ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2019) 66 CME1.2 | DOI: 10.1530/endoabs.66.CME1.2

Talking to children about sex development

Julie Alderson


University Hospitals Bristol NHSFT, Bristol, UK


Talking to children about sex development has never been easy and for professionals or for parents. The spectre of the Optimal Sex of Rearing theory from the 50s and 60’s an awareness of gender fluidity with the range of possible futures for each child we see can silence us. If we don’t let a child know about the surprises their body has in store for them what difficulties do we store up for them? Standard advice for talking to children is to communicate in a developmentally appropriate way. How can we reduce our professional anxiety and tread a delicate path that enables us to keep our patient with different sex development at the center of their care? How can we know what they want and how can we help them tell us how they feel or what they think? Parents need help to do their part in talking to children about Sex Development and we need their support to keep their child engaged with care. How do we share responsibility with parents for enabling children to understand what and why and how? This session introduces available materials to scaffold conversations and information exchange. We will discuss language and the way it frames patient knowledge. We will consider assumptions that might shut down children and young people and will encourage you to find some language and skills you can be happy with….for now. Communicating is subject to revision and reiteration.

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