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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide

ASERT has put together some resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current Coronavirus outbreak.

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Be Safe: Prevention Resources for Individuals with Autism

Overview

These resources, part of the Be Safe Resource collection, provides general information about how to prevent sexual abuse and assault for individuals with autism. These resources are specifically designed for individuals with autism and focus on: what is sexual abuse, how to stay safe, body awareness and body safety, understanding touch and staying safe,

What is Sexual Abuse and How Do I Stay Safe?

What is sexual abuse?

  • Someone looks at my private parts (parts covered by a bathing suit)
  • Someone wants me to look at their private parts
  • Someone wants to take pictures or videos of me without my clothes on
  • Someone wants to touch or kiss me on my private parts
  • Someone wants me to touch or kiss them on their private parts

When people do these things, they may tell me that what happened is a secret. It’s not a secret, it’s sexual abuse. My body belongs to me. My private parts are private.

How often does sexual abuse happen?

  • Sexual abuse happens to many children. About 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused. If you have been abused, it’s important to know you’re not alone.
  • Even if it is hard to communicate, always find a way to tell a trusted adult if you are being sexually abused.

Who sexually abuses children?

Most times, people who sexually abuse children are males but females will sometimes also sexually abuse children.

Sometimes, children are abused by strangers but most children are abused by someone they know and trust. This may be:

  • Your mom or dad
  • Your brother or sister
  • Other family members (aunt, uncle, grandparent, cousin)
  • Neighbors
  • Older kids you know
  • Someone who takes care of you
  • Someone who works or volunteers in a place that you visit
  • A friend of the family

Why do people sexually abuse children?

  • They have trouble making friends with people their own age
  • They don’t like themselves very much
  • They think touching private parts is a way to show they care about a child
  • They think sexual abuse doesn’t harm children
  • They don’t understand rules about private parts being private

Body Awareness and Body Safety

What are private parts?

Private parts are parts of the body covered by bathing suits. This means body parts such as:

  • penis
  • buttocks (behind)
  • breasts
  • vagina

What types of touches are okay?

Okay, or safe touches: high fives with a friend, goodnight kiss or hug from mom or dad

Not okay, or unsafe touches: hitting, pulling hair, touching another person’s private parts, rubbing your body without permission, kissing without permission

When is it okay for an adult to touch my private parts?

To clean you in the bath or shower or to help with going to the bathroom.

To make sure you are healthy, but only when it is a doctor examining you with a parent’s permission.

Even if an adult is helping you in the bathroom, they should ask your permission before touching you and it’s okay for you to say no if you are uncomfortable.

Things to remember about your body

Private parts are private!

Your body belongs to you

No means no

If you are scared, tell someone– they can help

Things to remember about other people’s bodies

Ask permission to touch, even if it’s an okay touch

You don’t have to touch another person if you don’t want to

Don’t touch another person’s private parts

Rules for my body

It’s not okay for others to look at my private parts

It’s not okay for other people to show me their private parts

It’s not okay for other people to make me touch their private parts

It’s not okay for other people to say sexual things to me that I don’t like

It is okay to touch my own private parts as long as I’m alone

List 3 Trusted Adults who you could tell if someone broke a rule for your body:

1.

2.

3.

Understanding Touch

Okay and Not Okay Touches

What are private parts?

Parts of the body covered by bathing suits

  • Penis
  • Buttocks (behind)
  • Breasts
  • Vagina

Okay touches

  • High fives with a friend
  • Goodnight kiss or hug from mom or dad

Not okay touches

  • Hitting or pulling hair
  • Touching another person’s private parts
  • Someone rubbing your body without you saying it’s okay
  • Kissing without you saying it’s okay

Understanding Touch and Staying Safe

What are private parts?

Parts of the body covered by bathing suits

  • Penis
  • Buttocks (behind)
  • Breasts
  • Vagina

Rules for your body

  • No one can touch your private parts unless you say it’s okay
  • People should ask before touching you for any reason
  • You have the right to say no
  • You are in charge of your body

Other ways to stay safe

  • Learn about your body and sex: Ask close friends or family members’ questions
  • Say yes to hanging out with close friends and family members
  • Say no or stop if someone is touching you and you don’t want them to
  • If someone hurts you, it’s not your fault and tell a trusted person
  • Learn how to get  help
  • If you’re scared, feel uncomfortable, or think you’re being abused, tell a trusted person
  • Practice how to advocate for yourself

List three people you can contact if you feel unsafe:

1.

2.

3.

Rules for other peoples bodies

  • Don’t touch other people’s private parts
  • Ask before going into other people’s personal space (within arm’s reach)

When is it okay for an adult to touch my private parts?

  • Only after they ask and you say it’s okay
  • To help clean you in the bath or shower, or help going to the bathroom
  • When a doctor needs to make sure you’re healthy

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Other downloads

Name Description Type File
Prevention for Individuals What is Sexual Abuse and How Do I Stay Safe (Children) pdf Download file: Prevention for Individuals
Prevention for Individuals Body Awareness and Body Safety (Children) pdf Download file: Prevention for Individuals
Prevention for Individuals Understanding Touch (Children) pdf Download file: Prevention for Individuals
Prevention for Individuals Understanding Touch and Staying Safe (Adults) pdf Download file: Prevention for Individuals

This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.