Date of Conferral





Human Services


Tracey M. Phillips



Sexual autonomy is the right and capacity of each individual to decide and make choices

about whom, when, and how they express themselves sexually. Individuals with

intellectual disabilities have frequently been marginalized, oppressed, and left out of

discussions about sexuality placing them at risk of abuse, unsafe sex practices, and

unplanned pregnancies. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the

usefulness of person-centered planning techniques in the development of an individual

service plan that address the social-sexual needs of individuals with intellectual

disabilities. Purposeful sampling was used to select 8 participants for this study. Specific

participants were selected because they possessed personal perspectives and experiences

regarding person-centered planning techniques. Data collection included semi-structured,

open-ended questions with face-to-face interviews and document review. Code

development began with systematic organization of narrative data that was thematically

analyzed using open-coding. Findings showed the person-centered individual service

plan is a tool that can empower and promote social-sexual autonomy for individuals with

intellectual disabilities if service and support administrators initiate a conversation about

social-sexual activity. Implications for social change include increased advocacy for

sexual autonomy, greater social acceptance of relationships, inclusive sexuality

programming for individuals with intellectual disabilities and professional development

training for service and support administrators.