The sexual development of young people with intellectual disabilities is a marker of their transition to adulthood and affects their sense of well being and identity. Cognitive impairments and a socially marginalized position increase dependence on their families to assist with sexual matters. In this study, the authors adopted a novel interpretive phenomenological analysis approach, asking 8 mothers to contrast their experience of supporting similarly aged siblings with and without intellectual disabilities. Acknowledgment of their nondisabled offspring's sexuality was demanded by increasing autonomy, whereas continuing dependence of the offspring with intellectual disabilities hindered mothers who were addressing this intensely private and sensitive issue with them. The topic of sexuality brought to the forefront mothers' fears about their offspring's ability to cope with the challenges of adulthood.

You do not currently have access to this content.