Date of Conferral







Chet Lesniak


A consistent gap in previous studies was sexuality education and sexual orientation, as well as how to disseminate the sexual education material in a format that would be useful to individuals with IDD, parents, and caregivers. This biographical study addresses the understanding of sexuality and sexual orientation of an individual with intellectual developmental disorder (IDD), as reported by his parents. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews, documents, and social media sites belonging to the participants. The theoretical framework for this study was social constructivism; a thematic analysis was used for data analysis. The six themes that emerged from this research study include: lack of certainty and confusion about disability; early childhood peer interaction, sexual education, exploration and bullying; family communication and supportive family structure; coming out; and, social media, privacy, and safety. Theme identification indicated that parents, caretakers, and individuals with IDD need more information including scripted, detailed sexuality and sexual orientation education, support in understanding and navigating social media dating sites, and information on dating etiquette. Findings may contribute to social change by providing a foundation for sexual education curricula to support the needs of individuals diagnosed with IDD.

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