Predictors of access to sex education for children with intellectual disabilities in public schools

Lucy Barnard-Brak, Marcelo Schmidt, Steven Chesnut, Tianlan Wei, David Richman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (SRI International, 2002) were analyzed to identify variables that predicted whether individuals with intellectual disability (ID) received sex education in public schools across the United States. Results suggested that individuals receiving special education services without ID were only slightly more likely to receive sex education than students with mild ID (47.5% and 44.1%, respectively), but the percentage of students with moderate to profound ID that received sex education was significantly lower (16.18%). Analysis of teacher opinions and perceptions of the likelihood of the students benefiting from sex education found that most teachers indicated that students without ID or with mild ID would benefit (60% and 68%, respectively), but the percentage dropped to 25% for students with moderate to profound ID. Finally, across all students, the only significant demographic variable that predicted receipt of sex education was more expressive communication skills. Results are discussed in terms of ensuring equal access to sex education for students with ID in public schools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-97
Number of pages13
JournalIntellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Intellectual disability
  • Public schools
  • Sex education


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