Thursday, September 17, 2009

Teaching Privacy

My daughter will be turning 8 in October and I know that in reality it will not be too many more years before she will head into the wonderful world of puberty. As horrifying as those years are for parents, there is an entirely different element of fear and horror when children with special needs are involved. While I still have time to handle the more delicate issues, I do realize there are some steps we must begin now, specifically in regards to privacy.

A toddler running around in diapers is just fine, but at what age does it stop being acceptable for a child to be running around in a T-shirt and panties? Yes, my daughter hates wearing pants and/or shorts, almost as much as she hates shoes. When my daughter enters the house the first thing to go are her shoes, the second thing is her pants! We have several play dresses for just this purpose, but they are not always practical. Still, it is a bit embarrassing when you come home with company and she begins undressing in the living room. So we have decided it is time to start explaining that dressing is something you must do in "private."

I borrowed the book Teaching Children with Down Syndrome about their Bodies, Boundries and Sexuality from our Down Syndrome support group. However, after I read the introduction and found out that it was written by a person who worked for Planned Parenthood I was immediately turned off. In glimpsing through it I found some basic common sense advice and maybe some helpful tips for teaching girls about menstruation but I really do not plan on using the book or their approach with my daughter.

So instead we just started implementing some basic steps such as teaching her the proper names for her private areas and stressing that they need to be covered up in front of people. Instead of getting dressed where ever she wants after her bath, we now have her go to her room and shut the door. We are enforcing knocking on the door when she enters a room and are doing the same, even when we are opening the door to check on her. We always knock first.

Since we just started these new concepts over the summer I was very pleased to find out that the Health curriculum I got this year actually covers the topic of privacy. I bought the 2nd grade Health book Proper Manners and Health Habits by Rod and Staff Publishers.

This is a Christian curriculum with a Mennonite or Amish sort of spin to it, so there are some areas that work well and others that do not. I just modify it to meet our needs and so far we are really liking it. I was glad we had started implementing things like knocking and introducing the concept of "privacy" before we started this. By the time we got to the lesson on privacy it was really just enhancing what we are already doing. They have a couple of cute poems that we found fun and helpful for the topic.

When bathroom doors are closed up tight,
I must not enter there;
Someone, I know, might be inside,
So I must knock with care.

If a bedroom door is shut,
And I must go to rest,
I'll stop and think of who's in there,
And ask if they are dressed.

We added some hand motions to it and Gess really seemed to enjoy it. The curriculum also covers respecting the property of others, table manners, keeping yourself clean, care of teeth and many other important health issues for kids. They have stories with pictures to color and questions to answer. We always find a way of adapting those. For instance, it will have lots of blanks and you have to find the word to fill in it from the very lengthy story. Instead, I will put a few possible responses on the chalkboard and have Gess choose the correct answer. This allows her to stand up by the chalk board rather than just sit in her desk. I will also write key words on the chalkboard as we read the story together to help emphasize them. Every time that word comes up I have her say it as I point to it. There are lots of ways you can take a worksheet and make it more interactive to help enforce the point.

So here is Gess doing her lesson on privacy in her Health workbook Proper Manners and Health Habits by Rod and Staff Publishers. Oh and I did I mention it only cost $6.05 for both the teacher manual and the workbook? You can not really go wrong at that price!


Julie said...

That looks like a really good option for you, and you can't beat the cost! You should know from the pics on my blog that my boys are in their underwear all the time in the house lol!

Beverly said...

oh my, this is my Noah too. He wants to be in shirt and undwear in the house. As soon as we get in, shoes and socks off and then shorts. Im ok with it for now since it is just us here alone. I bought that same ds book about teaching about the body, I have not read through the whole thing yet. I didnt know a pp person wrote it. Anyway, sounds like you are doing a great job. I am so jelous that Gess can dress her self, well Noah can but he wants me to do it for him.

SmartPumpkin'sMom said...

You are doing such a great job homeschooling your daughter! I love the little poem about closed doors.
*I saw you on blog catalog. ;)


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