Sexuality Education for Youth with Disability or Chronic Illness: A Resource List

This comprehensive resource list, compiled by the University of Michigan Health System, provides information relating to sexual issues affecting youth with disabilities or chronic conditions.

Providing clear and accurate information to youths with disabilities is important–

“Young people with disabilities are no different from other kids in their need to understand their bodies and relationships; they, too, need to understand how their bodies work, and may have romantic longings and sexual interests. The following resources cover the many aspects of disability, love, sex and puberty in a responsible, open and affirming manner.”

The resource list is includes many web resources, print resources and information about organizations.  You can also ask questions about this topic.

Click here for a link to “Sexuality Education for Youth with Disability or Chronic Illness: A Resource List”

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Sexuality Education for Students with Disabilities

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities provides a list of sexual education resources for children and youths with disabilities.

This includes information on:

Link to “Sexuality Education for Students with Disabilities”

Sex Education for Physically, Emotionally and Mentally Challenged Youth (2006)

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This resource, complied by Advocates for Youth, provides detailed information and resources for youth who live with physical and/or mental disabilities— including, but not limited to hearing, sight, and motor function impairments; Down syndrome; cerebral palsy; paraplegia and quadriplegia; developmental disorders; and mental health issues.

The resource is divided into the following sections:

  • Statistics and data about disabilities among children and youth
  • Myths and facts about sexuality and disability
  • Why should parents be concerned about sexual education for their disabled children?
  • General guidelines for parents
  • General guidelines for professional sex educators
  • Selected Resources for educators and other youth serving professionals–Books, Curricula
  • Selected Resources for parents–Books
  • Organizations/Web sites

Link to “Sex Education for Physically, Emotionally and Mentally Challenged Youth” on Advocates for Youth’s webpage

Link to PDF version

Programs that Work (2008)

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Advocates for Youth is an organization that is

Dedicated to creating programs and advocating for policies that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.

The Science and Success (2nd ed. 2008): Sex Education and Other Programs That Work to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, HIV & Sexually Transmitted Infections publication highlights 26 U.S Based programs that have been proven effictive at delaying sexual initiation or reducing sexual risk taking among teens.

  • 14 out of 26 of the programs demonstrated a statistically significant delay in the timing of first sex among youth.
  • 14 out of 26 of the programs increased use of condoms
  • 9 out of 26 demonstrated an increase of other forms of contraception
  • 13 out of 26 showed a reduction in the number of sex partners and/or an increase in monogamy among participants
  • 7 out of 26 assisted sexually active youth to reduce the frequency of sexual intercourse
  • 10 out of 26 helped reduce the incidence of unprotected sex.
  • 13 out of 26 programs showed a decline in tenn pregnancy, HIV or other STIs.
  • 9 out of 26  showed a significant impact on teen pregnancy
  • 4 out of 26 showed a reduced trend in STIs
  • 6 programs achieved improvements in youth’s receipt of health care.

23 of the programs listed in the publication include information about absitence and contraception. The remaining three are programs for early childhood interventions and one is service learning program.

To visit Advocates For Youth’s website click HERE.

For the full publication: Programs that work 2008 full rpt

For the Summary of Programs: Programs that work 2008 Exec Sum

Medical and Public Health Sexual Health Education Recommendations (2007)

This fact sheet issued by ICAH reviews the recommendations for Sexual Health Education in schools by Medical and Public Health organizations such as:

  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Medical Association
  • World Health Organization
  • American Public Health Association
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Society for Adolescent Medicine

These organizations recommend that Sexual Health Education programs should include the following topics:

  • Abstinence
  • Basics of reproduction
  • Human development (puberty)
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • HIV/AIDs
  • Contraceptives and other barrier methods
  • Communication and behavioral skills (negotiation, refusal, etc)
  • Relationships (familial, sexual, platonic)
  • Information about access and/or condom availability
  • Sexual orientation and gender
  • Decision -making, values, and responsibility

In addition to these topics, some organizations have further recommendations or guidance on Sexual Health Education.

