Anatomical Puzzles for Children

Both Hape and Melissa & Doug have made anatomically correct body puzzles.

Hape sells boy and girl puzzles separately for around $20.00 each.  The children are pre-pubescent and European American.  The video below shows a child completing the puzzle. The toys are distributed by Hape but are actually made by a company called Beleduc out of Holland. Beleduc also has a great pregnant mother puzzle that is a little difficult to find.

Melissa & Doug make a magnetic human body play set that includes children of both genders for about 13.00.  The children are early adolescents and European American.

Guest Room

Guest Room is a short film Written & Directed by Joshua Tate and starring Lauren Potter (“Glee”) and Michael Iovine (lovelandfilm.com).  It won the Audience Award (Competition Short) at SXSW 2015.

I think you are going to love this movie.  It’s beautiful, emotional, and honest.  I could easily see this being used in a human sexuality classroom to help discuss parenting, consent, and support from families.  It follows the story of a young couple who are faced in a situation many young couples find themselves in, an unexpected pregnancy.  Like many young couples, the response of their families  is shock and disappointment and this makes it difficult to determine their own feelings, hopes, and wants.

 

There was one statistic that was mentioned in the film that I had not heard before.  It said that a women with Down Syndrome has a 50% chance of having a child with Down Syndrome.  I did a little digging to see if I could find out more and received some help from The Tech Geneticist a  project from the University of Stanford which seeks to increase the public understanding of genetics.  About half of the eggs of a women with Down Syndrome will have an extra 21st chromosome (similar to what is described in this post http://genetics.thetech.org/ask/ask296).  Her actual chance of having a child with Down Syndrome is less than 50% because fetuses with extra 21st chromosomes are at increased risk of complications.  According to the National Down Syndrome Society only about 50% of women with Down Syndrome are fertile (ovulate).

It’s trickier when it comes to thinking about the father.  Much less is known about the heritability (chance of passing a genetic trait on) of Down Syndrome for men with Down Syndrome, but it may be that their sperm that carry two 21st chromosomes would be less viable than their sperm that only have one.  Both the Tech Geneticist and the National Down Syndrome Society suggested men with Down Syndrome seem to have much lower fertility rates than their same age peers with two 21st chromosomes.

 

Autism in Love

The 1 hour and 13 minute movie, Autism in Love, is about falling in love, wanting to fall in love, the struggle of understanding love, and heartbreak. More than that, this movie is about what it means to be autistic, how love shapes identity, and the support of family. There are multiple viewing options but it is currently airing for free on Independent Lens.  It follows the stories of four individuals on the autism spectrum as they navigate issues of love and relationships.

Here is a guide for using the film as a teaching tool: Autism in Love Viewing Guide

This movie is more geared toward adults as the youngest person featured in the film is in his early 20s and much of the film centers on marriage. If you were working with older teens, you may want to focus on Lenny.

Puberty and Adolescence Resource: A Guide for Parents

puberty_coverThis tool kit from ATN/AIR-P provides information on body changes; self-care and hygiene; public vs. private rules; staying safe: strangers, secrets and touch; elopement; safety planning for increased aggression; and Internet safety.

Some of my favorite features:

  • Link to underwear designed to keep menstrual pads in place (I had no idea this existed!)
  • They have parent stories throughout.
  • They have suggestions for how occupational therapy can provide support.

The Healthy Bodies Toolkit

Healthy bodiesThis publication was developed and written by Vanderbilt Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND).  There is a boy version and girl version.  Each version has a booklet for parents or teachers and supplemental materials which include storyboards and visuals that you can use in implementing the methods outlined in the toolkit.  It is free and there is a Spanish version!

Here is the website: http://kc.vanderbilt.edu/healthybodies/index.html

High School Human Sexuality 101 Week 2- Anatomy

FemaleReproductiveSystem_Lateral_250w

Anatomy and Reproduction were the topics for week 2. We started off the session with a game called “Parts and Post-it Notes” to talk about body parts with the participants. To play this game we had a giant piece of paper with the outline of a body on it. We gave the participants post-it notes to write down the body parts that they knew and asked them to place them on the outline of the body.

After this activity, the participants were told that for the rest of the class they would be focusing on body parts related to reproduction (another way to refer to sex organs or private parts). The participants were then directed to the next activity where they practiced saying terminology related to reproduction out loud and recording their responses to how saying the words made them feel.

When the participants finished the terminology activity, we spit them into two groups to start the fruit anatomical model of reproductive organs using fruit. The participants were shown a picture of the parts of the body and were giving tooth picks and flash cards to label the fruit parts and their functions. This activity was great for the participants to learn the vocabulary in a little abstract and safe way! For a more concrete example of reproduction, we used the “Miracle of Life” video to explain the process.

We ended this session by having the participants briefly summarize that they learned during the session.

