Personal touch

The need to touch a parent can be a common one for young children, who when held in a hug position may play with their parents t-shirt putting their hands on and inside the material. Inappropriate placement of hands down t-shirts needs to be reinforced if it is not linked with a non-verbal request for expressive language difficulties that is being molded into a more appropriate gesture / sign for breastfeeding.

Typical ‘sensory seeking’ behaviours can be of high frequency for some individuals and they may engage in self stimulatory behaviours in public environments without regard for who is around them e.g. masturbating in the classroom, or in the lounge room. Some families have needed to teach their sons how to masturbate properly which has helped them reduce the frequency of public and private need when the extent has impacted so significantly on the 24 hour period of all of the family members. Some individuals have sustained skin injuries and have required specialist consultation and urological surgical procedures to assist with the underlying difficulties.


  • Beddows N, Brooks R. Inappropriate sexual behaviour in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder: what education is recommended and why. Early Interv Psychiatry. 2016 Aug;10(4):282-9. doi: 10.1111/eip.12265. Epub 2015 Aug 12. PMID: 26265030.
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Examples of Australian Curriculum:

yr7 / 8 – Respectful relationships (at grade level written response)

yr7 / 8 – Respectful relationships (below satisfactory response)

yr 7 / 8 – Health and Physical Education (below satisfactory response)

Health, Wellbeing and Relationships (Stage 2) NSW Education and Standards Authority (NESA) – content includes puberty

Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (K-10 Syllabus) NSW Education Standards Authority (2018)

Life Skills Outcome Worksheet (Stage 5) NSW Board of Studies