Module 4: Gender, Sexuality, & High Risk Behaviors

Learning Objectives for Module 4:

  • Promote an understanding of healthy sexual development for transition age youth diagnosed with ASD.
  • Define and identify ways to support transition age youth diagnosed with ASD and their families cope with the challenges of sexual identity development and sexual maturation, including safety or boundary issues.
Module 4 PowerPoint Slides:

    This module includes several videos on sexuality education for transition aged youth with ASD.


    Read more about the Healthy Bodies Toolkit (sexual education curriculum for youth with disabilities) by Vanderbilt Kennedy Center.

    Read more about Healthy Relationships, Sexuality, and Disability (Resource Guide 2014) by a partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (MDDS).

    Articles on Gender Identity, Sexuality, & High Risk Behaviors for TAY diagnosed with ASD/ID:

    American Academy of Pediatrics. (2005). Caring for Your School-Age Child Ages 5 to 12. American Academy of Pediatrics.

    Ballan, M. S., & Freyer, M. B. Autism Spectrum Disorder, Adolescence, and Sexuality Education: Suggested Interventions for Mental Health Professionals. Sexuality and Disability, 1-13.

    Beddows, N., & Brooks, R. (2015). Inappropriate sexual behaviour in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder: what education is recommended and why. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 10, 282-289.

    Chan, J., & John, R. M. (2012). Sexuality and sexual health in children and adolescents with autism. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners8(4), 306-315.

    Chen, F., Grandjean, C., & Richard, S. (2016). Pharmacological management of inappropriate sexual behaviors in youth with autism spectrum disorder: A case study and review of the literature. Neuropsychiatrie de l’Enfance et de l’Adolescence, 64(3), 163-16.

    Dewinter, J., Vermeiren, R., Vanwesenbeeck, I., Lobbestael, J., & Van Nieuwenhuizen, C. (2015). Sexuality in adolescent boys with autism spectrum disorder: Self-reported behaviours and attitudes. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders45(3), 731-741.

    Dewinter, J., Van Parys, H., Vermeiren, R., & van Nieuwenhuizen, C. (2017). Adolescent boys with an autism spectrum disorder and their experience of sexuality: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Autism21(1), 75-82.

    Fernandes, L. C., Gillberg, C. I., Cederlund, M., Hagberg, B., Gillberg, C., & Billstedt, E. (2016). Aspects of sexuality in adolescents and adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders in childhood. Journal of autism and developmental disorders46(9), 3155-3165.

    Grant, J. M., Mottet, L. A., Tanis, J., Herman, J. L., Harrison, J., & Keisling, M. (2010). National transgender discrimination survey report on health and health care. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

    Gotham, K., Brunwasser, S. M., & Lord, C. (2015). Depressive and anxiety symptom trajectories from school age through young adulthood in samples with autism spectrum disorder and developmental delay. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry54(5), 369-376.

    Holmes, L. G., Himle, M. B., Sewell, K. K., Carbone, P. S., Strassberg, D. S., & Murphy, N. A. (2014). Addressing sexuality in youth with autism spectrum disorders: current pediatric practices and barriers. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics35(3), 172-178.

    Holmes, L. G., Himle, M. B., & Strassberg, D. S. (2016). Parental romantic expectations and parent–child sexuality communication in autism spectrum disorders. Autism20(6), 687-699.

    Kalyva, E. (2010). Teachers’ perspectives of the sexuality of children with autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders4(3), 433-437.

    Kerns, C. M., Kendall, P. C., Zickgraf, H., Franklin, M. E., Miller, J., & Herrington, J. (2015). Not to be overshadowed or overlooked: Functional impairments associated with comorbid anxiety disorders in youth with ASD. Behavior therapy46(1), 29-39.

    Koegel, L. K., Detar, W. J., Fox, A., & Koegel, R. L. (2014). Romantic relationships, sexuality, and autism spectrum disorders. In Adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders (pp. 87-104). Springer New York.

    Olson, K. R., Durwood, L., DeMeules, M., & McLaughlin, K. A. (2016). Mental health of transgender children who are supported in their identities. Pediatrics, peds-2015.

    Olson-Kennedy, J., & Forcier, M. (2015). Overview of the management of gender nonconformity in children and adolescents. UpToDate November4.

    Pecora, L. A., Mesibov, G. B., & Stokes, M. A. (2016). Sexuality in high-functioning autism: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of autism and developmental disorders46(11), 3519-3556.

    Simonoff, E., Pickles, A., Charman, T., Chandler, S., Loucas, T., & Baird, G. (2008). Psychiatric disorders in children with autism spectrum disorders: prevalence, comorbidity, and associated factors in a population-derived sample. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry47(8), 921-929.

    Strang, J. F., Meagher, H., Kenworthy, L., de Vries, A. L., Menvielle, E., Leibowitz, S., … & Pleak, R. R. (2016). Initial clinical guidelines for co-occurring autism spectrum disorder and gender dysphoria or incongruence in adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 1-11.

    Sullivan, A., & Caterino, L. C. (2008). Addressing the sexuality and sex education of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Education and Treatment of Children31(3), 381-394.

    Takara, K., & Kondo, T. (2014). Autism spectrum disorder among first-visit depressed adult patients: diagnostic clues from backgrounds and past history. General hospital psychiatry36(6), 737-742.

    Van Der Miesen, A. I., Hurley, H., & De Vries, A. L. (2016). Gender dysphoria and autism spectrum disorder: A narrative review. International Review of Psychiatry28(1), 70-80.

    van Schalkwyk, G. I., Klingensmith, K., & Volkmar, F. R. (2015). Gender identity and autism spectrum disorders. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine88(1), 81.