MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: We Need Sexual Education for Special Education Students
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Sexuality is a key part of an individual’s life. People of all religions, belief systems, races, sexual preferences, and so on, agree that sex is a good and necessary thing; whether for pleasure or reproduction. The details of how and when sex is appropriate may vary, along with other personal set guidelines and values. Yet for some reason, when we discuss sexuality and more specifically, sexual education, the subject of persons with disabilities is left out. Unintentionally and sometimes intentionally, the world has developed the idea that students with IEP’s do not need sexual education courses/lectures as much as students in mainstream education. As a future educator of exceptional children, I am calling others to step up with me and educate these students; to aid them in their adult lives by prevention of sexual assault, encouragement of safe sex, and opportunity for personal relationships.
Aside from the desperate need of recognizing persons with disabilities as sexual beings, we must recognize the overwhelming prevailing evidence of sexual assault that happen to these persons as they face the open world. Children with a disability are three times more likely to be assaulted than a child without a disability, not including the variation in types of disability and assault that correlates with each. Unfortunately, sexual assault is already an uncomfortable topic for most of America so adding disability to the mix creates an even bigger resistance to talking about sexual assault. In an essay by Nancy Smith titled Sexual Abuse of Children with Disabilities: A National Snapshot, she states that, “Because silence insulates the community from awareness of this crime, no groundswell of voices reaches state and federal policymakers to motivate them to address sexual abuse of children with disabilities through resources or policy. Without a growth in awareness and public outcry, it will continue unnoticed by anyone except the victims” (Smith; Vera Institute of Justice). How sad it is that the discomfort of a nation is harming an entire group of persons.
Make your voice heard and fight for comprehensive Sexual Education for our Exception Students; beginning in your state and reaching nationwide! Let us protect our Exceptional Students by educating them and granting them greater access to be seen as our equals.
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