Case Study FG (Relationships and Sexuality Education)

FG is a thirteen year old boy who attends a mainstream Post Primary School. He has a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome and experiences high levels of anxiety and difficulties with emotional regulation; these have adversely effected school attendance.

Background

FG is a thirteen year old boy who attends a mainstream Post Primary School. He has a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome and experiences high levels of anxiety and difficulties with emotional regulation; these have adversely effected school attendance.

His strengths lie in his humour, ability to remember facts and his adherence to rules. FG has been taught to use visual supports including strategies to facilitate emotional regulation, however, issues regarding what are acceptable behaviours in public and private were a concern. FG has become more aware of his body and engages in the self-stimulatory behaviour of masturbation. He has also tried to access pornographic material online. Adults, across all settings, were concerned he may engage in these behaviours in the presence of others.

Areas of Concern

In consultation with teachers and parents, the following areas of concern were identified.

  • Onset of Puberty: FG is a young man whose body is changing.
    • FG was unaware of what to expect
    • What feelings he was experiencing.
    • He was using masturbation as a way of relaxing and relieving stress.
  • Understanding Boundaries, Private, Public and Safe
    • Safe place to masturbate, ensuring all around him are not compromised; his family members, his peers
    • Creating the environment for this time alone
    • When and how long to engage in these types of behaviours
    • Who and what to share regarding masturbation.
  • Accessing pornography
    • The dangers of material he might access on the internet in terms of graphic content, illegality and their misrepresentation of relationships.

Strategies

  1. FG shared a bedroom with his brother and it was agreed that a sign must be in place on the door to indicate that no one else was to come in. (Private Time)
  2. The other siblings were made aware not to go into the room as FG wanted some time on his own in his room.
  3. It was agreed that no one was to be present even if his brother was asleep.
  4. FG was made aware that his brother might want time on his own also and that he was not to go into the room when the sign was placed on the door and he was not to ask what he was doing.
  5. It was agreed that his parents would respect his need for some private time but they would regulate the number of potential times he could engage in it each day using a token system and his mother would knock the door if he was too long.

FG was reminded of and actively encouraged to use the wide range of anxiety reducing strategies he had been learning. Using Social Narratives helped to explain to FG why he should still use these strategies, which would be more acceptable than masturbation when he was in a stressful situation

Social Narratives were used with FG to explain about online pornographic material. Whilst he may not intend to break the law, he might break it unknowingly and that the legal system would not take his intention into account nor his age.

    • Examples were provided in the Social Narratives such as children who look older but if he looks at this image he has committed a crime.
    • It was explained that some of this material is very explicit and does not promote healthy representations of male and female bodies or what relationships are about.
    • Pin codes were placed on electronic devices and all electronic devices were handed to the parents at night.
    • The family were made aware of material which may be less explicit and more appropriate. As a family they had to decide if they wanted to give FG access to this material.
  • FG’s parents were encouraged to attend Relationship and Sexuality Education training. This would help equip them with knowledge to support FG’s changing physical needs, and in learning about relationships with others.
  • School staff were also encouraged to attend training and to identify if the approach used in disseminating information on this topic is accessible to students with autism.