Sex Education and its Importance in Children with Intellectual Disabilities

TUTAR GÜVEN, Şerife; İŞLER, Ayşegül
November 2015
Journal of Psychiatric Nursing / Psikiyatri Hemsireleri Dernegi;2015, Vol. 6 Issue 3, p143
Academic Journal
Sexual identity is an individual being aware of his/her sexuality and acting in a manner appropriate to it. With or without intellectual disability, every individual is born with his/her gender. For centuries, it was thought that individuals with intellectual disabilities were inhuman, asexual, or childish, or that they were over fond of sex and that they could not control their sexuality. However, these individuals were perceived as such because they did not know where, when and in which situations sexual behaviors were appropriate. In other words, they could not control their sexual behaviors. Just like healthy individuals, those with intellectual disabilities also have sexual needs and desires. Sex education starts at birth. It continues until reaching adulthood or beyond. Parents are the best guides for all children, either those with intellectual disability or not. The most accurate information about sex, which is an issue when there are conflicting messages from different sources, should be first provided by parents. There is no suitable model of sex education for all children with intellectual disabilities and information should be appropriate to the child's level of understanding. Those with intellectual disabilities are more at risk of sexual abuse than others in society and for this reason, it is important to adopt a multidisciplinary team (doctor, nurse, midwife, psychologist and social services specialist e.g.) approach towards the sexual health of the intellectually disabled. The most accurate information sharing about sex depends on good communication between families, schools and individuals, and by receiving professional support when needed. This review emphasizes the importance of sexual education for children with intellectual disabilities and the role of nurses in sexual education.


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