Dating, Relationships & Sexuality


Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)

Impact – Feature Issue on Sexuality and People with Intellectual, Developmental and Other Disabilities, Spring/Summer 2010, The University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration

UMN Center for Sexual Health -  Our clinic promotes the sexual health of individuals, couples, and families of all backgrounds and ages by providing assessment and treatment. We have helped thousands of people with sexual health issues.  Our faculty and professional staff represent a variety of disciplines including psychology, family medicine, psychiatry, marital and family therapy, education and epidemiology.

MN Ombudsman (651) 431-2555


Safe Boundaries, Personal Living: Human Development/Sexuality Educational Program for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities is a curriculum designed to empower people with developmental disabilities with knowledge in order for them to exercise their rights, make healthy choices, and protect themselves from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Learn how to take away the stigma behind Human Development & Sexuality while protecting the rights and safety of people with developmental disabilities. Safe Boundaries brings this topic to light by explaining philosophies and providing turn-key lesson plans and activities for providers and educators. 

Human Sexuality Education for Students with Special Needs; and Puberty Education for Students with Special Needs are curriculum that sets out key principles in support of human sexuality education for students with special needs. The theoretical framework is intended to advocate for healthy sexuality for youngsters with special needs. By examining particular issues in the area of disseminating sex education, MarshMedia seeks to supply parents and educators and other advocates in the field with guidance and support. When considering our target audience, we chose to focus on students with mild to moderate disabilities. We designed a framework of ordered, factual information using uncomplicated language and illustration models to help parents and educators initiate instruction and discussion, and maintain a positive attitude.

Circles Program, by Marilyn P. Champagne and Leslie W. Walker-Hirsch - The Circles Program assists students to discriminate different degrees of intimacy and to adapt their behaviors accordingly. The program teaches students how relationships can be formed and maintained according to the social norms of our day. Thus, the CIRCLES Program lays the foundation for people with social deficits due to their disabilities to manage the amount of personal responsibility and social integration in their lives.

Life Cycle: How We Grow and Change: A Human Development and Sexuality Education, by Sherrie M. Vavrichek & R. Kay Tolle - This comprehensive curriculum is designed for adolescents and adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities. The curriculum addresses the major aspects of psycho-social and sexual development throughout the human life cycle.

Social Skills and Sex Education Program, by Mark & Syl Steege - Social Skills & Sex Education is a series of audio CD's, corresponding pictures, and tutorial scripts that responsibly educate adults about basic sex education. The first section of the series teaches about male and female bodies and their sexual functioning. The second section focuses on touch of self and others, including what is and what is not appropriate. An excellent resource for group homes, independent living centers and other agencies devoted to improving the lives of people with developmental disabilities


Everything You NEVER Wanted Your Kids to Know about Sex (But Were Afraid They’d Ask): The Secrets to Surviving Your Child’s Sexual Development from Birth to the Teens, by Richardson, Justin, MD; and Schuster, Mark A. MD and PhD. (Crown Publishers. 2003) “Our generation was supposed to have sex all figured out. We knew it was healthy. We were too cool to ever get flustered. Then we had kids. And when those kids showed up with sexual ambitions of their own, suddenly we didn’t feel so cool anymore.”

Sex and Sensibility – A Parent’s Guide to Talking Sense about Sex, by Roffman, Deborah M., MS. (Perseus Publishing. 2001) “Adults everywhere worry about children being overstimulated or confused, or about putting ideas in their heads, or overwhelming them with “too much, too soon.” They wonder about the child sitting in a classroom who isn’t “ready,” even though her or his “more advanced” classmates might be, or what they’ll do if their child tells another child down the block who doesn’t know yet and an angry parent calls up. They want to know if it's all right to bring up the subject, even if their child hasn’t mentioned it yet.

Speaking of Sex: Are you Ready to Answer the Questions Your Kids Will Ask?” by Hickling, Meg, RN, Canada’s Best Sex Educator (Northstone Publishing, Inc., 1996) “With sensitivity, honesty, and a good deal of humor, Meg addresses the real questions she has been asked over the years by children. She provides practical, no nonsense, up-to-date suggestions and encouragement for parents addressing sexuality and sexual health issues with their children. Sads, mads, glads, wet dreams, periods, condoms, safe sex, curious questions from pre-schoolers and many other topics are all addressed in an easy-to-read style.”

