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Educating youth with disabilities on 'the birds and the bees'

By Kristin Stern, Youth Leadership Coordinator

Parents of youth with disabilities oftentimes navigate a complex process of interactions with their children. Parents want to guide, protect and nurture their kids throughout the course of their development. Parents today not only face the traditional challenges of parenthood, but they also face how to best deal with the messages about sex that kids are exposed to at younger and younger ages.

Our kids are bombarded with messages about sex in songs, videos, movies, television, magazines and from their peers. Societal norms about sex are constantly changing, making it confusing for some to know what is acceptable and what is not. Having a disability may further complicate how kids receive and understand information about sex.

How can parents become more involved in the information their children receive? Communication! Most parents are a little uncomfortable talking to their kids about "the birds and the bees" but remember: YOU are your child’s first and most important teacher of life lessons.

Independence First offers a free workshop called Parents Matter to help parents of youth with disabilities feel more comfortable becoming their child's sexuality educator. Participants will take part in interactive discussions with trained staff and other parents as they learn tools and tips to make sure their child receives the information they need to stay safe and healthy.

Workshops can be facilitated as a one-time presentation or as a series of five sessions. For more information or to schedule a workshop please contact me at 414-226-8332 V/Relay.