FLASH Curriculum, Lesson 14:

Exploitation, Day 1: Touching

Special Education: Secondary, Lesson #14

Student Learning Objectives:

To be able to...

  1. Identify three different types of touch
  2. Correctly label different examples of types of touch
  3. Identify kinds of relationships in which touch is appropriate/ok
  4. Declare the right to decide how they want to be touched

Materials Needed:

Five transparencies

Copies for each student of the Relationships Worksheet and the Your Touching Rights


Blackboard or easel paper and colored pens for discussions


  1. Types of touch
  2. Review relationships
  3. Brainstorming types of touch
  4. Relationships & touch
  5. Touching rights
  6. Affirmations

Touching that is fair, helpful or feels good is an important part of life. Exploitive or abusive touch can ruin lives. Unfortunately students with special needs often have a unique vulnerability to exploitive types of touch and abuse, largely because of a lack of understanding on their part about what type of touch "fits" within a given type of relationship.

In this lesson, students learn about different types of touch that fit within different types of relationships, building on previous relationship lessons. We will also discuss each individual's right to choose or refuse different types of touch.


Other ways of describing touch may be helpful.

  • Red, Yellow and Green Light (traffic signal) types of touch. 
  • Happy face, Sad face, Face with a straight line mouth - Confused.
  • Using columns and the headings of "fair/ok, unfair/not ok, and confusing/ uh-oh" types of touch.

Identify fair or OK touch for each type of relationship.

1. Types of Touch
A. Explain to students that there are three different types of touch.
Project the transparencies as you describe each type.
Fair touch - touch that feels good or helps. Fair touch is never a secret.
Sometimes Fair Touch - touch that might or might not hurt
Never Fair Touch - touch that hurts feelings, might or might not hurt the body.
The person doing the Never-Fair Touch will always want it to be a secret. (They should not be doing it, and they would get in trouble if it wasn't a secret.)
B. Review the concepts of private parts of the body - parts we always have covered when we are in public places. If it's helpful, describe private parts of the body as the parts that are covered by underwear or a bathing suit (the bottom, the penis and scrotum, the labia and vagina, and girl's breasts.)

2. Review Relationships
Project the Relationships Worksheet & Transparency. Start with "me" and review each relationship, possible people who are in that type of relationship, and ideas students have about touching within each type of relationship as you go.

3. Brainstorming types of touch.
A. Remind students that when we learned about each of these types of relationships, we discussed that people touch each other differently depending upon the type of relationship that exists. Now we are going to discuss different types of touching.
B. Be sure that you preface this discussion about touching within relationships by telling students that:
"Different types of touching are appropriate (OK) in connection with different types of relationships. Many people disagree about touch. It is important to think about your feelings and belief about types of touching. Talk about them with family members or a trusted adult friend."
C. Have students brainstorm different types of touching. Write the heading "Touches" on the board or easel paper and add students' ideas to it as they are mentioned. There doesn't need to be any specific order. The following touch examples can be used to augment your list.

  • shaking hands
  • kissing
  • holding hands
  • hugging
  • doctor's exam
  • slap
  • punch
  • rape
  • touching private parts of the body
  • tickling, roughhousing, (sometimes kids will suggest "sex abuse," "molesting"... go ahead and write these up as well).
  • no touch

D. Decide as a group how to label each of the above types of touch.
Are they fair, sometimes fair, or never fair.
Draw a big X through the types of touch that are never fair.
Leave them legible, though - as you will want to refer to them later.

4. Relationships & Touch
A. Hand out the Relationships Worksheet & Transparency
B. Students will write down touch types that fit in each type of relationship on the lines indicated.
C. Discuss completed worksheets with the students.

5. Touching Rights
A. Point out that different people feel differently about what type of touching is ok or not ok for them. We all have our own set of rules about personal touch.
B. Hand out the Your Touching Rights Handout & Transparency. Post or project the transparency. Have students read the rights aloud and discuss them as you go - giving concrete examples of each right.
C. Review assertiveness.
Discuss with students that there are assertive ways to prevent unfair touch. Point to the touch types on the board that you crossed out ("x-ed" out) earlier. Ask if they can think of any of these ways. Tell students that they should always remember that they have the power to say "No".
In the next two lessons we'll look at some special ways to get help if someone touches you in an unfair or exploitive way.

6. Affirmations
Have students stand in a big circle. Have them repeat each of the following affirmations in a big voice.

Dear Trusted Adult,

In class we talked about different types of touching. We identified a list of examples of touch and then explored the relationships when those touches might be appropriate - if at all.

We talked about the fact that different people have different feelings and beliefs about what is fair/ok/appropriate and what isn't in each kind of relationship. Students were encouraged to talk to you about your feelings and beliefs about types of touch.

We explored Touching Rights and discussed them in class. They are included here, so that you can talk about them.

Touching Rights
You have the right:

  • never to be touched in a sexual or affectionate way without your permission
  • never to be touched in a violent way except by choice (like in football)
  • never to be touched in an exploitive way

It will help students to make responsible choices about relationships and touching, if you talk about how you feel. They are looking for your input in order to decide about this subject, and this is your chance to provide guidance and support.

Some activities that will help reinforce this learning are:

  • Talk about types of touching seen on television and in the movies. Notice the type of relationship and the context in which the touching occurs - (e.g. family, work related, stranger contact, etc.) Have a discussion about messages this sends to people who watch the show.
  • Talk about touching rules and preferences at your home.

If you have any questions or comments, please call me.


Teacher, Principal or Nurse

NOTE: All Trusted Adult Exercises are Optional.

Fair Touch Transparency

Friend wrapping arm around shoulder

Sometimes Fair Touch Transparency

Person being grabbed by another person

Never Fair Touch Transparency

Man getting punched in the face

Relationships Worksheet & Transparency

Relationship   Types of Touch That are Fair




My Family



My Friends



Helpers & acquaintances






Your Touching Rights Handout & Transparency

  • Never to be touched in a sexual or affectionate way without our permission
  • Never to be touched in a violent way except by choice (like in football)
  • Never to be touched in an exploitive (unfair) way