Sexuality Instruction and Learners with ASD
Peter Gerhardt, Organization for Autism Research
Persons with ASD are sexual beings. However, individual interest in sex or in developing an intimate sexual relationship with another person varies widely across individuals at all ability levels. Unfortunately, despite much discussion about decision making skills in the self-determination literature (e.g., Clark, et al., 2004), there continues to be "lack of evidence [supporting the] effectiveness of sex education and training for persons with developmental disabilities" (Duval, 2002, p. 453) in general, and autism spectrum disorders in particular. As such, there is a significant need for individualized, effective instruction for persons with ASD across the ability spectrum.
On completion of this workshop participants will be able to:
- Provide an overview of the components of sexuality education
- Recognize the importance of sexuality education as one component of community safety training
- Recognize some the challenges to effective sexuality education specific to learners on the autism spectrum.
Dr. Peter Gerhardt is a managing partner of JPG Autism Consulting, LLC which provides community referenced, behaviorally-based consultation and intervention for adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. In addition, he is the Founding Chair of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research. Dr. Gerhardt has over 30 years experience utilizing the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in support of adolescents and adults with ASD in educational, employment, residential, and community-based settings. He, along with Dr. Daniel Crimmins, is the Editor of the book, Social Skills and Adaptive Behavior in ASD recently published by Brookes Publishing and is the author or co-author of a variety of articles and book chapters on the needs of adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder. Dr. Gerhardt serves on the Editorial Board of Behavior Analysis in Practice and on numerous professional advisory boards. Dr. Gerhardt received his doctorate from the Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey Graduate School of Education.