||Safeguarding People who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) from Sexual Abuse / Victimization
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Sexual Health Issues for People who
Speak Up Project 2004
Sexual Health for adults who use AAC is often compromised because of one
or more of the following factors:
- Prevalence of myths/overprotection/negative attitudes regarding
the sexuality of people with disabilities which results in systemic and
individual barriers to healthy sexuality and expression for AAC users.
- Censorship of sexual health information.
- Lack of access to print and other media information about sexual health
particularly sexual health and disability.
- Restricted sources of information about sexuality (e.g. television).
- Omission of sexual education of youth with disabilities.
- Reduced opportunities and access to social venues to develop healthy
- Reduced sense of personal worth and identity relating to sexuality and
- Lack of access to positive role-models in the community.
- The medicalization of the bodies of people with disabilities resulting
in the omission of “pleasure” from sexual health information.
- Restricted privacy with respect to home, transportation, and communication.
- Lack of vocabulary and supports to learn new vocabulary to communicate
- Lack of people with whom to communicate confidentially about sexual
- Lack of access to social dialogue on sexuality (spontaneous and informal
social moments and opportunities).
- Lack of training and policies for attendants to assist with safer sex
procedures and/or birth control.
- Lack of training and support for AAC users in communicating with their
attendants about their sexual needs.
- Lack of training for attendants around attitudes toward disability and
- Lack of autonomy and choice regarding one’s lifestyle and relationship
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