Sexuality Education for Individuals with Autism and Developmental Disabilities

Nudity and Privacy

In this video, Dr. Achey discusses nudity and privacy as they relate to children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities. As a reminder, each of these training sessions are brief and should not be considered a comprehensive source on the specific topics covered. Each family is encouraged to determine what information and activities are appropriate for their child.

Parents can help children begin to understand the difference between public and private behaviors and that certain behaviors, such as picking one’s nose or touching one’s genitals, are private ones. If you find your child exploring their body in a public space, positively acknowledge your child’s exploration and explain that this is a private, not public, behavior. Have discussions about what behaviors or activities are done in private or in public, and give reminders of behaviors you have observed previously.

As a child matures, it is very common to see a significant increase in a child’s desire for privacy. A parent should respect these boundaries. Parents should knock before entering a child’s room and ask their children to do the same. All children are different and may have certain levels of comfort about nudity, some care less about being seen unclothed or partially unclothed, and some care a lot. Your child may prefer to not have you present when they take a bath or change clothes, the challenge becomes when the child still needs assistance with these skills but desires privacy. You may need to develop a system that works for both of you until your child is more independent.