The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

30 May 2014

Puberty, Sexuality and Behavior among Individuals with Special Needs

Discussions on sex education in the general education had been very controversial and the same goes in special education. There is a fundamental need to understand human development that relates to sexual behaviors and to educate everyone on how to deal with the changes and behaviors, be it of neurotypical children and teens or those with developmental disabilities. With the spread of sexually-explicit materials through the social media, curiosity amongst children escalates and makes them explore. Lack of proper education and guidance may lead to abuse and early pregnancy. This scenario does not exclude children with special needs.

Six ladies in Puberty, Sexuality and Behavior

The “Puberty, Sexuality and Behaviour among Individuals with Special Needs” Seminar was conducted by ASP CSFP Chapter and the Inocencio Magtoto Memorial Foundation, Inc (IMMFI) last 18 May 2014 at Dolores Homesite, City of San Fernando Pampanga. The said seminar was attended by more than 30 parent members of ASP CSFP Chapter and parents of DEPED ALS PWD learners. The said seminar served as the first activity of this cross-disability parent support group in Pampanga, led by ASP CSFP and IMMFI.

Dr. Nida Valeriano, the resource speaker, is a mother of a 31-year old man with autism. She shared her own experiences in dealing with her son's sexual behavior. She explained the process of development that happen to every individual as they reach puberty. She also shared some tips on how to deal with different sexual behaviors and how to educate children about menstruation and masturbation. Circumcision of children with special needs was also discussed and she pointed out her own opinion but left the parents to decide for themselves.

One parent said, ”I find the seminar very informative, interesting and timely. The topics were discussed well and effectively relayed to the audience. As my son is now approaching puberty, this seminar has been a powerful guide. Now I know better how to handle his growing needs. I hope there will be part 2.”

And another said, “It gave me an idea on how to handle my son in the area of sexuality especially about masturbation; because I am already seeing it in my son who is now 11 years old. It made me aware on how I can educate my son in this particular area of development.”

The IMMFI President / CEO Clarita Magtoto said "the topics were highly appreciated by parents especially those with children with ASD. The parents enjoyed the discussion because it was informative and practical, the speakers were lively and their discussion was experiential. We only regret that some invited parents did not attend the session that they missed an important topic."

It will always be a privilege to be an instrument in parent empowerment. It is hope that by becoming an empowered parent of individuals with special needs, their children will reach their full potentials and become a contributing member of the society. Empowerment also strengthens advocacy. The advocacy with the goal of making the community embrace the disability sector.

About the author: Joy Ofrecia is a mother of two, her eldest Juris has autism & Patricia, and a wife to a government employee, Pablito. She has been a hands-on mother and has been implementing home intervention programs along with other school/center-based interventions for her own son since his diagnosis in 2001. She has earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Angeles University Foundation. She teaches children with autism and conducts training to parents and professionals and orientations to different organizations and institutions on autism. She serves as one of the National Trustees of Autism Society Philippines and Program Director of Noah Autism Resource Center. Teacher Joy finds her fulfillment in her role as an advocate of autism and an instrument to empower parents of children with disabilities. Her passion in what she does is fueled by the firm belief that it is a purpose that God planned for her life.


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