Mocked, Marginalized, and Molested: The Need for Sexual Health Education for Special Education Students

By Kim Clark, DrPH posted 05-10-2019 20:17

Students with physical and developmental disabilities are four-to-seven times more likely to be sexually assaulted and molested than the general population. Yet few school districts provide appropriate and accessible comprehensive sexual health education to these students, due to a number of factors which include: an assumption that disabled students are asexual and incapable/uninterested in close (sexual) relationships; staff discomfort with sex-related topics; and an overall lack of appropriate/adapted sex education materials. 

The purpose of this session is to briefly explore the factors contributing to the molest and assault of special education students, followed by a description of the topics which are to be included in a comprehensive and sex-positive approach to health instruction, including guidelines and samples of effective curriculum adaptations.