Your Asperger's Child And Sex Ed: How Your Pediatrician Can Help
Children with Asperger's Syndrome are currently part of the autism spectrum. Most kids with this developmental disorder are on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum, so they can understand important information about themselves. However, the way that they handle and process certain information may not always be appropriate. Sexual education and human development is one area where you, as a parent, may need some professional support. Here is how your pediatrician can help you explain the "birds and the bees" to your child.
Your Pediatrician As a Source of Information
Pediatricians have a vast medical library, both in their heads and in their offices. If you are looking for the best possible sex education materials to use with your Asperger's child, your pediatrician would be a very good resource. He or she can recommend some materials based on their use in clinical practice and the results that your pediatrician has seen with other kids on the spectrum.
Your Pediatrician as the Intercessor
Many parents are already uncomfortable about "the talk" with neurotypical children who can clearly understand what they are told. It becomes more complicated explaining physical intimacy and changing bodies to children who already have difficulties navigating personal relationships and regulating personal space. If you ask your pediatrician for help with this very important discussion, then he or she can act as a guide and an intercessor, helping to translate the information in very appropriate ways and use language that your child will understand.
Your pediatrician can also stress to your child after this discussion the importance of keeping private things private, and respecting others' privacy and space. In this way, you have a medical professional who can verify that only appropriate language and facts were used to talk to your child. This prevents any legal problems that could arise should your child try to discuss these things with another adult (e.g., a teacher at school who may misinterpret what your child has said) or another child who doesn't know about sexual maturity and intimacy.
Your Pediatrician as the Referring Agent to Endocrinologists and Therapists
After you have discussed the changing adolescent body with your child, he or she may want to know more about how the sex organs and other endocrine glands work together to help him or her develop into an adult. He or she may also have a lot of unsettling feelings to talk about that he/she does not want to discuss with you. In both cases, your pediatrician can refer you to an endocrinologist who can best answer your child's questions and/or refer you to a mental health therapist who can discuss with your special needs child many of those scary feelings about growing up that your child may have. Contact a pediatrician, like one from Kitsap Children's Clinic LLP, for more information.