A recent inquiry came through the deafblind network among Family Engagement Consultants from a parent requesting resources related to talking to a son/daughter about their changing bodies.
While sex education may be a difficult subject to discuss with any of our children, when a disability is also involved communicating and understanding of this information may be compounded. With a little extra downtime on our hands over the Holiday Season, this might be something to consider as a topic of discussion among family members.
Here are a few of the suggestions that were shared:
Introduction to Sexuality Education for Individuals Who Are Deaf-Blind and Significantly Developmentally Delayed - Standard PrintPDF Robbie Blaha and Kate (Moss) Hurst – Downloadable link
This book is for parents and professionals. This text offers information and instructional guidance for delivering sex education to deaf-blind students who also have cognitive disabilities. Issues of self-expression related to gender identity, modesty, and appropriate touch are discussed. Specific instruction is included for menstruation, masturbation, hygiene, health, and sexual abuse.
Two other great resources by Terri Couwenhoven are: (both of these books are available through Amazon)
The Boys' Guide to Growing Up gives boys with intellectual disabilities the facts they need to navigate puberty.
Written at a third-grade reading level for boys aged 9-16 with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, fragile X, or other special needs, this book is the companion to The Girls' Guide to Growing Up (2011), also by Terri Cowenhoven. The author, a certified sexuality educator, draws on more than 20 years experience conducting workshops on puberty and sexuality issues with boys, girls, families, and professionals. "This appealing and easy-to-follow guide for girls with intellectual disabilities is an introduction to the physical and emotional changes they'll encounter during puberty."--Amazon.com. The Girls' Guide to Growing Up
The book's succinct text, realistic illustrations, and learning activities enable boys to read the book themselves or follow along with the aid of an adult. It’s reassuring, matter-of-fact tone shows boys what changes--inside and out--to expect during puberty, and how to manage them:
-Growth spurts and bigger muscles
-Voice cracking and deepening
-Blemishes and oily skin
-Body and facial hair
-Crushes, flirting, and sexual feelings
-Erections, wet dreams, and masturbation
The Boys' Guide to Growing Up gives practical advice on commonplace concerns such as shaving, what to do about zits, and how to smell nice. More complex and essential topics are covered too, such as how to know when flirting is reciprocated (or not!), how to hide or discourage an erection in public, what information is okay to share with others versus what should remain private, and how to stay safe. It's a must-have book for boys on the brink of puberty, teens who are in the midst of it, and the adults who care for them.