206395 Needs Assessment of Healthy Sexuality Education for Youth with Disabilities in Massachusetts

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pialee Roy, MA , Healthy Aging & Disability Unit, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, MA
Marci Diamond, MPA , Sexual Assault Prevention and Survivor Services, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, MA
Jeanne Ward, BA , Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Wheelock College, Boston, MA
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) is administering a statewide needs assessment to increase understanding of the needs of youth with disabilities, and the systems and families that provide for them, regarding healthy relationships and sexuality education. This CDC-funded collaborative effort involving MDPH's Division of Violence and Injury Prevention and Office on Health and Disability also aims to identify related gaps in wellness and violence prevention supports and educational resources in the state. Among Massachusetts high school students, 12% of males with a disability reported being physically hurt by a date compared with 4% without a disability (MA YHS, 2007). Similarly, 15% of females with a disability reported dating violence compared to 4% of those without a disability. Youth with disabilities may not receive enough, if any, information or education supports regarding healthy relationships and sexuality at school or at home because they are often not acknowledged as having similar sexual health and relationship needs as their non-disabled peers (Fine & McClelland, 2006; Keshav & Huberman; Mihokovic & Leutar, 2007). Three online surveys will address these issues with providers, parents, and youth with disabilities. Questions were designed based on a review of existing sexual health surveys in Massachusetts and other states. Questions about resources, curricula content, training and education regarding: consent and non-consent, pregnancy and STI's, abuse and healthy relationships, are included. Survey results will enhance data-driven program curricula in Massachusetts and inform recommendations for future programming content on healthy sexuality and violence prevention for youth with disabilities.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify needs of youth with disabilities regarding healthy relationships and sexuality education

Keywords: Disability, Adolescent Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: 1.Education:M.A.Child & Family Policy, Thesis on Adolescent Health and Programming, B.S. Human Development,Disabilities studies. 2. Work Experience with Department of Public Health, Healthy Aging & Disability Unit, Youth Development, Early Intervention. 3. Past experience as poster presenter with related content (2003 SRCD Meeting).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.