For more information on anatomy view our Human Sexuality 101 Week 2- AnatomyEXPLAINING ANATOMYYOUTUBE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES: HEALTHCHANNEL, SEXPLANATIONS, AND CSPHADULT HUMAN SEXUALITY WEEK 2- ANTATOMY & REPRODUCTION posts

This Week’s Materials

Week 2 Lesson Plan

Week 2 Slides

Parent Letter

Worksheets

Anatomy labels

Sexual Violence: How to Protect and Prevent

Here are some resources about sexual violence, including crisis hotline information:

Sexual Violence and Disabilities Resources:

Sexual Abuse of Children with Autism: Factors that Increase Risk and Interfere with Recognition of Abuse: A free-to-access report on sexual abuse and children with ASD.

People with Intellectual Disabilities and Sexual Violence: A brief report on signs of sexual violence involving people with intellectual disability.

Guardianship, Sexual Assault, and Rape Kit Rights: A previous post of ours which highlights policy changes involving issues with guardians, sexual assault, and the right to release a rape kit.

Promoting Justice: An Essential Resource Guide for Responding to Abuse Against Children with Disabilities: This guide discusses abuse and neglect toward children with many types of disabilities, including neurodevelopmental, physical, sensory, brain injury, and mental health disabilities.

General Sexual Violence Resources:

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network: General resource about rape, abuse, and incest. There’s a lot of information, but not all of it is specific to people with intellectual disability.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Parenting resources on sexual abuse in English and Spanish.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: A great resource on domestic violence and abuse issues, along with contact information for hotlines and other related services.

You Are in Charge of Your Body: A video series aimed at young children to identify and understand sexual abuse and how to communicate these incidents to adults. It also teaches children to take charge of their bodies.

Sexual violence comes in many forms and it can be difficult to distinguish them. Here’s a basic guide on how to classify types of sexual violence.

Sexual Harassment: Giving someone unwanted sexual attention. This can include touching someone’s body without their explicit permission, asking for sexual acts, and catcalling, which is an unwelcome, sexually charged comment.

Rape: Forced vaginal, anal, or oral sexual intercourse. Rape lacks clear consent. Rape can occur by strangers or people you know, even a partner. Sometimes, power is used to coerce a person into sexual intercourse. In these case, usually a person declines sexual advances and is then guilted into intercourse.

Statutory Rape: Sexual intercourse with a person who is a minor or not at the age of consent (which varies by state and country). Get more information on statutory rape and the age of consent here.

Incest: Sexual acts between people who are related. This can be siblings, parent-child, uncles/aunts and nephews/nieces.

Domestic Violence: Violence between two people in an intimate partnership. This includes threats and acts of violence (i.e. battery).

Stalking: When a person repeatedly follows, watches, or harasses someone for a long period of time. This can include excessive phone calls (i.e. five phone calls in one hours) and giving gifts.

So, how can we prevent sexual violence and protect ourselves and others against it?

Understanding sexual violence: By understanding the types of sexual violence, it can be easier to identify and understand how it can affect yourself and others.

Speak out if something doesn’t feel right: If you are feeling that you have been part of a sexual act that did not make you feel good or that you did not want to do, telling someone you trust or contacting a sexual assault survivor’s line can help clarify the situation.

Teach consent as a mandatory step in all sexual situations: Consent is a fancy way of saying “yes, I would like this to happen.” By giving consent, you are allowing another person to touch your body. You can tell them what you are and are not comfortable with (i.e. “I do not want to do vaginal sex, only oral”). Understanding that consent can change at anytime during the interaction is also important and can be overlooked. It’s okay to say “stop, I don’t want to have sex anymore.”

Here’s a quick video about consent, including examples of what consent looks like.

Intimacy Activity

This activity can be used to teach about different intimate activities, either alone or with a partner. All of the actions come in a word list form and in a visual form. The activity includes a continuum worksheet in which  activities can be classified as “less intimate” and “more intimate”.

One way to use this activity is to teach what sex is.  We often assume that people understand what sex is, but people have difficulty with understanding sex even when it is explained.  First list the acts of intimacy in a continuum and then discuss “where sex starts” or “which activities are sex and which ones are not.  This is more difficult than it seems.  For example, it is not uncommon for students to start with thinking that “kissing above the waist over the clothes” is sex. When we teach this activity, we encourage students to express their own understanding of what is more or less intimate but because the concept of a spectrum is difficult, we guide them at the anchors of what is the most inmate and least intimate.  By seeing sex in the context of different sexual activities it helps fill in some of the gaps.

Instead of a continuum you could use categories- the categories we use help reinforce the idea of a continuum as well.  There is also a list of different levels of intimacy that can be used to classify these activities. Using the activity in this way is consistent with the concept of postponement- postponing intercourse until a relationship is more serious of formalized.

Sometimes when people see all the different acts of intimacy  they are surprised but it is important to be inclusive of all different forms of sexual expression.  We also don’t use all the different acts with every group, but we’ve given you a pretty comprehensive list that you can tailor to meet your student or child’s needs.

Download the intimacy activity intimacy activity pictures or with just words.

Levels of Intimacy

Levels of Intimacy

Signs of Flirting

Flirting can be a difficult subject to talk about because it always varies. This aid has some typical behaviors that are flirting, maybe flirting, and not flirting. It’s important to note that this is not a exhaustive list and that some of these behaviors are not guarantees of flirty or not flirty behavior, but it is a great place to start the conversation.  This activity can be used to steer a conversation about how and when flirting occurs, and the fluidity of these behaviors.

