The Unfortunate Epidemic: Sexual Abuse our Kids World
My apologies to all, but I just can make a fun circus theme out of something so serious. One of the most perverse and scary problems we face as parents is the threat of sexual abuse. I have a daughter, so I feel I am hyper vigilant. For a long time she was also non-verbal – so I spent a lot of time in overwatch, the helicopter parent, trying to be sure she was safe.
Gonna Touch the Butt – Sexual Abuse
Her safety was always something I was concerned about. I was lucky, she started to use a more words as time went on. She was in therapy at home, sometimes up to 40 hours a week. There were very few times that she wasn’t with me. As part of her socialization we started to have to go to the providers location to play with others kiddos. Then she can home one day and started poking all the toys in the butt.
At first I didn’t think much of it. She kept repeating, “I’m gonna touch the butt.” It was hard to be sure if that was even what she was saying. My daughter has words now, but most of the time they didn’t make sense. She was either scripting a story she heard or a movie she watched. After about two hours of her poking butts and touching butts, I called our therapist and canceled therapy until we found out what was going on. We had two males therapists, so I was — well I was pissed and freaked out to be honest.
Gosh Dang Funny Movies!
Our lead therapist called me at midnight that night. She said she knew what was going on. I waited for that one second pause for what seemed like a million years. “So, you guys are watching Finding Nemo in the van again, aren’t you?” she said. Yes, yes we were. And yes, the is a movie line about a BOAT that says BUTT. Mystery solved. So, we are lucky, but we are still vigilant. What can we do? How can we try to keep our kids safe?
Just Say No
I loved the Just Say No to drugs campaign they started when I was a kid in school. I think of it often in unrelated situations. When my daughter started to talk, to see the power of words, one of the first things we taught her was the word “No.” The most valuable word in the English language that anyone can teach their kiddo is “No.” If they are not verbal, then shaking their head No or giving the PECS as an alternative form of communication is an option.
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes
Another thing you can do it try to treat your autistic child as no different than you would another child when it comes to understanding their own body. Try to teach her the parts of the body as soon as you can. Even if they don’t have words to describe their private areas themselves, they often understand what you are saying. It could be as simple as private parts and other parts. We just made sure that we DID have the conversation and didn’t shy away because she didn’t understand.
We are lucky, I know that. She now knows what is her private areas and her regular ones. She can tell us if someone hurt her or touched her. Mostly she just tells on her little brother for touching her butt or farting on her. Either way, the fact that we have normalized these conversations and they know they will not get in trouble for having them with us has helped.
Please try to find a way to educate your kiddo. Sometimes it is so hard for us to know what to tell them and what not to tell them. However, if we never tell them someone shouldn’t touch them, how will they know? I hope you never need to know any of this stuff. I also hope that you consider it now, and maybe start the conversation.