To view the fact sheet click HERE

For further information regarding National Education Standards for Sexual Health Education please visit Futureofsexeducation.org for PDF handouts of the standards for grades K-12.

Emerging Answers (2007)

In 2007 the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy issued a report on New Research that Identifies Effictive Teen Sex Education Programs and Other Interventions.

The report, conducted by Dr. Douglas Kirby, PhD, evaluates 115 programs. Two thirds of the programs examined focus on abstinence and contraception and their positive effect on teen behavior.

The report also includes results in regards to access to contraception, condoms and whether educational programs that include parents and teens have any affect on whether teens engage in sexual activity.

You can view the summary of the report here.

Or the full report here.

Visit The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

Curricula Assessment Tool (2007)

The Curricula Assessment Tool was designed by the ICAH to serve as a guide for Teachers, Administrators, Students, Parents and Members of the community working to ensure that the sex education curriculum being taught meets high standards for content and focus.

Acting as a checklist, the form provides the items required by the state of Illinois to be included in the sex education curriculum as well as items that meet the health learning standards for the State Board of Education.

You can view and download the form below.

Curriculum Assessment Tool 2007

Replicating Successful Programs (2006)

Plain Talk is a program developed by the Annie E Casey Foundation and was launched into five urban communities in 1993. The program is a neighborhood based initiative aimed at helping adults, parents, and community leaders develop the skills they need to communicate effectively with young people about reducing adolescent sexual risk taking. Plain Talk has been replicated in multiple communities across the United States.

The Goals of Plain talk are to:

  • Create consensus among parents and adults about the need to protect sexually active youth by encouraging early and consistent use of contraceptives.
  • To give parents and other community adults the information and skills they need to communicate more effectively with teens about responsible behavior.
  • To improve adolescent access to high-quality, age-appropriate and readily available reproductive health care, including contraception.

To find more information regarding the Plain Talk program visit The Annie E Casey Foundation and conduct a search for Plain Talk.

To view a summary of the Plain Talk Program, click the link below. Plaintalk.org is no longer a working web address for this organization.

Replicating Successful Programs- Plain Talk 2006

Through the Looking Glass: Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs and Their Impact on Adolescent Human Rights (2008)

Abstinence-only education policies and programs have recently been the subject of increasing number of reviews and critiques in the U.S. public health and social science research communities.  The authors of this article first present and discuss a case study of one U.S.-based human rights organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW) that used a set of traditional human rights methods to investigate the health and rights impacts of recent sexuality education policies in the US. (Texas)* and in Uganda**.

The authors believe that rights-based analyses can facilitate the development of new coalitions of policy advocates who can use international human rights as a common standard to critique U.S. policies.  From their analyses of the HRW case studies, the authors present some key principles of human rights and demonstrate their potential use to U.S. advocates.  For example, international human rights law states that every person, including every child, “enjoys a fundamental right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds […]” which supports the fundamental right of adolescents to sexual health information. (Miller et al. 39).  Based on this premise, HRW argues that abstinence-only programs violate these rights to education and information and denies young people their choice to protect their right to health.

The authors hope that by engaging with human rights-based claims and human rights-oriented fact finding, the debate regarding sexuality education can shift towards comprehensive sexuality education.

* The Texas case study– Ignorance Only: HUV/AIDS, Human Rights and Federally Funded Abstinence-Only Programs in the United States. Texas: A Case Study< ** The Uganda case study– The Less They Know, the Better: Abstinence-only AIDS Program in Uganda

Citation:  Miller, A. M., & Schleifer, R. A. (2008). Through The Looking Glass: Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs And Their Impact On Adolescent Human Rights.Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC5(3), 28-43.

