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Sexuality Workshops for Parents of Children With Special Needs Increase in Demand

UNION, N.J., May 14, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Discussing sexual development, behaviors, personal space boundaries or hygiene and self-care during puberty with a child is difficult enough for any parent, but possibly even more perplexing for a parent of a child with developmental disabilities on the autism spectrum. A new sexuality workshop for parents of special needs children, created and presented by Michelle Brill, MPH, Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Health Sciences at Rutgers University Cooperative Extension was recently held for parents at Deron School in Union, NJ to assist them in handling these sensitive issues.

The workshop provides parents with tips on comfortably addressing sex education with children with special needs from early childhood to adolescence and adulthood. Topics covered included curriculum benchmarks, modifying behaviors, vulnerability, personal care, social skills and empowering children to stay safe.

"When you're dealing with a child where repetition and routine mean everything, it's important you teach appropriate adult boundaries and specific behaviors early in life in order to avoid the difficulties of having to re-teach or substitute new behaviors later on," said Ms. Brill, "This can be as simple as setting rules about closing a bathroom door to not allowing the child to hug or touch people they meet."

Brill created the program seven years ago when she worked as a health teacher at another special needs school and she is seeing growing demand for these workshops. "Statistics have shown that children with developmental disabilities are more likely to be abused, especially females. Shockingly, over 50 percent of girls with developmental disabilities will be abused at one point of their life," Brill added.

"The workshop provides our parents with tips on how to keep their children safe, said Ken Alter, Director of Deron School, " Michelle did this in a comprehensive way that didn't intimidate them or make them feel embarrassed, in fact, quite the opposite, our parents came away with the realization they could empower their child to be safe."

Deron plans to host more workshops in the future. To learn more about the sexuality workshops, please contact Michelle Brill at brill@aesop.rutgers.edu or 609-989-6831. For information on Deron Schools please contact, Lori Alter at 908-206-0444 or lalter@deronschools.org.

CONTACT: Lori Alter 908-206-0444Source:Deron School