Education and research, Human rights

Sexual Health & Ethics in High Functioning Autism

Advocate, educate and raise awareness on sexual health & structured sexual ethics education programs, considering professionals, parents, caregivers and people with high functioning autism.


Who is behind this?

Maria Iliopoulou

Hellenic Association for Asperger's Syndrome (HAAS)


Who is joining forces?

Institute of Occupational Science and Rehabilitation, Metropolitan College of Greece


Croatian Association of Occupational Therapists (H.U.R.T.)


We look forward to collpoborate with other countries and relevant associations and oraganisations with interest on quality of life of adults with High Functioning Autism.


Idea pitch

The current approach on the sexual issues and behaviors of people with autism, includes individualized approach and is based on the experience of the therapist, without following a structured model. The main barrier towards the integration of a sexual education program is the lack of knowledge and information on the topic by the professionals and the difficulty of acceptance by parents. According to our recent research study, 70% of therapists are not aware of the availability of programmes.

Where will your project idea take place?

It will start in Athens and Zagreb and will un on national level

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Awareness on sexual education and health aims to assist these people participate in social life, without oppressing their sexual expression and have equal opportunities in role acquisition. Lack of education and advocacy on this has been recorded to result in sexual abuse, sexual offence and unsafe on inappropriate sexual behaviors. Sexual education is able to assist people exercise their right to sexual relationships, parenthood, freedom of choice, freedom of expression and access to sexual-related information. Healthcare professionals, parents should be empowred on the importance of sexual expression, in order to provide a holistic and universal integration into society. Empwered citizines with autism, professionals and stakeholedrs help the dialogue & acceptance in community.

Who are you doing it for?

The beneficiaries of the program will be the citizens with autism, their families and professionals in the community, who will become aware of the ethics and rights of sexual expression, alongside with the available structured sexual education programs. This will have results in many levels. People will be given the opportunity to exercise their right to a healthy sexual life. Despite their special characteristics, they will be included in society and have access to all the information considering this issue. As a result, professionals can flourish this effort, by providing a more holistic, structured and thorough guidance, intervention and advocacy. The biggest target group will be collaboration with local communities it will raise awareness on citizens with autism & sexual ethics.

How do you plan to get there?

The project is divided in three main pillars. The first pillar is to attract beneficiaries through the associations networks and raise awareness on ethics and rights of people with autism, when it comes to sexual expression, by giving them access to available information. In the second phase, all beneficiaries will be given the opportunity to be heard and communicate their needs and expectations on sexual education. The aim is to include these people in the decision-making process, in favor of social justice and provision of a sexual education program, capable of fulfilling their expectations. The third pillar is to attract and establish a network , who will provide training and open a dialogue on how to establish a national-wide sexual education program in schools and rehabilitation centers. Local servises will be awre of the sexual rights of citizens with autism. It can be a pilot to cover the abesnse of something similar on national level. Usually goverments accept the need but are not aware how to cover it.

What are the expected results?

In a year from now, the project will not only have opened a public dialogue on the importance of sexual education, but will have established a network of trained and fully-informed professionals, capable of delivering these programs. Citizens with autism will be able to avoid abuse and sexualy express by having information and guidance to do so. Professionals and families will be aware for better support. Local community will have made steps to accept different vulnerable groups and welcome them, and learn how to transform something viewed as disability to something received as an asset. Social inclusion and acceptance of different voices gives life and future to democracy. Local goverments and cnetral goverment will have the assets to develop policy (we succeeded in education before).

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The sustainability of the project is developed in three stages upon the successful implementation. Firstly, the collaborating organizations aim to continue the sexual education program, through trainings and seminars, nationwide. Then, in association with the ministries of education, these up-to-date programs, will be school-based. Last but not least, professionals, will have gained a new set of skills, that of sexual education & health in citizens with autism. The only way towards a society free of sexual stigma, abuse and marginalization of minorities, is through proper, contemporary and structured sexual ethics education programs.

Why is this idea important to you?

Maria Iliopoulou is a psychologist and president of the Hellenic Asperger's Syndrome Association with long experince eiither in autism and public sector as a vice-mayor for education in the city of Athens.
Sasa Radic is Occupational Therapist and President of the croatian Associiation of Occupational Therapists.
Dr. Panagiotis Siaperas OT & Psychologist researcher with long experience and published work on sexuality and aurism. Board Member of ENOTHE
Vassiliki Rotsika Psychologist
Ms Maria-Loretta Miskala OT and researcher.

€ 32000,-

Total budget

€ 32000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

travel expenses 5000
admin - back office 4000
seminars 6000
scientific committee 6000
evaluation 4000
community engagement 4000
website 1000
information material 1000
handbook 1000

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We are looking forward for feedback and ideas and especially from people with autism! We believe that sexual health and sexual eathics is an imporatnt aspect of quality of life and citizenship. We would like to be advocates for people with autism respecting and implementing their own view.


Maria Iliopoulou


Hrvatska udruga radnih terapeuta


Idea created on April 23, 2021
Last edit on April 25, 2021

Write comment