Link to “Through the Looking Glass: Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs and Their Impact on Adolescent Human Rights” (Subscription Only Journal Article)

The Accuracy of Condom Information in Three Selected Abstinence-Only Education Curricula (2008)

Condom use promotion has been an important public health strategy for preventing HIV and STIs.  In addition, research has indicated that when used correctly and consistently, condoms can protect against HIV/AIDS, pregnancy, gonorrhea in men, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, and possibly HPV.  Since 1998, the federal government has greatly expanded its support for abstinence-only education programs (AEO).  In light of continued federal funding, concerns have been raised about the scientific accuracy of the information that is taught.

The authors, Lin and Santelli, reviewed three federally funded AEO curricula for medical accuracy, focusing on condom information.  The three AEOs that were reviewed were– Me, My World, My Future (Teen Aid Inc.), Sexuality, Commitment & Family (Teen-Aid Inc.) and Why kNOw (AAA Women’s Services).  The authors looked at specific statements about condoms as well as scientific references that were cited and considered the current medical understanding about the topic at the time each specific curriculum was published.  Statements were categorized as “out of date, selectively reported and not peer-reviewed” and were also categorized by themes related to aspects of condom use–condom slippage and breakage, contraceptive efficacy, condoms and HIV transmission risk, youth as condom users, and condom availability and distribution (Lin and Santelli 58)

The authors found evidence of misinformation about condoms in the three AOE curricula.  The three curricula conveyed the message that condoms fail to provide protection agains HIV, STIs, and pregnancy.  References that were cited were out of date, from non peer-reviewed sources and the curricula would draw conclusions that went beyond the findings from the cited research.  The authors conclude that the information about condoms in these curricula does not represent accurate, current, and complete medical knowledge about the the effectiveness of condoms as a form of contraception.  The findings also raise important questions about the ethics of AOE promotion and the fact that students need access to medically accurate information, as a minimum.

Citation:  Lin, A. J., & Santelli, J. S. (2008). The accuracy of condom information in three selected abstinence-only education curricula. Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of Nsrc5(3), 56-69. doi:10.1525/srsp.2008.5.3.56

Link to “The Accuracy of Condom Information in Three Selected Abstinence-Only Education Curricula” (Subscription Only).

State Refusal of Federal Funding for Abstinence-Only Programs (2008)

Since 1996, the federal government has increased support for abstinence only education programs.  As the federal requirements for abstinence only education programs became increasingly stringent, an increasing number of states have refuses to apply for abstinence-only funds (Title V Funding).

In this study, the researchers examined selected states that have rejected or accepted federal funding for abstinence-only programs in order to identify political, social and economic forces that influenced each state’s decision.  The researchers also looked at the political climate in each state including the political affiliation of the governor, the leadership of state legislature, and coalitions among family planning advocates, educators, religious groups and political figures.  Lastly, they also looked at the roles of abstinence-only program evaluation, the influence of state sexuality education standards and concerns about scientific accuracy.  The researchers decided to examine California, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania as the states that rejected funding and Indiana and Texas as the states that accepted funding.

The researchers found that abstinence-only policies are influenced by a state’s political, social and economic environments.  They found that in Indiana and Texas, the decision to accept funding was made without regarding public opinion.  On the other hand, in California, there was a lot of conversations between reproductive health advocates and government officials prior to rejecting funds.  States that accepted funding also had more conservative governors, lacked legislation regarding comprehensive sexual health education or medically accurate information.  States that rejected funding had strong alliances between health advocates and state departments of health and tended to emphasize medically accurate sexuality education.

Link to “State Refusal of Federal Funding for Abstinence-Only Programs

Go Ask Alice!

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Go Ask Alice! is a health Q&A resource produced by Alice! Health Promotion at Columbia University.

The website allows browsers to submit questions in regards to health, search for answers through thousands of already answered questions and obtain reliabable health information.

Questions are not limited to sexual health but also include; alcohol & drugs, nutrition, emotional health, fitness, relationships and general health questions.

All questions are updated to reflect the most current health information and research.

To visit the website and Ask Alice your own questions: Go Ask Alice!

