An evaluation of research and training resources for the sex education of people with moderate to severe learning disabilities

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To review the literature on issues surrounding the sexuality of people with moderate to severe learning disability (SLD), and evaluate available assessment and training methods. This research arose from an increasing number of referrals for clinical intervention in the training and education of appropriate social and sexual behaviour in people with moderate to SLD. What became apparent was the lack of suitable materials and assessments, which is significant as a large number of persons with SLD have problems with language, and so require tools and programmes which have enhanced levels of pictorial support. This research was necessary as people with SLD are vulnerable and have been open to emotional and sexual abuse [Ment Handicap Res16 (1993) 193]. Also, the present study was also required to help keep clients safe and reduce their vulnerability. It has been proposed that this should be achieved through providing educative input. An extensive review of the literature revealed that the research on sexuality in SLD was limited. Furthermore, where research had been conducted, poor methodology or validation issues were common, and materials appeared overly complicated for clients with moderate to SLD. Further research into the development and validation of assessment tools and training programmes which increase appropriate sexual behaviours is urgently required.

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