Course Release: Sexual Development & Behavior in K-12 Students
Earlier this year, the Focused Topics course Sexual Development and Behavior in Children & Youth was developed to support child care staff’s knowledge and response to children’s sexual development and behaviors. In coordination with the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), a new course, Sexual Development and Behavior in K-12 Students which is aimed at K-12 educators and youth program staff, is now available in the VLS Focused Topics track. Sexual development and behavior follows a developmental path like other developmental domains and is influenced by children’s diverse environments and experiences. This nine-lesson course will support K-12 educator’s and youth program staff’s understanding of factors that influence sexual development, how to build a program that promotes healthy sexual development, and developmentally appropriate responses to all types of sexual behavior, including sexual behavior challenges or problematic sexual behavior. The course offers K-12 educators and youth program staff resources and tools to support them in determining if a behavior is normative, how to respond appropriately to problematic sexual behavior, and how to best support children and youth receiving interventions for sexual behavior challenges. It also provides foundational information of normative sexual behavior and specific strategies to prevent and respond to problematic sexual behavior. The last two lessons in this course are aimed at program leadership so that school and program leaders are prepared to support staff in prevention efforts, and to carry out an appropriate coordinated response should an incidence of sexual behavior occur. Sexual Development and Behavior in K-12 Students will help teachers, youth program staff, trainers, and administrators effectively collaborate with families and other professionals to best prevent sexual behavior challenges, as well as support K-12 students who have exhibited or experienced sexual behavior challenges.