Exposure to Sex on TV May Increase the Chance of Teen Pregnancy (2008)

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This fact sheet provided by Rand Health provides information regarding teen pregnancy and exposure to sex on television.

  • Nearly 1 million American women ages 15-19 become pregnant each year. And a majority of these pregnancies are unplanned.
  • Rand conducted a survey to study the link between exposure to sex on TV and teen pregnancy. They found that “frequent exposure to TV sexual content was associated with a significantly greater likelihood of teen pregnancy in the following three years.”
  • From the results, researchers estimated that ” teens who are likely to become pregnant or be responsible for a pregnancy in their teen years is two times greater among those who view high levels of televised sexual content than those who view low levels.

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  • This is the first study to demonstrate a link between TV and teen pregnancy.

These results have several practical implications:

  • TV industry leaders should examine how programming can include messages to teens about the consequences of sexual activity.
  • Media literacy instruction in middle and high schools can help teens think more critically about the relative absence of negative consequences of sex in TV portrayals and encourage thinking about alternative outcomes to those seen on TV.
  • Training for pediatricians should include intensified efforts to teach about the effects of media exposure on children’s health.
  • Parents need to monitor their teens’ TV viewing and provide education about the consequensces of sex. Tools that can help them review television content may be helpful.

To view the fact sheet: Exposure to Sex on TV may increase the Chance of Teen Pregnancy

Parent–Adolescent Sexual Communication: Associations of Condom Use with Condom Discussions (2009)

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This study, published in the journal AIDS and Behavior, examines the relationship between teen-parent sexual communication, discussion about condoms, and condom use among teens in mental health treatment.  Adolescents between the ages 13-17 years old and who have undergone mental health treatment within the past year were eligible.  Both eligible adolescents and their parents were interviewed for data collection.

Several interesting results were found:

  • “Adolescents reported discussing sexual topics more frequently than anticipated […] nearly 80% of adolescents reported discussions about condoms with parents” (Hadley et al. Pg. 1002)
  • “[…] among this sample of adolescents with high rates of psychiatric disorders and family turmoil, discussion about sex occurred at relatively high rates” (Hadley et al. Pg. 1002).
  • “[…] adolescents who report discussing condoms with their parents were significantly more likely to use condoms with their parents were significantly more likely to use condoms consistently” (Hadley et al. Pg. 1003).

Citation:

Hadley, W., Brown, L.K., Lescano, C.M., Kell, H., Spalding, K., DiClemente, R., Donenberg, G. and Project STYLE Study Group. Parent–Adolescent Sexual Communication: Associations of Condom Use with Condom Discussions. 2009. AIDS Behav. 13:997-1004.

Link to “Parent–Adolescent Sexual Communication: Associations of Condom Use with Condom Discussions” (Subscription Only)

Parent-Adolescent Communication about Sex in Latino Families: A Guide for Practitioners

This publication published by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy assesses available information on parent-teen communication in Latino families, and also pinpoints the research findings that are most useful to practitioners.  It is mainly a resource for practitioners and illustrates specific characteristics that define Latino families in regards to acculturation, education, family structure, and religiosity and how each of these characteristic can affect adolescent-parent communication, especially about sexual health.

In addition, the publication gives communication tips for Latino parents on stressing cultural importance of morals, the importance of talking to both daughters and sons about sex and contraception, and knowing when the time is right to talk about these topics. Communication tips are available in both English and Spanish.

Interesting facts include:

  •  “A study conducted by Latina magazine and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that while 47% of Latino teens said they were sexually experienced, only 30% of Latino parents thought their teen had had sex.” (Ramos-Guilamo & Bouris, 2008, p. 11)
  • “Although parents from all ethnic and racial groups find it difficult to talk to their child about sex, a number of studies have suggested that Latino parents do not talk as often about sex as do other parents.”  (Ramos-Guilamo & Bouris, 2008, p. 13)

Citation: Ramos-Guilamo, V. & Bouris, A. (2008). Parent-adolescent communication about sex in latino families: A guide to practicioners. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy. p. 1-22

Link to “Parent-Adolescent Communication about Sex in Latino Families: A Guide for Practitioners “

No Place Like Home for Sex Education (2002)

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Changes in sexual attitudes, behaviors and lifestyles present parent’s with complex challenges they may meet when educating their children on the topics.  Sex Education is an important topic for parents, schools and communities to provide students.

