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The Boys' Guide to Growing Up

Choices & Changes during Puberty
Terri C. Couwenhoven, M.S.


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isbn# 978-1-60613-089-6
6" x 9"
64 Pages
B&W illustrations
Ages 9-16

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Read a review in Spanish from Fundacion Iberoamericana Down 21

"Finally we have something for that period of chaos, befuddlement, and turmoil for boys and horror for parents, otherwise known as puberty. Like Terri Couwenhoven's companion book for girls, this guide delivers a simple, honest, straight forward, highly respectful, and visual explanation about puberty for boys. And once again, Terri shows us that, regardless of the complexity of the subject, people with developmental disabilities can learn everything they need to know when taught with dignity and careful attention to their strengths. My only complaint is that it wasn't available sooner!"
-Dennis McGuire, Ph.D.
Director of Psychosocial Services for the Adult Down Syndrome Center of Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois

"As the parent of a thirteen-year-old with autism, I wish this book was available three years ago. As a behavior analyst working with children, teens, and young adults with disabilities, I am grateful it is available now. As a sexuality educator, I applaud Terri for tackling this crucial and sensitive topic in a simplistic and thorough manner. Parents, educators, and boys with disabilities now have access to a resource that helps navigate this curious and exciting time in a boy’s life."
-Sorah Stein, MA, BCBA, AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator

"All teens should be knowledgeable about the hormonal onslaught that pumps through their bodies, transforming their looks and affecting their moods. This book is geared to boys with 'developmental disabilities.' It explains basic information that includes body changes in growth, hair, skin, voice, and feelings. It is not a sex guide though it does not shy away from emerging sexuality. The simple language is deliberately clear and direct, enhanced by several black-and-white anatomical illustrations. Probably the most essential message is that children and young adults need to be aware of inappropriate physical contact and not become victims. Special-needs children and teens are particularly vulnerable due to their dependency on others. An important section is 'Public or Private,' which differentiates between what is appropriate and understanding what is not."
-School Library Journal

"Puberty tends to hit us all like a bag of bricks. The Boys' Guide to Growing Up: Choices & Changes During Puberty is a practical advice guide for preteens and young teenagers as Terri Couwenhoven advises boys through this time of transition, dealing with all of the changes that barrage one during this time, dealing with everything from acne, hair, strength, and those pesky girl things. The Boys' Guide to Growing Up is worth considering for the young future man in one's life."
-Children's Bookwatch, December 2012

"With its reassuring tone and straightforward style, The Boys' Guide to Growing Up is not only an excellent addition to any sex education collection, but also fills a unique niche by addressing the needs of boys with intellectual disabilities."
-CAPHIS Consumer Connections

"Sexuality is a different topic for many parents. Communicating about sexuality to young people with developmental disabilities can be especially challenging. Having something to visually refer to and discuss makes the process of explaining puberty easier. The author has drawn from her extensive experience providing workshops to youth with disabilities to produce an easy-to-follow book complete with illustrations and text written at a Grade 3 level. Topics covered are the changes inside and (e.g., growth, voice, skin, hair, penis, body odor), dealing with feelings, sexual attraction, and masturbation. Concepts are clearly explained and slang terms are mentioned. There is an appropriate emphasis on safety and issues that are often difficult for youth with developmental disabilities, such as whom to tell what and private versus public.

Information is presented in an easy-to-follow, matter-of-fact manner. There is a quiz and a visual matching activity to check comprehension. The information will be useful for preteens and early adolescents. The father of a 13 year-old with Down syndrome felt his son grasped the concepts presented and expects to refer back to the book as questions and situations arise. The reading level was a good match for his son.

This book is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to sexuality. It is an excellent foundational guide to the changes of puberty. Other aspects of sexuality can be addressed when the youth is ready for the next level of knowledge. A guide for girls is also available from the same author. Overall, this is a book that parents of boys with developmental disabilities will appreciate and occupational therapists can be comfortable recommending to parents with a wide range of beliefs about sexuality."
-Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy

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