Scoping Review of Sexual Health Education Interventions for Adolescents and Young Adults with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities

  • Elizabeth K. SchmidtEmail author
  • Christopher Brown
  • Amy Darragh
Original Paper


Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) may experience greater risk of sexually transmitted infections, higher rates of sexual abuse, and decreased sexual health knowledge, emphasizing the need for accessible, comprehensive sexual health education. The purpose of this scoping review was to identify the extent and nature of sexual health education interventions among individuals with I/DD ages 15–24 years. Six studies were included in the review. They investigated sexual health interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and mild I/DD, covered a wide range of topics (e.g. puberty, healthy relationships), included multiple learning activities (e.g. illustrations, activity-based learning), and measured behavior and sexual health knowledge outcomes. Future research is needed in this area to assess intervention effectiveness.


Intellectual disability Developmental disability Sexual health Reproductive health Education United States 



There was no funding for this review.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

Ms. Schmidt has intramural research grants from the Ohio State University to support a study analyzing the opinions of health care providers, educators, parents, and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities regarding sexual health education and to develop interactive learning activities to facilitate effective education. She also has received honorariums to present on the need for effective sexual health education among individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapy and

Human and Animal Rights

This review did not consist of human subjects research.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PNG 544 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health and Rehabilitation SciencesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.School of Medicine, Division of Occupational TherapyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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