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What's Out There? Mapping Sexuality Education for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (SWIDD) experience sexual abuse at rates significantly greater than the general population. This problem is exacerbated by the severe restriction of sexual knowledge available to students with IDD. Considering that many parents and caregivers report feeling unqualified to teach SWIDD about sexual topics, our team set out to conduct a comprehensive content review of all existing sexual health curricula for SWIDD. The goal was to take stock of the resources available to parents and caregivers to equip them with the ability to inform their student about sexual topics.

Our team analyzed six sexual health curricula geared towards SWIDD and compared the content expressed in each curriculum to the National Sexuality Education Standards. We also evaluated curricula based on accessibility and disability-specific considerations. This study discovered an overwhelming lack of accessible, adaptable and comprehensive sexual health curricula for SWIDD. This research suggests that there is a pressing need for quality sexual health resources for this population.

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