HomeHome ArticlesArticles Language SettingsLanguage Settings
RSS Feeds
DrillDown Icon Autism Ontario KnowledgeBase
DrillDown Icon Conference Resource: Mental Health and Adults with ASD
DrillDown Icon About the Knowledge Base
DrillDown Icon Features and How to Use this Site
DrillDown Icon 2 Diagnosis
DrillDown Icon 3 Family
DrillDown Icon 4 Skill Development
DrillDown Icon 5 Recreation, Leisure and Health
DrillDown Icon 6 Volunteering and Employment
DrillDown Icon 7 Elementary / Secondary Education
DrillDown Icon 8 Intervention Options
DrillDown Icon 9 Technology
DrillDown Icon 10 First Person Perspective
DrillDown Icon Bullying
DrillDown Icon Common Money Management Challenges and Solutions
DrillDown Icon Advocating for Yourself: First Hand Perspective
DrillDown Icon Tips for Maintaining Boundaries to Ensure Comfort and Personal Safety
DrillDown Icon Addressing Mental Health Issues
DrillDown Icon The Benefits of Doing Drama Productions
DrillDown Icon Let's Talk About Sex!
DrillDown Icon Ways to Counteract Peer Pressure
DrillDown Icon Personal Care and Beauty Tips
DrillDown Icon 11 Planning for the Future
DrillDown Icon 12 Post Secondary Education
DrillDown Icon 13 Transition to School
DrillDown Icon 14 Professionals and ASD
DrillDown Icon 15 Mental Health
DrillDown Icon Disclaimer
  Email This ArticlePrint PreviewPrint Preview Current Article/Category with all Sub-Articles/Sub-Categories
Let's Talk About Sex!

By Courtney Weaver

Let’s face it – teaching kids and teens about sex is hard no matter what. Its awkward, and complicated, and hard to know how much to teach when. While there’s no great clear rules, here’s a top 5 tips for teaching kids and teens with ASD about sex:

  1. 1. Be knowledgeable and comfortable – if you are the person teaching, you need to be comfortable. Know your facts (even if you have to google some terminology first!). And be comfortable with proper terminology – if you can’t say proper labels and words without feeling embarrassed and giggly, then you may not be the right person to teach. Its ok to feel awkward about it, as long as you don’t show it! Be aware of how slang and terminology changes as kids become teenagers and try to generalize to some of those terms over time.
  2. 2. Be direct! People with ASD often have a hard time understanding language that is abstract or indirect. Give short, clear direct descriptions and answers to questions. Don’t use analogies to explain things, unless you are very certain it is something your child will understand and find relatable.
  3. 3. Separate fact from values – this is tough but important. There are details to learning about sex and sexuality that are simple scientific fact. Based on the level of understanding of your child or teen it may be very appropriate to teach values that surround sex and relationships that are reflective of your family, culture, or religion. Teach the scientific facts, and then teach them in the framework of how it fits into your values.
  4. 4. Use teaching strategies that are familiar – Use the same strategies that work to teach your child other skills – if you know they learn well with lots of visual support, then use that here too. If they learn well from Social Stories, you can certainly teach about sex in Social Stories. 
  5. 5. Be prepared to revisit this – Often learning requires repetition. Think about the other types of language, self care, and academic skills your child has learned, and how much repetition some of those skills may have required. This is no different.


There is no time that is too early or too late to start teaching children and teens about their own body, personal independence, and self-care. While some of these skills will be taught in the classroom, many will not be. And for people with ASD, the detail, repetition, or teaching strategies required may not be sufficient – it is important to make sure that they are being provided with ample learning opportunities throughout life!