Education April 1, 2022
Book teaches students who are blind the importance of sexual knowledge
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is committed to spreading awareness about this sensitive and important topic. APH continues to provide resources to educate teachers, and those who instruct students, on the importance of knowing and understanding safe touch and sexual education. APH’s book, Health Education for Students with Visual Impairments: A Guidebook for Teachers, aims to educate instructors of students about sexual information.
Many students who are blind or visually impaired, are not afforded the same level of sex education as their sighted peers. One problem is that high quality sex education instruction includes the use of pictures in textbooks and videos. Obviously, print pictures are not accessible to students who are blind or visually impaired. The pictures must be rendered into forms that the students can comprehend.
APH is aware that the best way to empower people is to provide education and resources in environments where they are respected, feel safe, and can learn without fear. The Guidebook is not core curriculum and is not intended for use by students. However, APH encourages educators and parents to utilize this resource when it comes time to explain issues related to sexual education, including body awareness, and appropriate and inappropriate touch. The book follows the National Health Education and National Sexuality Education Standards. It also dispels damaging stereotypes regarding the sexuality of youths who are blind or visually impaired.
Here is a summary of some of the major points made in the guidebook:
- Three-dimensional models should be used to depict important concepts included in sex-education instruction.
- When teachers use three-dimensional models to pre-teach human reproductive health content, they should do so in a separate room away from other students and with a second adult present in the room when the pre-teaching takes place. The adults should be people the students know, trust, and are comfortable with.
- The pre-instruction should occur before the regular sex-education teacher holds class in order for the student who is visually impaired to understand the concepts that the regular sex-education teacher intends to present in class.
- Students and youth who are visually impaired should never be asked to examine the models in the presence of their sighted peers.
- In the case of students with low vision, they should be given the opportunity to view videos or other graphical information that will be presented in class ahead of time.
- Students and youth with visual impairments should never be asked to sit close to the screen or in any way made to look different in the presence of their sighted peers.
Providing students and youth with visual impairments a quality education that includes the tools and resources to fully understand the details of human reproductive health is the only way we can empower them to make informed decisions about their health, their safety, and their own reproductive decision when they are adults. Check out the this Guidebook specifically developed by APH as a supplement for teachers who provide instruction to students with visual impairments, ages 5 through 21 – Health Education for Students with Visual Impairment: A Guidebook for Teachers
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