04 SES 07 B, Teachers' Knowledge And Sense Of Self: A Research Overview
The World Health Organization (2006) defined sexual health as “a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence”. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled”. This situation must be experienced by all people including people with disabilities (WHO, 2015), especially since they share the same type of desires and impulses as individuals without disabilities (Pereira, Teixeira, & Nobre, 2018; Girgin-Büyükbayraktar, Konuk-Er, & Kesici, 2017; Frawley, & Wilson, 2016; Maia, 2016; McDaniels, & Fleming, 2016). The International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education report (UNESCO, 2010) stated that the lack of adequate preparation for sexual life leaves young people potentially vulnerable to coercion, abuse and exploitation, unwanted pregnancies and I.S.T. Research has been describing that people with intellectual disability are at greater risk of sexual abuse (Phasha, & Runo, 2017; Eastgate, van Driel, Lennox, & Scheermeyer, 2011; Schaafsma, Kok, Stoffelen, & Curfs, 2017). At the same time, people with intellectual disability experience greater difficulty in finding and maintaining significant relationships (Schaafsma et al., 2017). These problems may have several explanations, namely gaps in knowledge regarding sexual issues (Healy, McGuire, Evans, & Carley, 2009) and lack of social, behavioural and decision-making skills (Hayashi, Arakida, & Ohashi, 2011; Maia, 2016). In this context, parents and teachers often exacerbate, through silence, constraints, and the absence of frank conversations, the contradictory and confusing messages about sexuality and gender that young people receive, namely through the internet and the media (UNESCO, 2010). Knowledge about teaching sex education to students with intellectual disability is limited explored in literature. Despite being recognized as fundamental, the way people with disabilities live their sexuality is still far from ideal (Schaafsma et al., 2017). This study aimed to examine the effects of an in-service training delivered to special education teachers on their knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy beliefs toward sexuality education and intellectual disability.
The sample comprised an experimental group (n=20) and a control group (n=20). Teachers volunteer to participate in the in-service teacher training. The control group had similar characteristics of the experimental group and was waiting to participate in the next edition of the training. The in-service teacher training was implemented through four weeks in 3-hour sessions. Contents addressed four key topics: concepts of sexuality, sex education, sex development; the importance of promoting sex education among students with disabilities, and its contextualization in the legislation and literature; the importance of involving students, parents and educational community in sex education of students with intellectual disability; educational interventions relevant to the lives of students with intellectual disability, with emphasis on the identification and promotion of protective measures against abuse and coercion among these students. The training effects were measured through a questionnaire applied at the beginning and at the end of the in-service teacher training. This questionnaire evaluated Teachers’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Self-Efficacy towards Sexuality Education and Intellectual Disabilities (Gonzalez-Acquaro, 2009). After the training completion, teachers were asked to evaluate the training and reflect about in what extent they would include knowledge and skills addressed by the training into their daily routines.
The data of this study support the program feasibility and its effects in promoting teachers’ competence to provide sex education to students with intellectual disability. Teachers in the experimental group scored significantly higher compared to teachers in the control group on the knowledge, attitudes and self-efficacy dimensions. Teachers who feel more competent will likely be in a better position to help families deal with students' sexuality and, above all, will be better prepared to help students understand their sexuality. Results will be discussed considering the importance of providing teachers skills and opportunities to work, despite their possible conflicting feelings, on sex education in their daily routines. Moreover, it will be discussed in what extent sex education to students with intellectual disability has been systematically overlooked in the inclusive education discourse, which recognizes social inclusion of students as a critical dimension.
Eastgate, G., van Driel, M. L., Lennox, N., Scheermeyer, E. (2011). Women with intellectual disabilities: a study of sexuality, sexual abuse and protection skills. Aust. Fam. Physician, 40, 226–230. Frawley, P., & Wilson, N.J. (2016). Young people with intellectual disability talking about sexuality education and information. Sex Disabil, 34(4), 469-484. doi: 10.1007/s11195-016-9460-x Girgin-Büyükbayraktar, Ç., Konuk-Er, R., & Kesici, S. (2017). According to the opinions of teachers of individuals with intellectual disabilities: what are the sexual problems of students with special education needs? How should sexual education be provided for them?. Journal of Education and Practice., 8(7), 107- 115. Gonzalez-Acquaro, K (2009). Teacher training, sexuality education, and intellectual disabilities: An online workshop. Current Issues in Education, 11 (9). Hayashi, M., Arakida, M, & Ohashi, K. (2011). The effectiveness of a sex education program facilitating social skills for people with intellectual disability in Japan. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 36(1), 11-19. Healy, E., McGuire, B. E., Evans, D. S., & Carley, S. N. (2009). Sexuality and personal relationships for people with an intellectual disability. Part I: service-user perspectives. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 53(11), 905-912. Maia, A.C.B. (2016). Vivência da sexualidade a partir do relato de pessoas com deficiência intelectual. Psicologia em Estudo, 21(1),77-88. McDaniels, M., & Fleming, A. (2016). Sexuality education and intellectual disability: time to address the challenge. Sex Disabil, 34(2), 215-225. Pereira, R., Teixeira, P. M., & Nobre, P. J. (2018). Perspectives of Portuguese People with Physical Disabilities Regarding Their Sexual Health: A Focus Group Study. Sexuality and Disability, 36(4), 389-406. Phasha, T.N., & Runo, M. (2017). Sexuality education in schools for learners with intellectual disabilities in Kenya: empowerment or disempowerment?. Sex Disabil. 35(3), 353–370. Schaafsma, D., Kok, G., Stoffelen, J.M.T. et al. (2017). People with Intellectual Disabilities Talk About Sexuality: Implications for the Development of Sex Education. Sex Disabil 35, 21–38. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11195-016-9466-4 UNESCO. (2010). Orientação técnica internacional sobre educação em sexualidade - Uma abordagem baseada em evidências para escolas, professores e educadores em saúde. Paris: UNESCO. World Health Organization (2015). Sexual health, human rights and the law. Genebra: World Health Organization. World Health Organization. (2006). Defining sexual health: Report of a technical consultation on sexual health. Genebra, Suiça, World Health Organization.
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