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Sex ed for adults with disabilities


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Sex ed for adults with disabilities

  2. 2. Objectives To make you uncomfortable enough to change your thinking, but not so uncomfortable that you can’t handle it. Give you tools, information and knowledge to be able to effectively handle sexual concerns and/or situations. Make you more aware of the anatomical and physiological functioning of people with disabilities in regard to sexuality.Michelle Uetz
  3. 3. Wiggle & Squirm Why does talking about sex and sexuality make us so uncomfortable?  It has been made a taboo topic to discuss by parents, media, society and religions.  We have been taught nick names for our reproductive parts since we were young.  Values and morals are part of sex and sexuality.  It has been made into a dirty, and negative thing by media, society and some religions. These are the same reasons that people with disabilities are scared or unable to deal with their feeling appropriately, or ask questions about it.Michelle Uetz
  4. 4. Getting Comfortable Research has shown time and time again that sex education does not create sexual behaviors. It’s important to get comfortable enough to talk about sexual issues  Students/Clients will know if you are uncomfortable  They will not feel comfortable talking to you about the issue.  They will not be able to be honest with you. If you are comfortable enough (doesn’t mean you have to want to hear every detail of their sex lives)  Students/Clients will  Talk to you about problems  Ask for your helpMichelle Uetz
  5. 5. Problems from NOT Talking About “It” If young adults with disabilities are not taught about sex and sexuality and have no one to talk to about it problems can arise  Abuse  To Disabled Adult  From Disabled Adult  STIs  Unplanned Pregnancy  Emotional Distress  Inappropriate Social Expression and Behavior  Incarceration of Adult with DisabilitiesMichelle Uetz
  6. 6. More Problems Abuse  People with disabilities are at a greater risk for being sexually abused. STIs  Unable to identify it, can cause other health problems Pregnancy  Is the person physically able to carry a baby  Is the couple able to physically and mentally take care of the baby Emotional Distress  Emotional maturity does not always match physical maturity Inappropriate behavior  Without knowledge and practice about what to do about their feelings, inappropriate behaviors occur Incarceration  Many articles about cognitively disabled sex offendersMichelle Uetz
  7. 7. Abuse Research about abuse against people with disabilities is difficult to discern because of the varying definitions and data used in the research (Elman, 2005). An early study of women with a variety of disabilities estimated this population to be one and a half times as likely to have been sexually abused as their counterparts without disabilities (Elman, 2005). When researchers focused on people with cognitive disabilities, they found rates of sexual victimization ranged from four to 10 times higher than for those without them (Elman, 2005).Michelle Uetz
  8. 8. Be Pro-Active One of the best ways to discuss risks without scaring people is to take pro-active measures such as sex education (Elman, 2005). Sex education classes are used to offer and encourage education and respect for people’s choices around sex. However, these courses tend to be offered in environments less accessible to those with disabilities (Elman, 2005). In addition, the lack of information on sexuality and people with disabilities makes this education even more difficult (Elman, 2005).Michelle Uetz
  9. 9. Disability and Sexuality All human beings are social and sexual from the day they are born (Social and Sexual Issues During Transition, 2007) People often mistakenly believe that people with disabilities are asexual….however, they are human and thus are sexual beings. (Chance, 2000) Sexuality is controlled by hormones. It is as innate as breathing or your heart beating Even when an adult’s brain functions at the level of a child, their body is still functioning at the same level as their actual age. When the body develops physically the brain and maturity may not develop at the same rate.Michelle Uetz
  10. 10. Sullivan and Caterino Study (Sullivan, 2008) Found that:  75% of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) display some kind of sexual behavior and most masturbate.  As many as 16-25% of people with ASD have been sexually abused.  65% of people with ASD touch themselves in public, 23% masturbate in public, and 28% remove their clothing in public.  Clearly, impairments do not negate sexuality and the desires or behaviors of it.Michelle Uetz
  11. 11. Anatomy & Physiology The brain and intellectual functioning of adults with disabilities is disabled.  HOWEVER, their bodies still function and develop just as a nondisabled person’s would People with disabilities still go through puberty, although, it may come a little later than their peers, since their maturity develops later. Women with disabilities still menstruate, develop breasts and are able to become pregnant. Men with disabilities still get erections, produce sperm, masturbate, and can impregnate a woman.Michelle Uetz
