Sexualized Behavior

Sexual development begins during early childhood as individuals learn appropriate and inappropriate ways of touching their own and others’ bodies. During this time, children also begin to understand that talking about sexual behaviors can be inappropriate in certain situations. This knowledge is obtained through observations of the behavior of others, peer interactions, and caregiver responses to such behaviors. Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) usually develop sexually in a manner that is identical to their typically developing peers. Oftentimes, however, individuals with ID/DD are not exposed to the same social opportunities that lead to understanding of appropriate sexual behavior, which may result in a higher occurrence of inappropriate sexualized behaviors among this population. Inappropriate sexualized behaviors include public masturbation, disrobing, or touching others in ...

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