 

The “There’s No Place Like Home… for Sex Education” (available in Spanish and English) guide provides guidance and strategies for parents to tackle sex education topics with their children. The five newsletters are available for every age and grade level (pre-school through grade twelve) and contains relevant information for the specifica age group as well as communication hints and additional resources to support efforts of sexual health education at home.

Family based Sexuality education can:

  • Allow for the sharing of family values
  • provide accurate information to children
  • build effective decision-making skills
  • counteract negative and exploitive sexual messages in the media

To view the complete guide: No Place Like Home for Sex Education

 

 

Helping Parents Improve Adolescent Health (2007)

FHI

 

Parents play a critical role in promoting adolescent health and development. An analysis of data from six cross-national studies, representing 53 different countries, found that parent-child relationships affect the likelihood of early sexual initiation, substance use, and depression among adolescents.

The study recommends for programs that involve parents and adolescent health and development to include:

  • Focus on outcomes among parents as well as among adolescents.
  • Specify assumptions behind working with parents to influence adolescent health
  • Plan and design interventions carefully, basing them on appropriate theory, research, and knowledge of local culture and customs.
  • Tap the experience of local organizations, networks, and traditions to reach parents through mulitple channels.
  • Offer a balance of information, skills building, support, and resources.
  • Conduct evaluation and share experiences among parenting projects.

The available evidence shows that programs can help parents in developing countries promote adolescent health and development.

To view the full report: Helping Parents Improve Adolescent Health

Are You An Askable Parent? (2005)

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This article, published by Advocates for Health, is a resource for parents and explains the importance of being an askable parent, especially surrounding the topics of sexual health and sexuality.

The article first explains what “askable” is and then provides advice and information for parents to communicate with young people, teens and children about sex and sexual health topics.

Citation:

Huberman, Barbara. Are you An Askable Parent? 2005. From Research to Practice.

Link to “Are You An Askable Parent?” (PDF)

Answer: Sex Ed, Honestly

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Answer, a national organization based in New Jersey (affiliated with Rutgers University), provides sexual health education training to teachers and youth-serving professionals and also offer peer-to-peer sexual health education directly to teens through their teen written magazine and website, Sex,Etc.

They offer:

You can connect with Answer via Facebook, Twitter, and their Blog

You can also contact them if you have questions or suggestions.

Adolescents’ Reports of Communication With Their Parents About STDs and Birth Control: 1988, 1995, and 2002

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This article, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, reports the trends found in adolescents’ reports of discussion with parents about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and birth control methods from 1988 to 2002.

The data analyzed were from the National Survey of Adolescent Males and the National Survey of Family Growth.  The sample population consisted of adolescents 15-17 years old.

In 2002, fewer female adolescents reported discussion with a parent about STD or birth control methods than in 1995. The share of female adolescents in 2002 reporting no discussion of either topic with their parents increased by almost half compared to 1995. Patterns across time in male adolescents’ discussions of birth control methods with their parents appear stable.

The recent decline in female adolescent reports of parent-communication about birth control and STDs, and the increase in female adolescent reports of no discussion of either topic suggest that public health officials, educators, and clinicians should invigorate their efforts to encourage parents to talk with their children about STDs and birth control.

 

Citation:

Robert, A. and Sonenstein, F. Adolescents’ Reports of Communication With Their Parents About STDs and Birth Control: 1988, 1995, and 2002. 2010. Journal of Adolescent Health. 46:6. 532-7.

Link to “Adolescents’ Reports of Communication With Their Parents About STDs and Birth Control: 1988, 1995, and 2002” (Subscription Only)