Sexuality and intellectual disability: Perspectives of young women with intellectual disability

Bleazard, Adele Venitia (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2010-03)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study focuses on the intersection of disability and gender: being intellectually disabled and being a young woman. It specifically, explores the lives of intellectually disabled young women and sexuality. This study attempts to explore the contributions that intellectually disabled young women can make to the understanding of the sexuality needs and concerns of young women with intellectual disability. It is an attempt to make public their needs and concerns regarding sexuality issues as they have been recognised to be the ultimate lost voices in disability research, and have historically been excluded in the production of sexuality knowledge. A mixed method approach is used, where the data for the research was produced during interviews with 21 participants between the ages of 18 and 23. A focus group discussion was also held. All the women were either current learners or past learners at a school for “mentally handicapped learners”. Ten mothers were interviewed with regard to their views on sexuality and their intellectually disabled daughters. A questionnaire was given to 12 teachers to complete as well. Involving mothers and teachers is an attempt to establish the dominant views of the significant persons and professionals in the lives of these young women, including those who are directly and indirectly responsible for their sexuality education. In interviews and the focus group, study participants discussed the various social messages they receive, as intellectually disabled persons, with regard to domains of sexuality: friendship, dating, and marriage. The participants gave insight into the levels of their knowledge with regards to sex and sexuality education, menstruation, contraception, pregnancy and childbirth, and sexually transmitted infections. The young women shared their predominantly negative experiences of being stereotyped, with some participants expressing their resentment. Their low levels of social, biological, and physiological sexuality knowledge make appropriate sexuality education a priority. The study concludes with recommendations regarding the type of sexuality education the young women propose and suggested responses for special schools.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie focus op die kruispad van gestremdheid en geslag: om intellektueel gestremd en om ‘n jong vrou te wees. Dit ondersoek spesifiek die lewens van intellektuele gestremde jong vroue en seksualitiet. Hierdie studie poog om die bydraes te verken wat intellektueel gestremde jong vrouens kan maak om die seksualiteitsbehoeftes en bekommernisse van jong vrouens met intellektuele gestremdheid te verstaan. Dit is ‘n poging om hulle behoeftes en bekommernisse oor seksualitiet hoorbaar te maak omdat dit as die opperste verlore stem in navorsing oor gestremdheid uitgewys is, en hulle histrories van die generering van kennis oor seksualitiet uitgesluit is. Die benadering is ‘n gemengde metode waartydens data vir die navorsing gedurende onderhoude met 21 deelnemers tussen die ouderdomme van 18 en 23 jaar gegenereer is. ‘n Fokusgreopbespreking is ook gehou. Al die vroue is òf huidige òf vorige leerders van ‘n skool vir “versatndelike gestremde leerders”. Onderhode is met tien moeders gevoer ten opsigste van hulle beskouings oor seksualitiet en hulle verstandelik gestremde dogters. ‘n Vraelys is ook vir 12 onderwysers gegee om te voltooi. Die moeders en onderwysers is betrek in ‘n poging om die heersende beskouings van die betekenisvolle persone en professionele mense in die lewens van hierdie jong vrouens te bepaal, insluitend diegene vat direk en indirek vir hulle seksualiteitsopvoeding verantwoordelik is. Tydens die onderhoude en fokusgroepbespreking het die deelnemers aan die studie die onderskeie social boodskappe wat hulle as verstandelik gestremde persone kry, bespreek met verwysing na die domeine van seksualitiet: vriendskap, uitgaan en die huwelik. Die deelnemers het lig gewerp op hulle vlakke van kennis oor seks en seksualiteitsonderrig, mesntuasie, voorbehoeding, swangerskap en kindergeboorte, en seksueel oordraagbare infeksies. Die jong vroue het hul oorwegend negatiewe ervarings van stereotipering gedeel, en sommige deelnemers het hulle afkeer uitgespreek. Hulle lae vlakke van sosiale, biologiese en fisiologiese kennis van seksualiteit maak toepaslike seksualiteitsvoorligting ‘n prioriteit. Die studie sluit af met aanbevelings oor die tipe seksualiteitsopvoeding wat die jong vroue voorstel en stel wyses voor waarop spesiale skole kan reageer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/4006
This item appears in the following collections: