Date

5-2021

Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Department

Health and Human Services

Major

Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Rob Weisskirch

Abstract

Many adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities receive little to no sex education; as a result, they often struggle to have fulfilling and healthy relationships, experience limitations in physical interactions, and are at risk of being taken advantage of by others. Sommaro et al. (2019) explained that individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) and developmental disabilities (DD) are often placed into one of two categories: they are treated as either eternal children or sexual deviants. These ideas are based on old knowledge and are known to be inaccurate. However, current systems of care struggle to move forward from these notions. A modern view of adults with DD/ID around sexuality is that they are differently-abled, may need extra support for learning, and need open access to sex education as any other individuals would receive. By providing sex education, individuals with disabilities increase their knowledge and self-care and are more prepared for relationships, leading to long-term, safer practices. In order to address this issue, I created a two-day curriculum to support the introduction of sex education to adults with disabilities (i.e. intellectual disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, impaired cognitive processing) who receive services from Monarch ILS agency in Santa Cruz, California.

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