The Birds and Bees: A pilot study of a parent-mediated sexuality education program for preteens and teens on the Autism Spectrum

Institution: University of Colorado, Anschutz

Project Overview

The research focuses on the Birds & Bees program, an intervention designed to aid caregivers of autistic preteens and teens in addressing the complexities of puberty, sexuality, and relationships.

The study assesses the acceptability and feasibility of the program, involving two groups of parents (N=8-10) with autistic children aged 10 to 18. It excludes parents whose children have co-occurring intellectual disabilities or cannot engage in telehealth interventions. Input from advisory groups of parents and autistic adults helped shape the program's content.

Preliminary data from this pilot study will provide critical insights into creating effective family-oriented interventions to support autistic youth during puberty and in sexual health matters.

Findings from the study will be used to refine the program's curriculum, consider adaptations for wider audiences, and inform future research with larger cohorts and control group comparisons.

Project Mentors and Contributors

PI: Lindsey DeVries, PhD1
Co-I: Caitlin Middleton, PhD1
Career Mentor: Katherine McLaughlin, M. Ed
Project Advisor: Judy Reaven, PhD1