Starting the Conversation: Sexual Development for Adolescents With Disabilities


A fellow student and I had the opportunity to teach parents about sexual development for their adolescent children living with disabilities. We used an interactive setting where parents were able to communicate their questions and concerns through both verbal and non-verbal means. We tried to create a safe space where parents could voice their concerns without the fear of judgement. This style of information sharing allowed parents to contribute their experiences and knowledge, so they could learn from one another. Synthesizing their ideas helped highlight important reoccurring topics, which we could use as a guide for further meetings.

Although we were meant to do the teaching, I believe the most important development from this presentation was helping create a community, where parents could learn from one another and support each other through a process that many of them mentioned could feel quite confusing and isolating. As students, this was one of the most challenging and rewarding opportunities of nursing school. We used the knowledge we had gained in courses, such as Ethics and Relational Practice as a guide when answering questions and also integrated the theory and skills of capacity building and health promotion learned and developed in the N336 Nursing Practice with Communities and Populations course. Overall, I will never forget this experience as it has taught me that in the end the most important thing is to start the conversation.