Experiences of teaching sexual and reproductive health to students with intellectual disabilities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There is growing awareness and international commitment to improving sexual and reproductive health for persons with intellectual disabilities. Despite this, people with intellectual disabilities continue to face stigma and have limited access to sexual health education and information. This qualitative phenomenological study uses data from 10 interviews to describe what it means to teach sexual and reproductive health and rights to students with intellectual disabilities at special-needs schools in southern Sweden. The meaning of teachers’ experience is described through their efforts to ‘accept the challenge to coach special-needs students into adulthood’. Findings show that sexual and reproductive health in special-needs schools covers a broad range of topics and that the teacher must adapt to students’ shifting needs. They also reveal that teachers are motivated and have access to the necessary resources to teach sexual and reproductive health but feel they lack the skills to address students’ particular sexual health issues, including questions of culture and religion. Schools are the main source of sexual health information in Sweden and therefore play a crucial role in providing equal education and promoting public health.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pedagogy
  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • Intellectual disability, phenomenology, sex education, Sweden, teachers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-412
Number of pages15
JournalSex Education
Issue number4
Early online date2020 Jan 7
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch