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The Autism Spectrum, Sexuality and the Law


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction. Tony Attwood. 2. My Story. Nick Dubin. 3. The Pathway to Accessing Child Pornography. Tony Attwood. 4. Strategies and Resources. Tony Attwood. 5. A Mother's Journey to Save Her Family. Kitty Dubin. 6. A Father's Journey to Protect His Son: A Legal Perspective. Larry Dubin. 7. Sex Education and Interventions. Isabelle Henault.

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This important book addresses the issues surrounding the autism spectrum, sexuality and the law

About the Author

Nick Dubin was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2004. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from Oakland University, a Master's Degree in Learning Disabilities from the University of Detroit Mercy, and a Specialist Degree in Psychology and Psy.D. from the Michigan School of Professional Psychology. He has authored many books on autism spectrum disorders including 'Asperger Syndrome and Anxiety', also published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Nick lives in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. Isabelle Henault has a masters degree in sexology and a doctorate of psychology from the Quebec University in Montreal. She has a private practice that provides assessment and therapy for individuals, couples and families, and acts as a consultant to a variety of organizations and schools. Her expertise lies in Asperger's Syndrome, with a special emphasis on sexuality, and she is the author of a sociosexual education programme for people with AS. She is involved with several international research projects on sexual education and psychotherapy for people on the autism spectrum. Tony Attwood, PhD, is a clinical psychologist from Brisbane, Australia, with over 30 years of experience with individuals with autism spectrum disorders. He is currently Adjunct Professor at Griffith University in Queensland.


"In bravely revealing his thoughts, insights, and marshaling top experts in the field of autism and sexuality, Nick Dubin has turned a devastating involvement with the criminal justice system into an educational and learning experience. A must read for anyone supporting those on the autism spectrum in the vital area of sexuality." -- Stephen M. Shore, Ed.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Special Education at Adelphi University, Internationally known consultant, educator, and author on issues related to the autism spectrum
"Sexuality is among the most important issues in the field of ASD that no one is talking about. Well, finally that silence has been broken with an incredibly honest, moving, fascinating and informative volume. The chapters by the family, whose son was charged with viewing child pornography, are among the most honest, gripping, and intense I have ever read and include a fantastic chapter by the son himself. In addition there are two chapters written by renowned international experts in the field which contain clear, comprehensive, and practical advice about sexuality related to people on the Autism Spectrum. Readers of this book will be rewarded with a whole new understanding of the major issues concerning sexuality and sexual development in ASD and will come away from this book deeply moved, surprised, and fully informed about the most important current issues in the field." -- Gary B. Mesibov, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina
"This courageous, insightful and provocative book opens a timely and urgent discussion on a difficult topic, presenting multiple perspectives on an issue of enormous consequence. As a lawyer who has walked with clients and families through ordeals similar to this one, I'm grateful to Nick Dubin and his co-authors for illuminating an issue too often shrouded in secrecy and shame. This book should be of wide interest to those in law enforcement and the criminal justice system as well as clinicians, individuals with autism and their families." -- Lisa Greenman, criminal defence attorney specialising in issues relating to developmental disability and mental health and co-founder of Take-2, a summer program for children with autism, Washington, DC
"Rarely has a major challenge of national import to our law enforcement and legal systems been more eloquently expressed than through this courageous story of one remarkable young man, bewildered by his own entanglements. This book may not alleviate the suffering of many before him; but it should prevent the destruction of many lives of adults with Asperger's syndrome whose fragile balance act within a society they struggle to adjust to is violently shaken by a system too rigid to understand, too self-righteous to be just, and too unforgiving to consider facts and clinical knowledge. Mr. Dubin, together with two of the foremost experts in the field, have given a powerful voice to a mission that belongs to us all: to correct an injustice that is still largely unknown but to the many families whose lives unravel at the strike of a sudden door knock." -- Ami Klin PhD, Marcus Autism Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine
"I was deeply moved by Nick Dubin's candid account of his frightening experience in the criminal justice system. This compelling and informative book shows how prosecutors can overreach in their pursuit of a criminal conviction with devastating consequences to individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Hopefully, this seminal work will shed some light on a long neglected subject and jumpstart a discussion in the legal system that includes compassion and understanding." -- Bradley Schram, former prosecutor and founding shareholder with the law firm, Hertz Schram PC, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
The story of Nick Dubin is sadly becoming a more common occurrence. His experience as an individual with high functioning autism is one of being misunderstood and unfortunately undiagnosed until the age of 27. This book describes the compelling story of a young man caught up in a nightmare where his symptoms of autism and an uninformed criminal justice system collide. Attwood, Henault, Mr. Dubin and his parents offer a glimpse of a possible reality that even though it is not commonly understood, many autistic teens and young adults have had to experience. Understanding societal rules for meeting others, for the development of interpersonal relationships, and sexuality in general are complex topics for any teen and young adult; it is especially complex for those on the autism spectrum. Proactive education is not only important, it is essential for those on the autism spectrum for without clear guidelines of what is right or wrong, what is allowed and what is illegal, and how to meet and express one's sexual feelings and needs, there will inevitably be more and more people on the autism spectrum finding themselves in the criminal justice system. This book is a brilliant first step or wake up call for individuals on the autism spectrum as well as their families. -- Lawrence R. Sutton, Ph.D., former Psychologist/Manager, Dept. of Public Welfare, Bureau of Autism, Western Region, State of Pennsylvania
As the father of a 21-year-old son with autism and as a forensic psychologist who has been diagnosing sex offenders for 40 years, I have an opinion on this subject. It is critical that high functioning persons with autism read this book; and even more critical for the parents or guardians of persons with autism to read this book. -- Michael C. Teague, Ph.D., former Raleigh Police Department Psychologist and former Chief of the Violent Crimes Section, North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety
The premise of this book is to take a specific circumstance and make it tangible and educational for individuals affected by autism spectrum disorders (ASD), their families, care providers, doctors, therapists, and legal counsel. Unfortunately, it falls short of the mark because some of the contributors seemingly don't make the effort to put power into their pull. Nick -Dubin's (The Autism Spectrum and Depression) tale is disturbing and will be particularly difficult to accept by those who were victims of childhood abuse. His father's chapter, however, is gripping and filled with applicable information. The book is worth reading simply for this section. Attwood's (psychology, Griffith Univ., Australia; The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome) entry is the most disappointing, considering his monumentally influential work in the field of ASD literature. Isabelle Henault (Asperger's Syndrome and Sexuality) does what was expected of Attwood, taking readers through developing sexuality, how social and relational deficits in conjunction with bullying and conflicting sexual sensory data can cause those with ASD to struggle with their sexual identity. She provides information for therapists and psychologists that will assist them in identifying risk factors and in helping their clients. VERDICT This title is not for those who are teaching emerging adolescents about their sexuality (Davida Hartman's Sexuality and Relationship Education for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders is a more targeted guide) but is appropriate for those who feel they, or their clients, are already struggling with this intense issue. -- Library Journal

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