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Tackling issues related to sexuality and personal safety education for children with special needs

In Education, Health, Kerala
July 10, 2023

The need to equip children with the necessary knowledge and tools to navigate through sexual development in a safe and confident manner as they transition towards adulthood was the topic of discussion at one of the sessions organised as part of the International Conference on Comprehensive Education for Children with Special Needs, at the Different Art Centre, in Thiruvananthapuram.

Bangalore-based project coordinator Juhi Mathew, associated with the Suvidha project at Enfold Proactive Health, delivered an exceptional presentation on sexuality and personal safety education for children with disabilities and autism spectrum disorder. She stressed the importance of inclusive education so as to empower the kids with special needs as they set foot into adulthood.

Juhi Mathew showcased the Suvidha kit, a comprehensive resource designed to provide children with disabilities and autism spectrum disorder with a comprehensive understanding of sexuality in a safe and supportive manner. The kit includes age-appropriate materials, visual aids, books and interactive activities covering every aspect of sexual education, ensuring children have access to accurate and accessible information.

Juhi’s presentation emphasized the significance of addressing the unique needs of children with disabilities and autism spectrum disorder when it comes to sexual education. She highlighted the importance of fostering an inclusive environment where all children can learn and grow, free from stigma and misinformation.

The Suvidha kit presented by her aims to promote awareness and understanding among children about their own bodies, relationships, boundaries, consent and personal safety. By providing detailed information about sexuality and its various aspects, the kit empowers children with those disabilities to make informed decisions, develop healthy relationships and protect themselves from potential risks. The presentation received high praise from educators, parents and professionals in the field for its sensitivity and relevance. Attendees acknowledged her dedication and commitment to ensuring that no child is left behind in receiving essential information about their bodies and personal safety.

Juhi Mathew’s presentation serves as a significant step forward in promoting inclusive education and fostering a safe and supportive environment for children with disabilities. Her work with the Suvidha project and the introduction of the comprehensive Suvidha kit exemplify the importance of providing children with the tools they need to understand and navigate their sexuality with confidence. PK Raheemudheen, Clinical Psychologist at Government Medical Centre in Thrissur, moderated the session.