11 Oct 2021 | 3 min Read
Dr Jaini Kothari Vora
Author | 1 Articles
Nothing makes a child and parent uncomfortable more than the talk of puberty and sexuality. And when it comes to special needs children, the knowledge transfer becomes more challenging and sensitive.
The biggest challenge that comes in front of the parents of any special child is the inability to make their children understand their bodies. However, with continuous support from the parents, special children can understand the know-how of puberty.
Tips For Talking About Puberty With a Special Needs Child
Here are some tips you can take as a parent to start the conversation about puberty with your special needs child.
Start Conversation Early
Starting the conversation with children about puberty can be overwhelming. But you need to make sure that you are discussing the topic sooner than later. Do not wait until your child starts experiencing ‘those’ hormonal and body changes. Puberty is a sensitive period for growing children, and it becomes pretty much more challenging for special children. Therefore, start these sorts of conversations early and let your child feel comfortable. Moreover, ensure to give them plenty of opportunities to discuss their day with you. The more open communication, the better understanding will be the result.
Break It Down
Do not let the conversation be made in just a single day. Break down the topic to make it easier for your child to understand. Make them comfortable during the discussion; moreover, allow them to ask questions as well. You may have to repeat specific parts of the conversation daily, but do not be impatient. Support them and be patient with their queries.
Use Appropriate Terms
Do not be shy to use proper scientific terminology in front of your children. Use them regularly and ask them to use these words too without any hesitation and shame. Using appropriate terms will help your child with special needs to understand clearly, and confusion will be less. Do not let your discomfort mix with the subject; be honest and open in your communication to maintain transparency.
Defend Your Child Against Abuse
Children with special needs are often viewed as easy targets from perpetrators. Factually speaking, Sexual abuse is one of the most significant trauma that children with special needs face once in their lifetime. Therefore, they need to understand the difference between a good touch and a bad touch right from the beginning. Let them be free to speak up about what they feel good about, what they do not.
Puberty must be a challenging phase for both boys and girls with special needs. However, with clear and open communication along with parental support, nothing is complicated.
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