People with disabilities have the same opportunities to learn as people without disabilities.
However, in the area of sexuality, many people with disabilities do not receive sex education, either in school or at home. People believe that people with disabilities do not feel the desire to have sex or are oversexed and unable to control their sexual urges. Research indicates that people with disabilities are more vulnerable which result in sexual assault, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections.
All people including people with disabilities need affection, love, and someone to care for and to be loved. They may learn at a slower rate, but they need sex education that builds skills for appropriate language and behavior in public. They also need education to promote healthy behavior of sexuality. People with disabilities often require more assistance or specialized instruction to understand their sexuality with concrete explanation. Therefore, by having an appropriate education, individuals with disabilities can have healthy adulthood.
Make clear with a child with disabilities what behaviors are private and what are public. Be specific when explain what is acceptable and what is not. For example, it is not appropriate to touch body parts that are covered with bathing suit. To minimize the child’s touching his/her private body parts in public, make activities interesting, physically active, or using two hands. And as a child gets older, teach appropriate greeting such as hand shaking instead of hugging or touching to get attention.
Guidelines for parents and educators:
- Acknowledge that everyone has sexuality related emotions and desires.
- Start talking to children about sexuality while they are very young.
- Use accurate language for body parts and bodily functions.
- Find the appropriate time and place to talk to the child.
- Be clear when discussing relationships (don’t call spouse as mommy or daddy)
- Be concrete - use visuals, such as photos, pictures to help child understand different types of families and relationships.
- Be honest when the child asks questions.
- Offer praise and support.
- Use resources such as visuals (models, dolls, and pictures) and be creative when explaining certain topics.
- Help to differentiate between public and private
- Respect child’s expression
- For kindergarten through 12th grade http://www.siecus.org/_data/global/images/guidelines.pdf
- For birth to five years http://www.siecus.org/_data/global/images/RightFromTheStart.pdf