The Importance of Sexuality Education for Children With and Without Intellectual Disabilities: What Parents Think

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Abstract

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) experience much higher rates of forced sexual interactions than non-disabled individuals, with incidence ranges from 44% in children (Briggs, 2006; Kvamm, 2004; van der Put, Asscher, Wissink, & Stams, 2013) to 83% in adults (Johnson & Sigler, 2000). These incidents may be perpetrated by others with disabilities (Langeven & Curnoe, 2007; van der Put et al., 2013) or, more frequently, by caregivers or others known to the individual (Morano, 2001; Wissink, van Vugt, Mooned, Stams, & Hendricks, 2015). This may be the case because individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)—especially those with very low IQs—tend to receive little by way of sex education. This study assessed parental beliefs of sexuality education needs of children with and without disabilities through an online survey comprised of questions about the parents, their child, and their attitudes about their child’s sexuality. Results showed that parents of children with IDD are less likely to believe their children will have consensual or non-consensual sex before age 18 than parents of children without IDD, but favor sexuality education for their children, with parents preferring to provide it themselves, with the assistance of or through preparation by workshop with a professional. These finding are discussed in the context of implications for intervention and increasing options for sexuality education for learners with IDD.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalSexuality and Disability
Early online date21 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 21 Nov 2017

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