Westchester Jewish Community Services
The Healthy Sexuality initiative will benefit four WJCS programs for teens and young adults with autism by embedding a healthy sexuality skills-based curriculum into the programs. This pilot initiative will be designed to lay the foundations for healthy sexuality and interpersonal relationships to support participants as they transition into various stages of adolescent development and as they integrate into the adult community. the Healthy Sexuality initiative will address two needs: 1)The need to raise the capacity of professionals working with teens and young adults with an autism spectrum disorder to receive training to provide developmentally appropriate sexuality education. 2) the need for teens and young adults with an autism spectrum disorder to receive sexuality education/social skills training. Both components of this initiative are designed to: 1) Foster the development of social and interpersonal skills that promote the happy and healthy integration of teens and young adults with an autism spectrum disorder within their communities. 2) Ensure the safety of teens and young adults with an autism spectrum disorder as they learn about their sexuality and engage in developmentally appropriate dating, social and sexual relationships. WJCS Staff will receive training necessary to develop specialized programs to work with teens and young adults with autism to help them learn about healthy, appropriate expressions of sexuality and about social boundaries including those related to sexuality and dating. Through training and follow-up consultation and supervision, WJCS staff will have the capacity to teach healthy sexuality through a combination of discussion, activity, and repetition that will include role-play, drama, and trips. Parents will receive education and support about how/when to talk about these topics with their child and how to guide their child toward healthy sexual expression.