Sex and relationships education: potential and challenges perceived by teachers of the deaf


  • The term deaf is used throughout to mean any degree of permanent deafness from mild to profound.


Providing children who are deaf with accessible, age-appropriate guidance and support in learning about growing up is of great importance for their healthy sexual development. This quantitative survey study is part of an exploratory research program with the goal of providing empirical data on the growth of sexual understanding in deaf children (the term ‘deaf’ includes all children with a permanent hearing loss). A short questionnaire was used to explore the views of teachers of the deaf on this subject as well as to provide an insight into the challenges these professionals face in the area of sex education. The study's findings highlight an overall concern over the suitability of current methods and materials often used to teach mainstreamed deaf children about sexuality and relationships. The data show a demand for a sex education module for teachers of the deaf and a need for deaf-friendly sex education material. The study's findings could support schools' efforts to implement a sex and relationships education policy that is inclusive and beneficial for all children, but especially for deaf children's development into confident, responsible and well-informed young adults. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.