Author

Megan Hoorn

Date Approved

2015

Date Posted

4-15-2015

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Special Education

Abstract

Research literature documents the varied perspectives of caregivers, educators, health professionals, community members, and family members regarding intellectual disability and sexuality. Many aspects of disability and sexuality, even intellectual disability and sexuality, are well documented. But what are the perspectives and experiences regarding sexuality of those who have intellectual disabilities? There is a void when it comes to the voices of people labeled as having intellectual disabilities regarding their own sexuality; their perspectives have not been described. This research study explores the existing literature that discusses the perspectives of others (parents, caregivers, educators, medical professionals, the general community, etc.) and then takes it one step further, to research the perspectives and experiences of people who have intellectual disabilities about sexuality. A common slogan in the disability rights movement, "nothing about us without us," captures the intent of this research, as the existing research has such limited information about the opinions of those with intellectual disabilities. Individuals labeled as having intellectual disabilities can, and should, be a part of these discussions about their own sexuality. If people with disabilities are to be fully and truly included in society, these conversations must include them, and take their opinions and experiences into account when planning for service, supports, and educational curriculums for people with intellectual disabilities.

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