April 19, 2018

Introducing the "Let's Talk Sex and Sexuality for People with IDD and Autism" Series

Hello Everyone,

Image result for autism awarenessWe are well into Autism Awareness Month and the outpouring of support is really wonderful!  It is really great to see such attention being paid to increasing awareness of autism and efforts to celebrate the individual over the diagnosis.  Celebrating similarities and focusing on successes is critical to helping shift social views on autism; however at this time, it is also very important to pay attention to important areas of difficulty many of our young individuals, and their support systems, must face and find effective ways to address.  As a parent of a young person, you can probably identify several areas of difficulty you are struggling to help your child manage effectively, especially if your child is about to enter or is already wading through the process of puberty. 
Let's face it, puberty can be a real pain in the brain (and body) to deal with, whether you have a developmental diagnosis or not.  Both boys and girls have an equally difficult time coping with puberty. Speaking as a man, and based on my experience working primarily with young men with developmental diagnoses, young guys have a very difficult time adjusting and coping with the changes to their bodies.  When you factor in growing interest in the opposite sex (or not) coupled with hormone changes, subtle and the not so subtle, which you often cannot control, the prospect can be downright overwhelming!  What to do?!  How do we talk to our young guys about their growing sexual awareness?  How do we help them understand what is happening to their bodies and why it is happening?  How do we get ourselves to a place where we can help them understand what sex is and what it means to be a sexual being?  How do we get comfortable speaking to them about safe sexual behavior, knowing full well the numerous mine-fields associated with legal issues around inappropriate sexual behavior?  Honestly, that's often least on the mind of young men who are more preoccupied with trying to gain mastery over their hormone hijacked bodies.  Well, there is hope out there!  Starting in May, I will be posting a series of updates about free talks I will be giving that address some of these issues around puberty, sex, and sexuality, being encountered by parents and their young men. 
I am planning that the first discussion will be for parents, with future offerings for individuals and self-advocates with developmental diagnoses. Please take a look below for my first offering.  There is a very real need for discussing this topic as it impacts girls with developmental diagnoses and these may be offered in the future.  Please know that these topics are presented based on community demand.  If there is a topic you would like discussed, please tell me!

Masturbation and Your Young Man with Autism

What is it? 
This is a FREE one-hour event for parents of young men with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental diagnoses looking at addressing behavior concerns associated with young men and masturbation during puberty.

What time are we meeting?
The discussion will be held on Saturday, May 19th at 12:30 P.M.

Where are we meeting?
We will be meeting at 10400 Connecticut Ave., Ste. 200, in Kensington Maryland.  Free parking is available in the parking lot next to the building.  Parking is easiest to access if you are coming down Connecticut Avenue toward the District of Columbia.

Is there a fee?
There is no fee for this discussion, however space is limited so please register early to guarantee a space.

What will we talk about?
What is masturbation anyway? 
Why does my son masturbate?
How do I have a conversation with my son about safe and appropriate masturbation?
How do I teach healthy and safe boundaries around masturbation?
How can I manage my own worries around having this discussion?                                              
What about my fears that he may get into serious trouble?  What about safety?
How can I be supportive and nurturing of my son's behavior during this time?
What about PORNOGRAPHY?!

Who do I talk to if I want to register?

You can contact the presenter, Jonathan Rhoads*, directly at (301)-639-4036 or by email at rhoajo01@gmail.com to register.

*Jonathan Rhoads is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in children, adolescents, and young adults diagnoses with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental diagnoses.  His areas of focus include building awareness and understanding of complex feelings and emotions, developing solutions to manage environmental stress, and addressing social anxiety issues around dating and relationships.

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