Relationships and Sexuality

Adolescence is one of the most important developmental stages, with significant changes occurring in the social, physical and emotional aspects of a person’s life. The physical and emotional changes that occur in adolescence, known as puberty, are part of the process of growing into an adult.

As Pask et al, (2016) claim,

Adolescence is a critical period when youth learn the developmentally and socially appropriate behaviours needed to manage the physical and emotional changes that occur as they mature.”

Pask, L., Hughes, T.L and Sutton, L.R. (2016) Sexual knowledge acquisition and retention for individuals with autism. International Journal of School & Educational Psychology (4) 2

Teenagers with autism physically develop and have sexual and romantic feelings just as other young people their age (Dating: What to do, what not to do). However, for many teenagers with autism, their psychological and social maturity does not keep pace with their physical maturity, (Moxon, 2011). When the teenager is perceived as being physically mature, consideration of his or her level of social development can be overlooked and this disparity can cause difficulties for the teenager.

Ask Dr Tony – AS and sexuality video

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