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Puberty and sex resources for severely disabled people

System Posts: 702

Scope community team

This discussion was created from comments split from: Hi, I'm Gill, I'm a PSHE Specialist.


  • KareninWales
    KareninWales Member Posts: 10 Connected
    I have a question about resources concerning puberty and sex aimed at severely disabled people. My son is profoundly autistic, nonverbal and uncommunicative. He is 16 and starting puberty, which is clearly making him extremely confused (understandably). I wonder if there are any resources and advice aimed at such a severe level of disability. I am reading Kate Reynold's very good book, Sexuality and Severe Autism, but I do find that most of the advice is in terms of in effect 'talk to the person about this or that', using whatever communication methods they understand. Well my son doesn't understand any of this--it is clear that her definition of 'severe' is quite different to mine! I need practical advice on a pretty basic level, keeping him safe, etc.
  • PSHEexpert
    PSHEexpert Member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    Hi @KareninWales and thank you for your post.  This is a familiar issue for us here too - I work at a specialist college for young people with complex needs and we have students who sound very similar issues wise.  I use a combination of images from an image bank to make a prompt cards for things like public and private, etc (happy to help out if I can, if you're happy to email me? I can send that across if you'd like!), or I also like the old BBC LearningZone video clips which are very short and simple and use non-word verbal cues and symbols.   Kate Reynolds has also done some books called "What's Happening To Tom", "Things Tom Likes", and "Tom Needs To Go", which I can use with some of my students as the images are nice and clear.  She does a version for girls too, substituting Tom for Ellie.  Do you want to have a look at the LearningZone clips and let me know whether those are too basic, not basic enough?  Perhaps that would be a good starting point :) 

    - Gill 
  • KareninWales
    KareninWales Member Posts: 10 Connected
    Sorry still getting the hang of this new interface (it has been a while since I posted anything)--I will email you but am not sure where to find your email address. I liked the BBC learning zone clips but I think they are a bit beyond my son's attention span and understanding. He's quite a complicated mixture of ability and inability in both cognitive and social spheres. Most of the BBC clips are aimed at what you do and don't do when doing things independently, and he never does things independently, so in a way we don't have a lot of the issues that they address. The Kate Reynolds books, as well, look really good but again too complicated for my son. He's very very good about playing with his penis in his bedroom and almost nowhere else, and if he starts to flash it elsewhere a quick warning stops him, so in that sense we're very lucky. The main thing I would love to do for him, and perhaps it isn't possible, is to reassure him about the changes in his body. He spends hours masturbating and it is clear that this is a very powerful urge but not one that he finds very pleasant. I think it scares him a bit. And he isn't yet reaching a climax, I hate to think how that will affect him once he does. I think I am asking the impossible in that I suspect I can't really explain this to him at all, can't really model what will make him feel better through pictures or other ways of communicating that he will understand. If you have images of really really uncomplicated things (like hair growing--the Kate Reynolds ones are good but they are surrounded by others that are too complicated and that would undermine the simple ones) this might help, as I could show him an image of something really really limited (a young boy with facial hair, or even dare I say a young boy with a more explicit erection than the BBC films use--I understand why they do this but I am not at all sure that my son would recognise what is going on there!), and perhaps I could just talk around what is happening in the image. I realise of course that there are good reasons for not distributing this sort of thing, but I also feel a bit limited in what is on offer so as to help him to understand what is going on.

  • April2018mom
    April2018mom Posts: 2,868 Connected
    I posted on the other thread. But I’m posting my question here too. DS and DD are 2 years old now. Already I have noticed that they are showing interest in their bodies. They are slowly becoming aware that they are different than their siblings (all older). 
    What books and websites do you recommend? How do I broach the subject tactfully? I have been looking at library books on the subject and I found a few books online too. 


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