Download the signs of Flirting activity here.

YouTube Educational Resources: Healthchannel, Sexplanations, and CSPH

YouTube has a lost of great sexuality education resources but it can be hard to find among all of the “not safe for work” content.  Here’s a few channels and videos that might be useful.  One of the most difficult tasks sex educators report is explaining intimate acts.  This can be uncomfortable and difficult so I’ve tried to focus on these difficult to teach topics.  The videos may not be the best fit for the person/people you’re working with, but they can give you an idea where to start.  The channels also have great resources for expanding your own education on sexuality topics.


 

The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health (CSPH) has a lot of great videos.  Is one of my favorite cites.  In addition to having direct information they also have videos for parents (“Use Your Words” videos).

Healthchannel is a YouTube channel with short videos on a variety of health care issues including sexual health resources including a few I’ve listed below.  The videos aren’t prefect.  They don’t feature animations with people with disabilities and focus on heterosexual couples, but they give very precise, clear information.

Sexplanations is another YouTube channel.  They have mini episodes on human sexuality topics from shared sexual behavior to STDs to anatomy.  Again the videos aren’t perfect.  They move a little too quickly than I would like, but I’ve selected a few I think could be helpful.  They could also be good to expand your own understanding of various topics.

 

Privacy Activity

Teaching and learning about privacy can be difficult and confusing. This activity uses a continuum of privacy  (using private, semi-private, and public) to help differentiate privacy levels. There are two topics: body parts and places. You can use this activity to explain different privacy levels and explain contextual differences (i.e. a stomach can be a public body part at the beach, but a private body part at school) . Download the privacy activity places and body parts here!

privacy pocketsprivacy continuum

Social Narrative: Having a Boyfriend in Middle School

Boyfriend in Middle SchoolParents are often afraid of the day that their daughter comes home and says she has a boyfriend!  This social story having a boyfriend addresses this event to help a young girl understand what your expectations might be when it comes to having a boyfriend. We went with the strategy of instructing on how she can interact with her “boyfriend” in many age appropriate ways, for example, she can look at him, giggle, and then look away.

New Study: Factors that Impact Support Workers’ Perceptions of Adults with Developmental Disabilities

sedi_26_4_oc.qxpA new study by Amanda Saxe and Tara Flanagan looked at the attitudes of support workers in terms sexuality and disability.  This study examined 25 university students who had experience as support workers in Canada (either as ABA therapists, Aids, teachers, or consultants).  They found that students with no religious affiliation and who were more advanced students had more liberal views.  When they said “more liberal” they meant more accepting of sex ed, masturbation, sexual feelings, relationships, intercourse, parenthood, and marriage and less accepting of serialization.  Support workers were not biased against homosexuality per se, but they did indicate that anal sex is the least acceptable form of sexual expression for adults with developmental disabilities.  In this study, training as a sexuality educator was not related to attitudes about sexuality and disability.

This article is not available for free on the web, but you may be able to view a summary.

Thinking About Starting Your Own Online Program?

online family life educationI recently did a presentation at the Illinois Council on Family Relations (ILCFR).  I thought I’d share that presentation with you.  I hope you find it useful.  It’s about the framework I’ve used to design this website.  The framework is based on the one that was published in the Journal of Family Relations by Hughes, Bowers, Thomann Mitchell, Curtiss (me), and Ebata.   Feel free to contact me if you would like more information on developing an online program.  The link takes you to the presentation in an interactive format or you can view it as a pdf: Interactive or PDF.

Adult Human Sexuality Week 9- Gender Roles

gender rolesIt was really fun teaching about gender roles.  Gender roles and gender identity were difficult concepts.  Most of the people in the group talked about wearing a dress as if it made you a women.  So we talked a lot about biology and society and how those both influence people and gender.  We also talked a lot about gender stereotypes and how they can put limits on how people act.

Our big activity this week was making gender stereotype collages.  We found images from magazines that we thought reflected gender stereotypes and made them into a collage.  We talked about which stereotypes were easy to break and which ones were hard to escape.  The men found a lot of images they thought were more realistic depictions of women.  In the future, I think it could be fun to structure that into the activity.

Throughout the entire session, one of the things that was really difficult is that there are gender roles, gender stereotypes, and gender identities.  They influence each other but they’re different.  It’s not so critical that folks in the class understand the precise definitions, but it might have been helpful to walk through that a little bit more concretely.  On the other hand it led to really nice discussion questions, for example one participant asked “What makes a person their gender?”

We used a couple videos in class.  The first video focused on gender identity.  It shows person in the process of gender reassignment.  Over the three year period you can see how their external appearance reflects gender identity more and more.

The second video is more about gender stereotypes and gender roles.  One of our participants brought up how boys don’t like to play with “girl toys” and I remembered having seen this and pulled it up (it’s nice when it works out like that!).

If you want to take a stab at teaching this on your own, hear are the materials we used.

Additional Materials