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Relationships and sex education (RSE) aims to support every child to be happy, healthy and safe. It includes learning about puberty, hygiene, sex, sexual health, friendships, relationships and families. At your child’s school this will be taught at a pace and level that is appropriate for your child.

Why is this so important for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)?

Children with SEND are often more vulnerable because:

  • they may rely on others for personal and intimate care
  • they may have communication barriers that make it hard for them to express their choices, understand what’s happening to them, or keep themselves safe.

Some of the challenges that your child may experience when learning about RSE include:

  • sensory concerns e.g., about the feel of body fluids
  • concerns about growing into adulthood
  • behaviours such as masturbation in public, or lack awareness of boundaries
  • the need for information to be presented in specific ways, such as symbols or through objects
  • taking learning very literally, or finding it difficult to transfer and apply in their own lives.

Each child is unique and has a different story. Their needs can vary a lot and so they need a very personalised approach.

Whatever their level of understanding, every child’s body goes through puberty. Most will have crushes or develop sexual feelings. Many will have intimate relationships in adulthood.

RSE can help them to process and understand body changes and sexual feelings, understand appropriate behaviour, develop healthy relationships, and know how to stay safe.

This film supports parents and carers to learn more about relationships and sex education (RSE) for children with SEND. It was produced with staff, pupils, parents, and carers from two special schools in Derbyshire and the Derbyshire Public Health Nursing service.

In the film you will hear from parents and carers about some of the challenges they have experienced and the support they received.