S.T.A.R.S. A Social Skills Training Guide for Teaching Assertiveness, Relationship Skills, and Sexual Awareness, by Heighway, Susan M. RN, MS, and Webster, Susan Kidd, MSSW (Future Horizons, Inc., 2008) “Specially designed for teaching adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities, the STARS model focuses on four areas: Understanding Relationships, Social Interaction, Sexual Awareness and Assertiveness – with the goals of promoting positive sexuality and preventing sexual abuse. Assessment tools help identify the strengths and needs of each individual and the activities can be catered to address specific needs.”

Straight from the Heart: How to Talk to Your Teenagers about Love and Sex, by Cassell, Carol. Ph.D. (Simon & Schuster, Inc. 1987) Cassell, former president of the American Association of Sex Educators, provides perspectives on contraception, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, homosexuality, etc., with guidelines on how to discuss each with a teenager. She focuses on how teens feel about these topics. She hopes to assist parents in helping ``a son or daughter become a sane and sensible sexual person, without the sexual hangups of the past, but with an appreciation of the responsibilities involved in having sexual choices.'' This book may offend persons who believe that the only sexual advice to give teens is ``NO''; for all others it is a valuable sourcebook.

Learn About Life: Sexuality & Social Skills -This book provides below-level readers with an illustrated education curriculum and social skills program covering puberty, dating, pregnancy, STDs and more. It uses candid, realistic and original graphics, along with simple text.

Sex Education for Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, by Mark Steege and Shannon L. Peck - This manual gives you much of the information you need to provide your child with sex education and social skills training without any other formal training.

Sexuality, Your Sons and Daughters with Intellectual Disabilities, by Karin Melberg Schwier and Dave Hingsburgher - Parents have a key role in making sure their child develops healthy sexuality, that sense of self and confidence that helps make us all well-adjusted and strong individuals. In this touching and lively book, you'll learn how to interact with your children - no matter their age or ability - in a way that increases self-esteem, encourages appropriate behavior, empowers them to recognize and respond to abuse, and enables them to develop lifelong relationships.

Socialization and Sexuality, by Winifred Kempton - This encyclopedia of information on socialization and sexuality is an invaluable resource for special educators, teachers, psychologists, social workers, and parents – all people who want to increase the social satisfaction and sexual safety of individuals with disabilities that hinder learning.


Hand Made Love: a Guide for Teaching About Male Masturbation, by Dave Hingsburger, (DVD format)  This book and DVD set aimed at men with developmental disabilities discusses privacy, pleasure and the realities of sharing living spaces with others. The narrator of the video talks about myths and suggests that masturbation can be a way of learning about sex, while the book discusses masturbation from the point of view of both health and pleasure.

Finger Tips: a Guide for Teaching about Female Masturbation, by Dave Hingsburger & Sandra Haar, (DVD format)  This book and DVD set is aimed at teaching women with developmental disabilities about masturbation. It also confronts typical myths about female sexuality. A gentle, positive film that is clear, graphic and dignified. The book includes a step by step photographic essay about masturbation, and the joy of private time.

Making Connections/Roots and Wings -DVD, An important video from the producers of the award winning "Person to Person" on sexuality education for teenagers with cognitive disabilities. In this video, you will meet several teens with special needs and watch as their caregivers and parents prepare them for adulthood. The strong roots of caregivers, family and friends help the teenagers develop their wings of independence.

Relationships and Sexuality

Circles Program, by Marilyn P. Champagne and Leslie W. Walker-Hirsch - The Circles Program assists students to discriminate different degrees of intimacy and to adapt their behaviors accordingly. The program teaches students how relationships can be formed and maintained according to the social norms of our day. Thus, the CIRCLES Program lays the foundation for people with social deficits due to their disabilities to manage the amount of personal responsibility and social integration in their lives.

Strong Love DVD - Strong Love is the story of world-class weight lifter Jon Shapiro and his childhood sweetheart Holly James, both of whom were born with Down syndrome. This documentary follows the couple over the course of three years, starting with their decision to get married. Their challenges, their triumphs, and their complex, sometimes surprising relationships with family and friends are at the heart of this inspiring film.