related is through genetic risks; a person with autism is more likely to have a close relative with ADHD and other developmental disorders. Scientists are still conducting research to better understand the genetic factors involved in both conditions, although experts believe that autism and ADHD could have similar causes.

Since some of the symptoms of autism and ADHD are the same, some of the interventions used for one condition could be useful for the other. For example, children with both conditions generally benefit from having a routine and knowing what to expect. However, there are many differences in the type of therapy recommended for each of these disorders. Behavioral analysis is part of autism therapy, which can improve communication skills and help with repetitive behaviors, one of the most prominent features of autism. ADHD therapy, on the other hand, focuses on improving attention and organization; this type of therapy is usually accompanied by medication for this specific condition. However, this medication does not help children with autism.

Autism and ADHD are linked together

These conditions presents close bond but both can be controlled


https://www.understood.org/es-mx/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/add-adhd/ive-heard-that-autism-and-adhd-are-related-is-that-true https://www.understood.org/es-mx/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/add-adhd/the-difference-between-adhd-and-autism


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Williams Syndrome: Is it Connected to Autism?

Williams Syndrome, ¿what is it?

Williams Syndrome is a rare genetic pathology caused by the loss of genes on chromosome 7. It affects one in 20,000 live births worldwide and does not distinguish sex or ethnicity, nor is it hereditary

It was first identified in 1961 and can cause heart problems, developmental delays, and learning difficulties. People with Williams syndrome are friendly and outgoing, but tend to have low IQs; this makes simple tasks, such as counting money become complex.

Some of its symptoms are specific heart defects, a distinctive face shape with a small, snub nose, wide mouth, pronounced lips and small chin. Dental and orthopedic problems are common, as well as extreme anxiety caused by stimuli, such as the buzzing of bees or a meal’s texture .

From a neurological point of view, people with it have delays in intellectual and cognitive development. However, their use of language can be exceptional, and they may have musical skills. On the other hand, many of them are highly sociable people; they tend to be kind and confident with strangers, despite high levels of anxiety. 

Studies have not yet made clear how genetics produce the characteristics attached to the behavior of children with Williams Syndrome.

Autism and Williams Syndrome

While it is true that both autism and Williams Syndrome are opposing pathologies from the point of view of social behavior, they have intellectual deficit in common.

Autism and Williams Syndrome are neuropsychiatric developmental disorders with opposing alterations in social interaction; while autism is characterized by a difficulty in establishing social bonds and a lack of interest in social contact, people with Williams Syndrome, on the contrary, causes disinhibition when interacting with other people, even generating excessive sympathy for others.

The divergent nature of both disorders regarding social behavior has motivated the study of neurobiological mechanisms of social disorders and the autism spectrum genetics to establish a comparative framework. A neurogenetic study could contribute to understanding the relationship between genes, neuronal functioning, physiology, and social interaction.

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego, and the Institute of Biological Studies have carried out a model of neurological development of Williams Syndrome that involves molecular genetics, stem cells, neurobiology, and behavior.

Alyssin Muotri of the San Diego School of Medicine, at the University of California became interested in Williams Syndrome due to its differences from autism, a disorder that stands out for its significant deficit in social and verbal skills.

For several years, Muotri has generated cellular models using stem cells from baby teeth that children with autism had lost; this project was called “Mouse Perez.” The same project was started for children with Williams Syndrome.

The team developed the project again by reprogramming the cells and turning them into neural progenitor cells, with the ability to form, in a controlled environment, functional neural networks similar to those of the cerebral cortex.

Neurons cultured from the baby teeth with Williams Syndrome have a greater number of ramifications than the neurons of a child who developed normally. Connections with other neurons could be the cause of the characteristics of excessive sociability. 

This research could help to better understand autism and other disorders that affect the social brain; it also constitutes an initial effort to use stem cells and gain new knowledge about a disease and not simply to reproduce data from other models. The Williams Syndrome model can help explain what makes human beings social, a key development in the evolution of humanity.


:https://abcblogs.abc.es/cosas-cerebro/investigacion/autismo-y-sindrome-de-williams-dos-trastornos-opuestos.html, http://sindromedewilliamsymisersingular.blogspot.com/2010/08/sindrome-de-williams-y-autismo-como.html

girl in therapy

This syndrome can affect in so many ways.

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