Kate E. Reynolds

  • Goodreads Review of Sexuality and Severe Autism

    Kate E. Reynolds makes a compelling argument for the need for comprehensive sexual education for children with severe autism. She establishes the fact that many children are provided with little, or no, information about their sexual development. The result is often unexplained discomfort (smells, physical changes, hair, acne, etc.), sexually inappropriate behaviour, and frustration. She also highlights the increased risk of sexual abuse when people do not understand appropriate touch, privacy, their right to say no, and what is normal for their bodies.

    Reynolds is respectful, clear, and comprehensive in her approach. She deals candidly with sexual education, masturbation, and teaching appropriate behaviours. She is careful to explain the reasoning for her views (legal repercussions, risks, quality of life,etc.) and offers practical steps toward her stated goals.

    Readers should note that Reynolds is from the United Kingdom and therefore her legal references are not always applicable in a Canadian context. Also, her primary focus is on children although I suspect that her wisdom can be easily modified to suit a wider demographic.

    "Sexuality and Severe Autism" helps to fill a void in the literature around disability and sexuality. Much of what Reynolds suggests is uncontroversial as she includes a wide range off topics within "sexuality". For example, I doubt that any care provider will contest her suggestions around hygiene routines or private vs. public space. However, some of what she writes will challenge systems that have typically governed and/or suppressed the sexual lives of people with severe autism. I believe this is an overdue challenge that should be taken seriously by service providers.

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Kate E Reynolds - blogging

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