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Sex education - Fundamental facts of life

What the lesson is about

Teaching young people about sex and relations always has its challenges, and particularly when they have learning difficulties. But the Children's Society's sexual health project is trying to change this.

Taking it further

Research into sex education for disabled young people has shown it to be patchy. This can be due to the mistaken belief that they do not have the ability to enter into relationships, or there can be a concern that talking about it will encourage inappropriate sexual contact. In fact, effective sex and relationships education helps to protect young people - for example, by increasing their ability to recognise sexual abuse.

Many teachers recognise the importance for disabled children, but admit they lack the confidence to deliver it effectively. Basic life skills are fundamental. Young people need to be able to make decisions, know how to give their consent and assert their needs.

Covering topics such as self-image, emotions and the body are vital for subjects like publicprivate space, relationships, sexuality, health, puberty, pregnancy and STIs. Parents and staff can agree a programme together that meets young people's needs.

What else?

The Children's Society website, The Disability Toolkit, provides resources, advice and practical examples.

Where to find it

The Children's Society has developed a key stage 2 (P4-7) learning resource covering citizenship and PSE topics.

Teachers TV has a guide and resource pack on sex and relationships education with SENASN students.

A range of resources on sex and relationships education is provided by axis-education and boabobobaggins.

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