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It’s great to grow up

Stacey Atkinson Children’s Community Learning Disability Nurse, Children’s Learning Disability Nursing Team, York Tower’s Social Services Department, Leeds

Nursing Standard Nurse of the Year winner Stacey Atkinson discusses how parents and carers can be educated about the sexual development of children with learning disabilities

For many years the maturity of learning disabled children has been highly controversial. For example, Kempton (1978) suggested that teaching people with learning disabilities about sex raised fears among members of the public that it would result in people having sex all the time. In an influential book, Craft (1983) described people with learning disabilities who engaged in homosexual acts as being deviant. The sexual activities of learning disabled people have also been described as ‘highly emotive’ (Snell 1988) and ‘inappropriate’ (Blakey 1996). Today, many children with learning disabilities still receive no sex education.

Learning Disability Practice. 5, 10,28-30. doi: 10.7748/ldp2002.

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