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Sexuality Advocacy at YAI

For decades, YAI has been advocating for and supporting the sexual rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Full quality of life includes a person’s ability to exercise choice in the development of personal relationships and the expression of one’s sexuality. YAI has developed policy, trainings, and coursework that supports professionals, family caregivers, and people with I/DD to help people with I/DD fully realize their sexual rights.

In the past, issues of sexuality related to people with I/DD have been avoided, denied, or have become the upsetting truth that no one wants to talk about, while incidents of sexual abuse continue to rise. Sexuality is a basic, natural part of being human. It includes reproductive health, anatomy, sexual orientation, pleasure, body image, and so much more.

The wheel shows 8 descriptors of sexuality, all evenly distributed. Center text “Sexuality is” the 8 segments say: Anatomy (my body) Sexual Orientation (who I am attracted to) Gender Identity & Expression (who I am) Relationships (how I care) Body Image (how I feel about myself) Pleasure (what feels good) Sexual Activity (what I do) Sexual & Reproductive Health (my health and wellness). Adapted from a diagram by Planned Parenthood.
A wheel diagram of eight dimensions of sexuality.

People with I/DD have the same needs that all people have. Denying them the opportunity to learn about and explore those needs with appropriate supports result in unhappiness, loneliness, and atypical behaviors. YAI’s sexuality resources can be used by providers, professionals, caregivers and, most importantly, people with I/DD.

At YAI, we offer socialization programs, and a variety of trainings for people with I/DD, family caregivers, and support staff. We have experts who work with schools, programs, healthcare centers, police departments, and other organizations to provide training on puberty, consent, abuse, and other sexuality-related topics. Learn more about training opportunities.

In partnership with Planned Parenthood of Greater New York and other I/DD agencies, YAI is collaborating on Project SHINE—a three-year project to address inequalities in sexual health for young people with I/DD.

Upcoming sexuality trainings

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Sexuality and I/DD FAQ

Training and Workshop FAQs for Professionals and Educators

Stories focused on sexuality

Additional Resources