Saturday, February 16, 2013

Teaching students with special needs

            A great way to teach sexuality to students with disabilities is through technology. This would be because it is much more interactive and helps keep their attention. Children with special learning needs often have a difficult time in the classroom absorbing the material (Wilson, Brice, Carter, Fleming, Hay, Hicks, & ... Weaver, 2011). In addition to their struggle, teachers find it difficult to adapt all lesson plans to meet their needs, and with the growing classroom sizes, it's becoming an increasingly overwhelming problem.
            Using technology permits these students to use various forms of technology to view and experience the world in ways that might normally be too dangerous for them or too expensive to access. One great source for being able to view a body and being able to play with it virtually would be because of the interactive attribute of the cite (, 2013). You are able to scroll over different words and the picture will change to show what is being discussed. This would be great for some middle school and high school students since it does not only go into depth on the reproductive anatomy, but other more complicated functions as well.  The student is able to click on individual parts of the body to get a closer look and then have a description of each one.
            The descriptions are not overly detailed, so it is not to overwhelm the student that is trying to learn. The one critique I would have about the site is the advertisements. It is a bit of a distraction. So if the teacher is able to figure out how to get rid of them, it would be a perfect classroom tool for the students that need more of a solid example instead of having to think of everything in abstract.
            It should be fairly simple to come up with a lesson plan for each system, particularly the reproductive system. Students could spend the first 10 minutes of class exploring and becoming familiar with the site and how it works, and then the teacher can start instruction. This could include a virtual "treasure hunt" where the students have to follow clues and answer questions based on what is on the cite, or the teacher could keep it much more instructional and concrete for the students, depending on the severity of their learning needs.
            Many students that have disabilities are already familiar with technology and it has helped improve their daily lives (Wilson, et al., 2011). Thus, implementing technology in the classroom should not be too complicated or scare the teacher. The job of the teacher will to become very familiar with it, just as much if not more so than the students,  and to double check that the website is running properly that day.

Wilson, C. H., Brice, C., Carter, E. I., Fleming, J. C., Hay, D. D., Hicks, J. D., & ... Weaver, J. (2011). Familiar Technology Promotes Academic Success for Students with Exceptional Learning Needs. Online Submission, (2013). HowToMedia, Inc. Retrieved from

Hyperlinks to supplementary materials: 


  1. Great info! The links are interesting too. So, what kind of learning disabilities and special learning needs are you talking about? I imagine that the people you are talking about only have mild disabilities.

  2. Thank you!
    That's an excellent question, and a common misconception. The ability range of mental and physical disabilities can vary greatly, but that's the beauty of technology. Using interactive animations, the students have easy access and thus they are able to work at their own pace, depending on their mental development. Students with mental and/or physical can use a form(s) of technology and are fairly proficient with it. Often times, using computers are the only way they can communicate to the world, so let's use it! :)

  3. It appears that the sources and methodology you posted can be used with more than just those who have mental disabilities. I like how you laid out and structured the exercises here.

  4. This is differentiated instruction at its best. Sexuality education can often be limited with lower cognitive functioning students due to the unfortunate assumption that impaired cognition comes with impaired development in all other areas. I can imagine using more technology with students with Autism Spectrum Disorders because they often have difficulty relating to people and can connect better with the technology. Thanks for reference; I'll be sharing this with some teachers who could really benefit from it.

  5. The Innerbody reference is great. I think this could be used across a multitude of levels, including high school, as you mentioned. I would love to see how children with learning disabilities, with Autism Spectrum Disorders, or other physical or mental disabilities would use this website. I definitely think this would be extremely beneficial to students who struggle with social situations. I also like how you mentioned that they can go at there own pace, and, most likely, have access to a computer outside of school.

  6. I just spent some time on the BBC link you gave. I love it!! I think to reach our youth (regardless of whether there is a special need or not) we need to use more graphics. This site is awesome for clearly showing a preteen what to expect over the next few years. The brain part might be over their understanding, but the visual of seeing the breasts grow, is really helpful.