Open Access Capstone
Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
Children, adolescents, and young adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) are often excluded from receiving Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), even though they are at increased vulnerability for sexual abuse and exploitation. Although some curricula are emerging that are adapted for individuals with IDD, rigorous effectiveness studies are sparse. The purpose of this capstone project was to empirically explore the beliefs, attitudes, and comfort level of parents with sexuality education program types and content regarding their own parent/child communication and the need for training and resources. This capstone project used a quantitative, cross-sectional, descriptive survey design. The survey consisted of 27 questions (both multiple choice and open-ended). Forty-one parents completed the survey in its entirety. Participants had children ages 6-21 who were enrolled at a private school in a mid-Atlantic state during the 2020-2021 school year. Most of the high school and middle school parents were in favor of Comprehensive Sexuality Education. High school and elementary school parents favored a middle school start for CHRSE. The content area with the highest approval rating was human development at 97.56% and the lowest approval rate was for gender identity, sexual orientation at 73.17%. Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) is the human right of all persons without exception. More inclusive curricula (LGBTQ+ community and individuals with IDD and other cognitively based disabilities) need to be developed and studied to determine their effectiveness.
Shirley O’Brien, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Jennifer Hight OTD, OTR/L
2021 Marie C. Zarrilli
Zarrilli, Marie C., "Understanding Parent Beliefs and Attitudes Regarding Healthy Relationships and Sexuality Education: Bridging the Inclusivity Gap" (2021). Occupational Therapy Doctorate Capstone Projects. 69.
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