Clinicians’ use of sexual knowledge assessment tools for people with intellectual disability

Vanessa R. Thompson, Roger J. Stancliffe, Alex Broom, Nathan J. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background Many people with intellectual disability have limited sexual knowledge. Several assessment tools have been developed to assess the sexual knowledge of people with intellectual disability. This paper examines how clinicians’ are using these tools. Method This research uses a constructivist grounded theory approach. Semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with clinicians who use sexual knowledge assessment tools. Findings and Discussion Assessment of sexual knowledge is not routine in disability service provision. Sexual knowledge is typically only assessed when there has been an incident of problematic sexualised behaviour. This reactive approach perpetuates a pathological sexual health discourse. Conclusions Clinicians using assessment tools said that they need the tools to support work they do in relation to sexual health of people with intellectual disability. However, they also reported that the tools have gaps and are not fully meeting their needs or the needs of people with intellectual disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-254
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability, Inc.


  • clinician
  • intellectual disability
  • sexual health
  • sexual knowledge assessment tools


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