Teaching Teens About Condom Use
Valentine’s Day is also National Condom Day. Clearly, somebody had a sense of humor—and a good idea—since 50% of the pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. Fifty percent. And, while discussing condom use with teens with special needs may be a difficult or uncomfortable topic, federal mandates for transition services for teens with special needs requires that we educate our students on matters of sexuality.
The truth is, any comprehensive sexual education program should discuss ALL the options available for birth control for our students. But, condoms have some distinct advantages that make them an easy sell. Anyone, of any age, can buy them over the counter. No prescription is needed. In the realm of birth control, they are relatively cheap. Responsibility is not limited to one gender—young women can buy and carry them so that their partners have no excuse not to use them. And, they are easy to use.
But, There’s More
Of course, condom use does not exist in a vacuum. Safe Dating from Daily Living Skills discusses the many topics that come before a student might be considering condom use. This book allows students to consider whether they are ready to start dating, how to date safely, how to avoid dangerous situations, how to set boundaries, how to say and accept “no,” and more. This book is a perfect introduction to dating and would make a good unit to introduce in light of February’s themes of love.
Knowing how to navigate the sometimes uncertain waters of dating can help keep our students out of hot water and help them take responsible steps on their path to sexuality. But, sooner or later, most of our students will become sexually active. Knowing how to protect themselves from STI’s and unwanted pregnancies is vital information that they will need for the rest of their adult lives. For that, I recommend a program that has a specialized, comprehensive curricula.
Effective Condom Use
3rs.org is a website that provides curriculum for sexual education. Standing for “Rights, Respect, Responsibility,” this website contains lessons on all topics sexual from kindergarten lessons on different kinds of families through high school dating, orientation and more. Complete lesson plans with charts, videos and activities are available for free on the site. An eighth grade lesson on condom use can be found here. This curricula will allow you to tailor your teaching to the level of your students while bringing the latest, factual information to your class.