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Sexual Development, Physical

For the vast majority of males and females with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD), including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sexual development occurs during the same time frame as it does for typically developing males and females. This development includes the presence of primary sex characteristics (including sex chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, and external and internal genitalia) at birth and the development of secondary sex characteristics (including facial and body hair, body shape, breasts, and menstrual cycle) during puberty, which is the developmental process through which a person becomes physically mature and capable of sexual reproduction. However, social development in individuals with ID/DD or ASD frequently unfolds differently and unevenly from how it occurs for typically developing individuals. Specifically, social and emotional development into young ...

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