At FPA we're working with Scottish Autism on a project, funded by the Scottish government, to support families affected by autism around the areas of growing up, sex and relationships.
We work directly with young people, provide practical strategies for parents and train frontline professionals. Our conference was all about sharing some of the learning from the project, giving professionals a chance to share good practice, explore some of the challenges of this work and identify solutions.
Our project is so important because parents and foster carers often find it difficult to talk about and respond to the sexual development of their children. When a child is on the autistic spectrum relationships can be complex, and it can be even harder to address the reality of sexual relationships developing. Parents tell us that it’s a major concern.
Frontline staff often struggle to deal with SRE due to anxiety, embarrassment or lack of confidence and knowledge.
As well as our team Mel, Jo, Corrie and Alison, professionals heard from a range of speakers, including Anya Ustaszewski, an autism awareness trainer and campaigner, and composer/musician.
We also welcomed George Burrows from LGBT Health and Wellbeing and Chloe McNeillis from Scottish Autism for workshops, as well as The Fragile X Society, Autism Network Scotland, and Cornerstone.