Teachers write sex book for teens with learning disabilities

by Ivano Abbadessa - 2015.10.02
Teachers write sex book for teens with learning disabilities
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Ten years ago, the mother of an autistic teenager asked for advice on how to explain menstruation to her daughter. That's how I began to think about how to teach sex education to adolescents with mental disabilities.”

This is what Professor Margareta Nymansson, a Swedish pioneer of this long-neglected subject, told the Swedish newspaper The Local. No one before her had really looked seriously at the problem of teaching teenagers with special needs about the typical hormonal mood-swings and physical changes that happen during puberty, along with menstruation, masturbation or having sex for the first time.

It's a sensitive issue that, with collaboration from two talented colleagues, Nymansson has tried to address in three sections of a very special encyclopedia on sex and love, aimed at young readers with mental disabilities. It was planned and written in the belief that: “Children with special needs often don't understand nuances and double meanings, which is why it's essential to explain these concepts in a simple and direct way.”

The first section of the book explains that their love for their parents or a pet is the same emotion, but is different to what one might feel for a schoolfriend, where there is a physical attraction.

The second deals with the subject of masturbation, both male and female, explaining “where and when it is allowed and where it is not”.

The third explains why people have the right to say no to unwanted physical contact: “It's important to make adolescents with disabilities understand that no one is allowed to impose physical contact on them against their will. Unfortunately, a high number of adolescents with disabilities, particularly girls, are victims of sexual abuse.”

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