Is it effective? The state of sexual health education for adolescent students with intellectual disabilities in British Columbia
A review of available literature indicates that sexual health outcomes for adolescent students with intellectual disabilities (ID) have been understudied in British Columbia. The research available indicates that adolescent students with ID experience a number of significant sexual health inequalities in comparison with their neurotypical peers including, unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates, and prevalence of sexual abuse. This study seeks to examine if there is a relationship between these inequalities and the relationship between the type of sexual health education students with ID are receiving in British Columbia. Specifically, this study asks, what the breadth and the depth of sexual health education is for students with ID in British Columbia and what specific challenges special educators face when trying to teach their students sexual health and how they try to overcome these challenges. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected through an online survey and were analyzed using a mixed methods research design. Based on the analysis, students with ID, in British Columbia, have limited access to learning sexual health education topics and sexual health education delivery methods, specifically evidence based practices, are inconsistent for students with ID. Challenges to teaching sexual health for adolescent students with ID include, lack of support from colleagues, administration, and parents in addition to a lack of professional development. Solutions include, professional development, specifically in sexual health education for students with ID, for classroom teachers, specialist teachers, parents and administration, in addition to improvement in communication between education assistants, classroom teachers and specialist teachers.