  12. 12. Sex and Sexuality Completely Normal  “Sexuality is an integral part of what it is to be a human being.” (Chance, 2002).  In the past when sexual behavior and interest came from people with disabilities they were looked at negatively because of the social difficulties and stereotypes related to these disabilities (Sullivan, 2008). Think about your own experiences?  Were your actions, changes and feelings during puberty controllable, or innate?  Did they help shape you into who you are?  Did gaining sexuality give you independence and control of yourself?Michelle Uetz
  13. 13. Independence Sexuality is a part of our identity A large part of growing up is independence, including what one does with their own body…adults with disabilities are not exempt from this. Every person deserves as much independence as possible. Can create conflict between parents and young adult, caregivers and teachers.Michelle Uetz
  14. 14. Parents Children learn by imitating what they see. This is often from home. Parents want to protect their children and may not understand the damage that it can do. Parents should be included in any issues that are occurring regarding their child and his/her sexuality. Parents need support and education to deal with their disabled child’s sexuality. Parents want their children to follow their morals and values.  Whether teachers and caregivers agree or disagree they need to respect this.Michelle Uetz
  15. 15. Why Teach Sex Ed to Disabled People? With open discussion, comes understanding of values and social aspects of sexuality. Helps people to deal with their feelings in a healthy and responsible way. Talking about sex does not create sexual feelings, all people have those feelings already. It provides education. Disabled people have sexual feelings, but are less equipped to handle them.Michelle Uetz
  16. 16. Step 1: Teach and Use Correct Names Practice it yourself so that you can use proper names also.  Penis  Vulva  Breasts  Masturbate If there are problems or abuse, the person needs to be able to accurately report the problem or abuse. Correct terminology is needed so that the Dr. understands what is being reported. Nicknames can prolong reporting and help. It is important to know correct names for both genders.Michelle Uetz
  17. 17. Step 2: Teach and Talk About Acceptable Social Behavior Learning about sexuality provides social skills.  Communication  Decision Making  Assertiveness  Peer Refusal skills  Satisfying Relationships Learning about sexuality provides values.  Increases self-esteem  Provides understanding of family, religious, and social values Learning about sexuality provides responsibility.  Abstinence  Resisting exploitationMichelle Uetz
  18. 18. Social Skills It is important to acknowledge sexual feelings and development and then teach and reinforce important decisions regarding sexual behavior:  Appropriate public behavior  Behavior to be practiced in private  Consent  Statutory rape  Appropriate time and place  Not in public, not constant, public displays of affectionMichelle Uetz
  19. 19. Step 3: Teach Sex Ed to People with Disabilities Even if good sex ed was taught at school, people with disabilities need reminders and continual education because they forget, or can’t transfer the information. Practice, Practice, Practice….the social skills. Role-play is a good way to do this. Provide community experiences for social skills whenever possible. Sex ed needs to include feelings, value, attitudes, information, and communication skills (Social and Sexual Issues During Transition, 2007).Michelle Uetz
  20. 20. Step 4: Be Open and Honest You don’t need to share personal stories or experiences You do need to be open and honest about issues and when answering questions  Homosexuality  Pregnancy  Risks  Appropriate age  Responsibility  Legal issues  Susceptibility to abuse because of disabilityMichelle Uetz
  21. 21. Special Considerations Autism  Very black and white, need clear rules. Need a lot of social skill practice to have a relationship.  They do not have the socialization and understanding of social norms as a typical peer would to be able to govern their sexual behaviors (Sullivan, 2008) Non-Verbal  Many people that are non-verbal understand. Therefore, it is important to develop signs with them to express themselves in regard to sexuality. Physical disabilities  Is a pregnancy healthy for the woman? Cognitive Disability  Is there enough cognitive function to raise a child?Michelle Uetz
  22. 22. Questions & Concerns What questions do you have? What concerns do you have?Michelle Uetz
  23. 23. References Don’t just believe me, I have some information to back this stuff up.  Chance, R. S. (2002). To Love an Be Loved: Sexuality and People with Physical Disabilities. Journal of Psychology and Theology , 30 (3), 195-208.  Social and Sexual Issues During Transition. (2007). Retrieved 11 23, 2010, from National Association of Special Education Teachers :  Sullivan, A. a. (2008). Addressing the Sexuality and Sex Education of Individuals with Autism SPectrum Disorders. Education and Treatment of Children , 31 (3), 381-394.Michelle Uetz
  24. 24. More Resources Elman, R. A. (2005, 01). Confronting the Sexual Abuse of Women with Disabilities. Retrieved 01 15, 2012, from ARC of Greater Twin Cities: ention/Elman_2005.pdfMichelle Uetz