Books for special-needs children; ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ documentary

May 3, 2011
Special Needs
Making the ordinary less scary
“Off We Go!” (Woodbine House, $9.95)

The “Off We Go!” series consists of three books for special-needs children that prepare them for outings to the grocery store, hair salon and dentist. The books walk readers through what will happen at these events, explaining some of the things he or she will encounter. (“I sit very still and let the hairdresser cut my hair. The scissors don’t hurt.”) Author Avril Webster created the series for her son, Stephen, who has a moderate to severe intellectual disability (no specific diagnosis). His teacher and speech pathologist helped with the series. The “Off We Go!” books are aimed at children ages 4 to 8 who have an autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, ADHD or any intellectual disability.

Teenagers and sex
Beyond abstinence
“Let’s Talk About Sex” (New Video, $19.95)

Despite the title, the documentary “Let’s Talk About Sex” is about what happens when people don’t talk about sex — a widespread problem in America’s classrooms, homes and churches, according to the film. Sexual imagery permeates the culture, but many young adults are taught abstinence, leading to higher rates of pregnancy and disease than in countries such as the Netherlands, Germany and France, where, according to the film, teens begin to have sex at about the same age as those in America. “Let’s Talk About Sex” exposes some stunning ironies, such as a teacher at a high school for pregnant teen mothers pushing abstinence on the students (um, too late!) and how a teen had sex the same night as her “purity ball” at church. The film aired on TLC in April and is now available on DVD.

- Rachel Saslow

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