Previous research underscores the importance of psychosexual guidance for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Such guidance is provided in the Tackling Teenage Training (TTT) program, in which adolescents with ASD receive psycho-education and practice communicative skills regarding topics related to puberty, sexuality and intimate relationships. The current thesis describes the results of a large randomized controlled trial to investigate the effects of the TTT program. A total of 189 cognitively-able adolescents with ASD, aged 12-18 years old, were randomized to an intervention condition (n = 95) or a waiting-list control condition (n = 94). We assessed outcomes using self-reported as well as parent-reported questionnaires at baseline (T1), post-treatment (T2; after six months) and follow-up (T3; after twelve months). The results indicate that the TTT program is effective as a psycho-educational program to provide adolescents with ASD with the knowledge and insight they need to prepare themselves for a healthy psychosexual development. The high social validation indicates that TTT program can also be used in clinical practice. More research to the psychosexual development of people with ASD is still necessary, for instance research into the mechanisms that can explain the development of inappropriate sexual behavior in people with ASD, but also on the long-term sexual development of adolescents with ASD.

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This research was supported by a grant from ZonMw, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, within the program “The sexual health of youngsters” (project number: 124270004) and Yulius, a large mental health organisation in the South-West of the Netherlands.
F.C. Verhulst (Frank) , K. Greaves-Lord (Kirstin) , E.J.M. van der Vegt (Esther)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Pediatric Psychiatry

Visser, K. (2017, November 22). Tackling Teenage : a randomized controlled trial to examine a psychosexual training program for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Retrieved from