text reads, sexual education resources for parents of people with intellectual developmental disabilities, image of a white woman and man, smiling, the man appears to have Down syndrome and his arm is around the woman

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This is a collection of sexual education resources for parents of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

Many thanks to Katherine McLaughlin of Elevatus Training.

The free pdf is available for download at the end of this post. Amazon links are affiliate – if you buy something from them, Amazon gives me a tiny percentage of the profit; you do not pay more, Jeff Bezos just gets less. Thank you – it goes to help support this site.

I think sex education is one of the scariest things for us parents of people who have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Like all parents, many of us probably have apprehension about our kids growing up, point blank. But then when you add intellectual and/or developmental disability on to that, AND the scary statistics of sexual abuse and intellectual/developmental disabilities, and it’s even scarier. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to bury their head in the sand – that’s my preferred place, too!

But our heads in the sand won’t keep our kids safe; knowledge and education will.

Let’s learn what we need to be aware of, how to talk to our kids about sexuality, and learn where to turn to for more education and training.

Online Virtual Course on Sexuality Education

I interviewed Katherine McLaughlin of Elevatus Training after I found them online. I was impressed by the quality of work that she does, her disability “with-it-ness.”

The program that she has created is stellar, and it’s online now for us parents. She also courses for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities, and there are self-advocate run courses as well.

I cannot recommend these highly enough:

Talking with Your Kids: Sexuality and Developmental Disabilities. Katherine McLaughlin, 2017 

All courses from Elevatus are linked here: www.elevatustraining.com

Books on Sex Ed and Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities

Books are always a great way to ease into conversations or normalize things, right? We do that a lot of over in my house. I like these books – most of which were recommended by Katherine McLaughlin – because they run the gamut from picture-book explaining to full text. They are disability appropriate and use simpler language (notice a couple from Dave Hinsgsburger, whom I featured quite a few years ago?!)

The Book List:

 Teaching Children with Down Syndrome about Their Bodies, Boundaries, and Sexuality. Terri  Couwenhoven. Woodbine House. 2007 

 The Boy’s Guide to Growing Up: Choices and Changes During Puberty. Terri Couwenhoven. Woodbine House. 2012 

The Girl’s Guide to Growing up: Choices and Changes During the Tween Years. Terri  Couwenhoven. Woodbine House. 2012 

Boyfriends and Girlfriends: A Guide to Dating for People with Disabilities, Terri Couwenhoven. Woodbine House. 2015

I Openers: Parents Ask Questions About Sexuality and Children with Developmental DisabilitiesDave Hingsburger. Family Support Institute Press. 1993 

Sexuality: Your Sons and Daughters with Intellectual Disabilities. Karen Melberg Schwier and  David Hingsburger. 

Just Say Know: Understanding and Reducing the Risk of Sexual Victimization of People with  Developmental Disabilities. Dave Hingsburger. Diverse city Press, Inc. 1995 

It’s So Amazing. Robie Harris, Candlewick Press, 1999 

It’s Perfectly Normal. Robie Harris, Candlewick press, 1994 

 Changing Bodies, Changing Lives. Ruth Bell, Three Rivers Press, 1998 [/vc_column_text][/vc_column]


Katherine McLaughlin gave me a few more websites but they have unfortunately fallen out of commission. It would be nice to have or know of more resources, so if you hear of any, would you please link in the comments? Thanks.

Sexuality Resource Center for Parents: www.srcp.org 

Planned Parenthood: www.plannedparenthood.org 

Advocates for Youth: www.advocatesforyouth.org 


The only one in this section is really the only one we need: it’s the series that was produced by Rooted in Rights, by and for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities about sex, sexuality and sex-safety.

It’s brilliant, gorgeously crafted – I love the colors! Check it out below:

Sex Ed Series by and for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities – combination multi-video and link resource and interview with the person whose brainchild it was

Articles & Resources

Plain Language Guide for Sexual Education: http://wfrec.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/9-30-19-NCIL-Sex-Ed-Easy-Read-Discussion-Guide.pdf

GULP! Newsletter: Talking with Your Young and Grown Children with I/DD


Articles, resource, free information on Elevatus Training:


Download These Resources

All of these are available to download in a free pdf, linked here: Sex Ed Resources

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