Impact Feature Issue on Sexuality and People with Intellectual, Developmental and Other Disabilities

Sexuality Education Resources

  • Sexuality Education for Children and Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities: An Instructional Manual for Parents or Caregivers of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities. PDF By D. Baxley and A. Zendell. This manual, available online for free, is designed to help parents and caregivers assist young people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in their exploration of self and sexuality, preparing the young person to live and participate as independently and safely as possible in the community as an adult. Among topics covered are bodily changes, social skills, dating, and recognizing and avoiding abuse, as well as tips for adapting the material for different learning styles. Published by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Inc. Also available is a companion manual for educators.
  • Sexuality: Your Sons and Daughters with Intellectual Disabilities.  By K. Melberg Schwier & D. Hingsburger. This book for parents talks about how to interact with children – no matter their age or ability – in a way that increases self-esteem, encourages appropriate behavior, empowers them to recognize and respond to abuse, and enables them to develop lifelong relationships. It includes stories, advice and practical strategies from parents, as well as individuals with intellectual disabilities explaining what's important to them.
  • The Facts of Life...and More: Sexuality and Intimacy for People with Intellectual Disabilities.  Edited by L. Walker-Hirsch. This book gives social workers, teachers, and direct support professionals comprehensive information to use as they educate people with intellectual disabilities about sexuality and help them make the best possible choices across the lifespan. Written by contributors from diverse fields, it blends in-depth examination of legal and clinical issues with sensitive discussion of the emotional side of sexuality, going beyond the facts of life to offer candid interviews and personal anecdotes that show how real-life couples with disabilities handle the joys and challenges of their relationships.
  • Circles Curriculum.  Co-created by L. Walker-Hirsch. The Circles Curriculum is designed for use with students who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. It teaches relationship boundaries and relationship-specific behaviors using a simple multi-layer circle diagram to demonstrate the different relationship levels students will encounter in daily life. It's composed of four different programs that also cover how to apply the rules of social intimacy in more complex settings, how to recognize and avoid sexually threatening or abusive situations, and how to prevent and treat communicable and sexually-transmitted diseases.
  • Sexuality Training for Individuals and Agencies. Agencies looking for workshops on sexuality for the adults with disabilities they serve, and for their staff, may find that the Centers for Independent Living (CILs) in their area have this resource available. To locate nearby CILs contact the National Council on Independent Living .
  • You've Got a Friend: Supporting Family Connections, Friends, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness. ​ The College of Direct Support , an online, competency-based training program for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) nationwide, includes among its courses "You've Got a Friend...", which explores the importance and meaning of relationships in the lives of people of all ages with disabilities. Topics covered are the benefits that healthy relationships bring to people's lives, common perceptions and prejudices about people with disabilities that create barriers to social relationships, common challenges that DSPs face when supporting people in developing and maintaining relationships, strategies for overcoming these challenges, and effectively supporting family relationships.