Improving Psychosexual Knowledge in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Pilot of the Tackling Teenage Training Program

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that psychosexual functioning in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is hampered and emphasize the need for a specialized training program tailored to their needs. Therefore, an individual training program was developed; the Tackling Teenage Training (TTT) program. The current pilot study systematically evaluated whether psychosexual knowledge increased after taking part in the TTT program, using a pre- and post-training design in 30 adolescents with ASD (77 % male, mean age = 14.80 years, mean intelligence = 96.96). Psychosexual knowledge increased significantly (pre-training total score: M = 25.74, SD = 6.20; post-training total score: M = 33.52 (SD = 2.78); F(1,29) = 65.20, p < .001). The TTT program may be useful to improve psychosexual knowledge and functioning in adolescents with ASD, yet these findings are preliminary, and a more elaborate controlled trial is needed.

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Acknowledgments

This project was financially supported by the Sophia Children’s Hospital Fund (Grant Number 617, titled Tackling Teenage: a multicenter study on psychosexual development and intimacy in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder). The professionalization of the Tackling Teenage Training was financially supported by the Anthonia Wilhelimina Fund which is a part of the Psychological Health fund (i.e. Fonds Psychische Gezondheid). We are grateful to all adolescents, their parents and the trainers who participated in this research and to everyone who worked on this project and made it possible.

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Correspondence to Linda P. Dekker.

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Dekker, L.P., van der Vegt, E.J.M., Visser, K. et al. Improving Psychosexual Knowledge in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Pilot of the Tackling Teenage Training Program. J Autism Dev Disord 45, 1532–1540 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2301-9

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Keywords

  • Psychosexual functioning
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Psychosexual knowledge
  • Training program