Sexuality Education for Teens and Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities
What is sexual self-advocacy and why is it important?
Sexual self-advocacy provides an individual with the freedom of choice to engage in a romantic sexual relationship with another consenting adult. In order to make healthy choices the individual must first be informed. Too often people with disabilities are treated like children who do not have sexual desires and are not seen as sexual beings. They are excluded from age appropriate health education classes that teach about sexuality. They are not provided with correct information about their bodies and sex. And they may be prevented from having a healthy sexual relationship with another person.
People with disabilities are entitled to receive correct information about their bodies using medical terms. They should receive appropriate sexual education that is age appropriate. They deserve the right to explore their sexuality, their sexual orientation, their gender identity, and enjoy sexual pleasure without judgment or criticism.
Of course, supporting the many needs of our teens and adults with disabilities can be challenging for parents and caregivers. Many parents may find the topic of sexuality uncomfortable to talk about. We may believe that by discussing sex, we are offering permission for our kids to engage in unsafe sexual activity. This could not be further from the truth. When parents increase their own knowledge about sexuality, and we become more comfortable talking to our kids about sex, we are directly supporting our children's sexual self-advocacy to make healthy choices as they explore their normal sexual feelings and desires.
As I support my own teenage son, who has a disability, in his quest for exploration and sexual self-advocacy, I became painfully aware of the lack of appropriate courses and educational resources to meet his needs. As a Health Educator I am devoted to serving people with disabilities and committed to their self-advocacy in living meaningful lives.
I have recently embarked on a new road on this journey and am now providing courses in Human Relationships and Sexuality for Teens and Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities. Courses may be offered in small group settings or individual sessions depending on the needs of the individual. Additionally, I provide parent/caregiver workshops to support them in this difficult topic, and to teach strategies to communicate about sexuality with their children. Staff trainings are available for any staff working directly with a teen or adult with a disability to support their sexual self-advocacy.
Children and adults with self-directed services may qualify for funding for individual or small group health education and wellness community classes. Prior approval must be authorized before scheduling a class.
Click here for upcoming workshops and courses.