Sexual education for individuals with special needs: Understanding and overcoming current obstacles


neurodiverse population
sexual education
qualitative research


How to Cite

Melnikova, A. (2024). Sexual education for individuals with special needs: Understanding and overcoming current obstacles. Journal of Innovation in Polytechnic Education, 6, 40–54.


Sexual education has often been a highly debatable, underrated, and undervalued topic. Efforts to address this neglect have yielded significant progress. It is now integrated into numerous countries' educational systems curricula and has been actively promoted. However, progress in this realm has primarily favoured the neurotypical population, leaving the topic of sexuality and individuals with disabilities greatly undervalued and underrepresented. Additionally, existing policy frameworks frequently overlook the unique needs of individuals with disabilities, resulting in uneven delivery and quality of sexual education and programs.

Despite ongoing efforts, numerous obstacles persist, impeding equal access and distribution of sexual education and resources for individuals with special needs. These challenges raise important questions: Do these challenges differ depending on an individual's cultural background, gender identity or age? What sex education programs are available for the neurodiverse population? How can the existing barriers be effectively addressed?

This study aims to answer: “What are the barriers preventing equal access to sexual education or resources for individuals with special needs? How can these barriers be overcome?” Utilizing a qualitative approach, the study will involve direct observation of sexual education training for students with special needs, complemented by an online questionnaire featuring qualitative questions.

In this study, "people with special needs" encompasses individuals with different abilities across a range of conditions and severity levels, including those experiencing movement impairments and other challenges that necessitate special assistance. However, the challenges discussed in the current study predominantly pertain to those with the most severe developmental, cognitive, and physical conditions.


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