Sex education for children with special needs

Why is it important to discuss sexuality with children who have special needs?

Unfortunately, society often neglects children with special needs when it comes to sex education. Not only that, but parents can also dismiss talking about sexuality with their intellectually disabled child in fears that this will lead to hyper-sexuality and inappropriate sexual behavior (Strnadov√° et al., 2022). Hence, they are often left to figure it out on their own.

It is important to note that if your child is intellectually disabled, it will be difficult to identify inappropriate behavior. As a result, children with special needs often fall victims for sexual assault. Discussing sexuality with your child ensures that they will take the correct decisions about sex. Also, it will enhance their autonomy, sexual well-being, and safety.

How do I talk to my child with special needs about sex?

First, you need to speak directly when talking to children with special needs. It is best that you do not use indirect language as this can confuse your child. For example, if your child is autistic, they will take everything that you say in a literal way, so it is best to use correct names for sexual acts. Also, try to name private body parts in their anatomical names, and refrain from using nicknames. This ensures that your child can report sexual assault using the correct terms.

Research now shows that reliance on verbal conversations about an abstract concept such as sex might not be the best for children with special needs. Visuals, like sex education videos, were proven to aid comprehension and understanding (Rowe & Wright, 2017).

What do I need to teach my child about sex?

Sex education is not a one-time session. You should talk to your child from an early age, and as they grow up. content taught should be appropriate for their age group, just like children without special needs.

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