'Born This Way' Discusses Sex Education and Dating With Disabilities


Lauren Appelbaum is the communications director of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities.

Sexual education for young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities is extremely important. “Born This Way,” a reality television show that stars seven diverse young adults with Down syndrome, is doing its part to highlight this.

According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, an average of 59,000 adults with disabilities are raped or sexually assaulted each year. Approximately half of all adults with cognitive disabilities will experience 10 or more sexually abusive incidents in their lifetime.

The upcoming episode of “Born This Way” on June 20, 2017 highlights the importance of sexual education as it relates to dating and marriage. The cast speaks with Terri Couwenhoven MS, CSE, a well known sex educator and author. Couwenhoven specializes in the design and implementation of sexuality programs and resources for people with cognitive disabilities, their parents and the professionals who support them.

In coordination with Couwenhoven, RespectAbility has released a lengthy guide featuring resources for sexual education for children, teenagers and adults with disabilities, with a focus on those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“Born This Way,” which recently won an Emmy for being the best reality show on TV today, is not an ordinary reality show. It stars seven diverse young adults with Down syndrome. During season 3, episodes have tackled complex issues such as self-determination for people with disabilities in healthcare choices and the lack of employment opportunities for all people with disabilities.

The episode will air on Tuesday, June 20 at 10 PM ET/9c on A&E Network. Join RespectAbility for a live Twitter chat using #BornThisWay and #BTWchat.

Learn more at RespectAbility.


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