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Joel Fosha
Indiana Institute on Disability and Community

Last modified: Monday, December 5, 2011

New book addresses sex education, relationships for people with autism spectrum disorders

Dec. 5, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A new book, "Intimate Relationships and Sexual Health," provides readers with an "all you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask/teach" curriculum on sexuality tailored to the unique characteristics of high-functioning adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum.

This comprehensive and extensively researched curriculum (with a companion CD), written by Indiana University Bloomington co-authors Catherine Davies and Melissa Dubie, provides 11 detailed lessons covering the complex topics of sex education and relationships. Subject matter includes fact-based content such as anatomy and reproduction along with lessons that teach aspects of social judgment such as dating, relationship building and decision making.

"Intimate Relationships and Sexual Health," printed by AAPC Publishing, uses teaching strategies and techniques that have been shown to be effective for those with autism spectrum disorders. Each lesson includes a highly structured lesson plan that incorporates learning objectives, individual and group activities, student assignments and handouts. Suggestions are also provided for adapting each lesson to individual rather than group instruction. The curriculum can be used by instructors from a variety of backgrounds including teachers, social workers, psychologists, parents and therapists.

Davies and Dubie are educational consultants with the Indiana Resource Center for Autism at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community. Davies has more than 25 years of experience in working with children and adults with autism spectrum disorders. Dubie has 27 years of public school experience as a teacher, coach and consultant, and she currently works with families and professionals about issues related to puberty and sexual health.

The Indiana Resource Center for Autism is part of the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University Bloomington. Both receive support from the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, which is dedicated to supporting ongoing faculty research and creative activity, developing new multidisciplinary initiatives and maximizing the potential of faculty to accomplish path-breaking work.