ord Teaching about Privacy
Teaching about Privacy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sorah Stein   
Tuesday, 16 March 2010 02:18

One thing that is crucial for our children to learn is the concept of privacy.  This is important for many reasons.  Learning about privacy at a young age will decrease the child’s vulnerability.  Knowing that there are certain things that can take place in front of others, putting on shoes, for example, and things that cannot, putting on underwear, for example, will help arm your child with information that can prevent sexual abuse.

Teaching your child about privacy can also lead to increased independence.  For example, when teaching your child to toilet independently, he or she should also learn to close the door when doing so.  If your child will always require assistance for toileting, you should still ensure that the door is closed and there is some amount of privacy afforded.   If your son or daughter is already a young adult and does not independently close the door to the bathroom, this is a good goal on which to focus.   Many children and young adults learn to enjoy privacy and are more motivated to gain independence in a number of skills that will allow them greater privacy.

What if your child is something of an exhibitionist, or is oblivious to his or her need for privacy?  You can start by communicating with him or her about the things you do in privacy and why.  Initiate the conversation in a private area, such as her or her room, with the door closed.   You should let your child know that you are going to discuss something private – and that means no one else can hear about it.  Next, be sure to emphasize to your child who can talk about private things with him or her.   Ideally, this should be limited to parents and physician –with your child’s permission.  If your child is a young adult, this may also include a trusted staff person or support team member.  Discuss that his or her body is private, and that even if he or she needs help with dressing or toileting, no one should touch private parts of his or her body without permission, and indicate that even his or her doctor should ask permission before touching.  Please do not limit private body parts to those covered by underwear, however.   To a learner with very concrete understanding of things, that can mean that every other body part is public! 

Talk to your child about why privacy is important.  Let him or her know that as we get older and our bodies change we need to be careful to keep our bodies to ourselves.  Some people are embarrassed when they see grown up bodies without clothes.  Other people might not be so kind and may try to hurt him or her.

If your child communicates or has an easier time understanding and learning abstract concepts using pictures, by all means, use some!  Boardmaker is an excellent resource, but so are the magazines you were about to recycle.   You can create a game using a picture of an open door and another of a closed door and have your child match activities to the open or closed door.   You can play a similar game with people he or she can or cannot touch, and those who can or cannot touch him or her. 

No matter what your child’s learning and communication style are, you should be prepared to repeat, repeat, and repeat.  Some of our children require much repetition to learn concepts, while others hear it once and don’t need to hear it again.  Obviously, you know your child and how to help him or her learn best. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 March 2010 02:48

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