Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Human Sexuality Resources

Human sexuality is an important topic that raises lots of questions with those individuals approaching adolescence.

How do people have babies? How do I go about making friends and dating? What is menstruation? What are the differences between the male and female bodies? What is sexual intercourse?

Unfortunately it is also a topic which many people feel uncomfortable addressing. And while sighted individuals may learn much about the physical characteristics of the opposite sex, appropriate and inappropriate sexual expression, and the act of having sex, by watching TV, movies, or the body language of their older peers, the blind and visually impaired need to learn these things in a "non-visual" way.

In this record we will share some information and resources that may be very useful to you when trying to find ways to address this important topic as a parent, as a teacher, or as a friend of a person who is visually impaired.

At the California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped Conference 2001, Lynette Ship and Kristina Bao, Psychologists from the California School for the Blind conducted a presentation on Human Sexuality. With Lynette's permission, we have transcribed valuable information that was handed out during their workshop.

As an introduction to the topic, we have transcribed the California School for the Blind Family-life Philosophy:

"Human Sexuality is an integral part of our personality. One's thoughts, feelings, values, ideas, and decisions are entwined and relate directly to how we feel about ourselves and others. This sexuality relates to how we feel about ourselves as males and females, and how, in these roles, we relate to others.

The rights of persons who are visually impaired include the same opportunities, responsibilities, and concerns as those shared whit the general population. This includes the right of sexual expression consistent with normative community standards. Students with visual impairments are often less able to recognize, understand, and express their sexual feelings appropriately. They are, therefore, in need of special guidance and education to help assist them in comprehending their own emotional and sexual development."

To achieve the goal of helping individuals comprehend their emotional and sexual development, Lynette and Christina suggested a Family-life class as part of the education and guidance that the school can provide to the visually impaired person. The following is a list of important topics that educators may address as part of this class:

Family life topics

Emotions: What are they, and how do we identify them
Friendship: What is a friend?
Gender identification and roles
Parts of the body: public vs. private (verbally and tactually)
General and Personal Hygiene
Social behavior and relationships: Difference between
public and private Places: differences between appropriate and
inappropriate places (verbal and non-verbal communication)
Human reproduction: No-coital sexual behavior and intercourse
Birth Control
Sexual Health: Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's) and AIDS prevention
Homosexuality and bisexuality
Legal and illegal sexual behavior
Inappropriate touching, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and rape
Adult living life styles
The single life, couples and marriage, group living facilities
Parenting, families-child care
Life cycle: wellness and illness
Aging: death and dying

During the workshop, it was mentioned that Family-life education does not stop at school. The way parents handle issues at home is as important as how they are handled at school. In this respect, the presenters shared some important points to remember when addressing Family-life education at Home:

1. Speak frankly
2. Use correct terminology
3. View parents as partners
4. Discuss school lessons
5. Assist with homework
6. Recognize social taboos and
7. Maintain open communication

To assist parents as well as educators in answering questions and addressing topics, Lynette and Christina provided participants with a comprehensive list of resources. The list includes curricula, books, videos and information on where to find Life-size anatomical teaching figures of the human body.


Bignell, Steven. Family Life Education: Curriculum Guide. Network Publications, Santa Cruz, 1980.

Calderone, Mary & Johnson, Eric. The Family Book About Sexuality. 10 E. 53 Id St., NY, NY 10022.

Calderone & Ramey. Talking with Your Child About Sex. Random House, NY, 1982

Gordon, Sol. The Sexual Adolescent. Duxbury Press, N. Scituate, MA

Johnson & Kempton. Sex Education & Counseling of Special Groups. 2600 1st.St., Springfield, IL 62717

De Spelder & Strickland. Family Life Education Resources for the Elementary Classroom. 1982

Edwards & Wapnick. Being Me (for the Developmentally Disabled) the Hearing & Visually impaired), Socialization and Sexuality Guides. Ednick Communications, Box 3612, Portland, OR 97208

Harris, Roble H. it's perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex & Sexual Health. Candlewick Press, MS, 1996

McKee, Lyn., Blacklidge, Virginia. An Easy Guide for Caring Parents: Sexuality and Socialization. Planned Parenthood: Walnut Creek, CA. 1986

Monat, Rosalyn Kramer. Sexuality and the Mentally Retarded: A Clinical and Therapeutic Guidebook. College Hill Press, San Diego. 1982

Siegel, Peggy C. Changes in You (series and companion guide for teenage boys and girls). Family Life Education Associates, Virginia, 1992.

Human Sexuality: Values & Choices, The Search Institute, 122 W. Franklin, Suite 525, Minneapolis, MN 55404 (not for special learner, but a good junior high program paired with video tapes -adaptable with many special groups.)

McKee & Blacklidge. An Easy Guide for Caring Parents: Sexuality & Socialization. Planned Parenthood, 1291 Oakland Blvd., Walnut Creek 94596


Rodriguez & Birch, James Stanfield. Socialization & Sex Education, The Life Horizons Curriculum Module, Co., Inc 1991 (companion guide to below)

Kempton, Winfred. Life Horizons I & III 12 parts, with 1,000 slides to counsel and teach socialization and sexuality to students who are developmentally and learning disabled. James Stanfield Publishing Co., P.O. Box 41058, Santa Barbara, CA 93140. (800) 421-6534 for catalog. Fax (805) 897-1187

A. Crage. Living Your Life: A sex education & personal development, program for students with severe learning difficulties. LIDA, 1991, order from: Living & Learning, 2195 Turnage St., Salem, OR 97304, (800) 521-3218,

Being with People, a social skills training program featuring video modeling by the New Eticats, James Stanfield Publishing Co., (a funny, very effective teaching aide for friendship & dating skills). (800) 421-6534


The following instructional materials mav be useful in developing instructional activities and/or augmenting and adapting existing sex education curricula:

Life-size anatomically correct teaching figures. Teach-a-Bodies instructional Dolls P.O. BOX 101444 Ft. Worth, TX 76185 817-923-2380

17" anatomically-correct teaching figures. Victoria House Dolls. P.O. Box 663 Forestville, CA 95436 707-887-1516

Rubber models of female and male genitalia. Jackson Pelvic Models. 33 Richdale Ave. Cambridge, MA 02140 617-864-9063

Models of fetus at various stages of development. Nasco West. 1524 Princeton Modesto, CA 95352 209-543-1234

Life-sized female and male instructional charts. Planned Parenthood of Minnesota. Resource Center 12900 Lagoon Ave., Dept. 300 Minneapolis, MN 55408 612-823-6568

Basic Tactile Anatomy Atlas

Basic Tactile Anatomy Atlas

This two-volume set of thermoformed tactile graphics gives a comprehensive overview of the body. Includes the skeletal, muscular, nervous, and endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems. Each tactual diagram has braille and print labels accompanied by a brief braille description. A print version of each brailled text is contained in the included Instructional Text. Recommended Ages: 12 and up.

Basic Tactile Anatomy Atlas:
Catalog Number: 1-08845-00

Replacement Instructional Text (regular print):
Catalog Number: 7-08845-00
Click this link to purchase the the Basic Tactile Anatomy Atlas.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
Web site:
APH Shopping Home:

Teen Sexual Health

Here's another resource. From the site:

"Answers to your questions about teen sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases."

Click this link to learn more about Teen sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases from

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