Age: 15

Jenny is fifteen years old. She has ASD with severe learning difficulties. She has come into the setting with her mother as she has severe friction sores around her genitals. Her mother says that Jenny has masturbated since she was 13. Jenny is now attempting to masturbate whenever she is not occupied at home or at school. Jenny will attempt to use her hands to masturbate, but will also rub herself against corners of furniture, arms of chairs, door handles and other household objects. This has become a very embarrassing behaviour and is compromising Jenny’s opportunities to mix with others.


  • Infection and sore areas need examination and treatment.
  • Be guided by her mother on how to do this – suggest that Jenny brings in a favourite object to relax and distract her.
  • Discuss with her mother what Jenny’s preferred interests are
  • Ask Jenny’s mother to keep a log of the times and places Jenny tends to masturbate to identify frequency and patterns.
  • Develop a timetable, adapted for Jenny’s communication style, that incorporates time for Jenny’s preferred activities and a specific ‘private’ time each day when Jenny is left alone in her bedroom.
  • If Jenny has a particular toy or object that she sometimes uses for masturbation, start using this to indicate to Jenny that ‘private time’ is intended for her to masturbate if she wishes.
  • Plan how to intervene in attempts to masturbate at other times by using diversion to her preferred interests.
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