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Study aims to improve sex education for deaf pupils
Date:6/11/2008

British parents are to be quizzed about their children's sex education in a unique study that hopes to improve the way the subject is taught to deaf pupils.

The University of Manchester's Audiology and Deafness team is recruiting parents of both deaf and hearing primary school children for its research on children's sex and relationship education (SRE).

The researchers hope their findings will make SRE more accessible for deaf children and, at a later stage, they plan to devise a fun, non-threatening computer game to explore how much deaf as well as hearing children know about issues related to growing up.

Study leader Sarah Suter, in the School of Psychological Sciences, said: "The way SRE is taught in the UK varies from school to school as only selected areas, like HIV and reproduction, are mandatory; other areas of the SRE curriculum, such as feelings and relationships, are guidance only.

"Teaching SRE to deaf children brings additional challenges, as deaf pupils don't 'overhear' and may miss comments and discussions that inform hearing children.

"In addition some deaf children have a very literal understanding of words and may have difficulty understanding the many terms in SRE that require subtle interpretation. They may understand the textbook terms but not the euphemisms that also arise in such discussions.

"It is important we address these issues as children who do not get a good SRE are more vulnerable to abuse because they may not recognise inappropriate behaviour or that their boundaries are being crossed."

Senior lecturer in education of the deaf, Wendy McCracken, added: "There is some evidence to suggest that deaf children are much more likely to face abuse. They may not have the language to be able to tell someone that it is happening and also may lack awareness that the behaviour is inappropriate.

"It is a human right to understand what is happening to your body and what you
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Contact: Aeron Haworth
aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk
44-161-275-8383
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

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