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Youth in Transition Toolkit:


In(ter)dependent living

Healthy living

Relationships and sexuality

Does the youth have healthy relationships?

Meaningful relationships with friends and loving relationships with the people who are special to us provide the support we need to navigate the social world. Unfortunately, many people with disabilities lack strong social connections and live isolated lives. This can be a byproduct of communication difficulties, the impact of the disability on functioning, or overprotective families. Most young people want solid social and intimate connections with others, and families can work on the skills needed to make that happen.

Conversations about relationships and sexuality should address:

  • Healthy relationships (communication, consent, safety, private vs. public behavior)
  • Environmental influences (media, technology, society)
  • Sexual identity (orientation, gender identity and role)
  • Values and socialization (family, friends and peers, acquaintances, culture, religion)
  • Reproduction, including birth control and sexual health
  • Managing menstrual periods
  • Physical expression (pleasure, sensuality, intimacy)
  • Awareness: Understand basic concepts related to relationships and sexuality.
  • Exploration: Identify personal strengths, preferences, interests and needs related to relationships and sexuality.
  • Preparation: Practice relationship skills at home, school and in the community.
  • Implementation: Develop and maintain healthy relationships at home, school and in the community.

Workplace readiness training

Lightbulb LEARN

LEARN: Develop your knowledge

Learn how to support youth in exploring relationships and sexuality.

The Minnesota Department of Health offers the Minnesota evidenced-based prep curricula, an overview of curriculums and programs you can use to help youth learn how to respect and protect themselves.

Review an interactive webinar from the Family and Youth Services Bureau: Teach students with IDD about sexuality and healthy relationships.

Resources DO

DO: Work with youth

Find resources to help youth explore relationships and sexuality.

Mad Hatter Wellness provides a comprehensive sex education and health curriculum that educates and empowers people with disabilities and their support systems. Mad Hatter Wellness envisions a world that provides equitable health and wellness education for all people.

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