As human beings, individuals with Down syndrome have the right to emotionally satisfying and culturally appropriate sexual expression. As patients, they have the right to routine reproductive health care provided to the general population. Cognitive and language disabilities may predispose this population to unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, and sexual exploitation. Sex education tailored to cognitive level, learning style, and living arrangements is essential to the education of children and young adults with Down syndrome. Down Syndrome Research and Practice , 3 2 , Issues of sexuality accompany each stage of human development. Sexual tasks for infants and pre-school aged children include the development of physical and emotional attachment to parents and other family members; issues for school aged children are the emergence of modesty and privacy as well as the beginning of masturbation [ Table 1 ] Haka- Ikse and Mian, ; Grant, Personal safety and self-esteem become important issues for adolescents and young adults [see Table 1] Haka-Ikse and Mian,
Do Individuals with Down Syndrome Have Sexual Feelings?
Creating positive messages from the start; how can parents get the ball rolling?
Maryanne Martin and Tommy Pilling. Dating can be brutal, no matter who you are. These feelings and experiences are no different for many adults with Down Syndrome leading active, and fulfilling romantic lives. According to to Couwenhoven, this is partly due to cultural stigma and sex shaming that affects the general population as a whole. Couwenhoven partially attributes much of the lack of information about sexuality in people with Down Syndrome to common misconceptions that individuals with the condition are sterile, incapable of, and uninterested in sex. A lack of open and frank communication regarding sexual health can also lead to disparities in access to gynecological healthcare. Specialized sex education resources for people with Down Syndrome are increasingly in demand, Couwenhoven explains, but can be incredibly difficult for individuals and their caregivers to access. The presence of caregivers is—in many cases—an obstacle itself, and parental anxiety can be a huge barrier to learning about sex and dating.
What do we mean by sexuality and sex and relationships education?
This may feel a bit daunting, but it is a normal and a natural part of growing up. They will need to learn what relationships mean and how they can have a happy, safe relationship. You can find more information in our Puberty, adolesccence and sexual health booklet. Find out how our Information Team can help you and how to get in touch with support groups in your local area. You will find a lot of information on these pages. We have developed an easy read guide about coronavirus. It is designed to help people who have Down's syndrome to understand cornonavirus and know what to look out for. It will enable staff to offer the best support to expectant parents, from the very beginning of the screening process, and to new parents. See More See Less. Fundraising Events From baking a cake to running a marathon, we have events for everyone to take part in!
All children and young people should be entitled to good quality sex and relationships education that will allow them to develop the qualities, attitudes, skills and knowledge to develop into healthy, happy and fulfilled adults. Wood, A. Down Syndrome News and Update , 4 2 , This article describes why Sexuality and Relationships Education SRE as part of the school curriculum is especially important for individuals with Down syndrome and how parents and professionals can work together to ensure that it is delivered effectively.