These materials are from the archive of the SSC Website and may be outdated.


University of Edinburgh

Batteries not Included - an exploration of issues in sex education and sexuality for people with multiple disabilities

Feedback / Questions and Answers / Course Evaluation

Additional material

Putting together a policy – where to get information?

Scottish Executive Guidance on Sex Education

Downs, C. and Craft, A. (1997) Sex in context, Pavilion Publishing, Brighton

RNIB (2000), Sexual Health Resources for Young People who are Blind or Partially Sighted

Current policies

What’s available in your schools?

We have included an Exemplar Policy , which has a number of key elements:

  • It starts from a position of being ‘sex-positive’, a policy that gives a clear message that people should be able to develop lifestyles of their choice, including having sexual relationships.
  • It states that the organisation’s role is to offer support, information and guidance.
  • Support offered should be proactive – we should not always wait for a problem to arise.
  • Support should be offered within the context of an individual’s preferred communication approaches and learning styles.
  • Support should be agreed in collaboration with others and central to this is the individual.
  • It tackles the issue of consent and offers guidance to staff how to conclude that consent is / is not being given.
  • It establishes a link with organisational policies on protection.
  • It gives clear guidance on the decision making process and recommends the establishment of a ‘Personal Planning Group’ so that individual staff are not acting alone.
  • It spells out the roles and responsibilities that are played by all concerned, giving clear guidance about the nature of any support of an intimate or sexual nature. This includes the responsibility of the organisation to offer support and training to its staff.
  • It encourages monitoring and review, with clear accountability and a record-keeping process.

Reference and resource list

Aitken, S. and Millar, S. (2002) Listening to children with communication support needs, Sense Scotland, Glasgow and CALL Centre, University of Edinburgh

Atkinson, D., Gingell, A. and Martin, J. (1997) I have the right to know – a course on sexuality and personal relationships for people with learning difficulties, BILD Publications

Brandenburg, S (1998) ‘Sex Education, who is limited? Knowledge, skills and feelings of both parties’ in Sex Education and Young People with visual impairment, Proceedings from conference 25th March, 1998, Scottish Sensory Centre, University of Edinburgh

Bunck, D. (1989) ‘Guidelines for sex education for the deafblind in Proceedings from DbI European conference, Warwick, 1989

Carson, D. (1992) ‘Legality of responding to the sexuality of a client with profound learning disabilities’ in Mental Handicap, Vol. 20, June 1992, BIMH Publications.

Colville, M.D. (1985) Signs of a sexual nature, Cheshire Society for the Deaf

Craft, A. (1987) ‘Mental Handicap and Sexuality: Issues for Individuals with a Mental Handicap, their parents and professionals’ in Mental Handicap and Sexuality: Issues and Perspectives. Turnbridge Wells: Costello

Downs, C. and Craft, A. (?) ‘Sexuality and Profound and Multiple Impairment’ in Tizard Learning Disability Review, Volume 1, Issue 4

Downs, C. and Craft, A. (1997) Sex in context, Pavilion Publishing, Brighton

Downs, C. and Farrell, S. (?) ‘A practical response to masturbation: working with people with profound and multiple disabilities’ in Tizard Learning Disability Review, Volume 1, Issue 4

Deveney, C. (2003) ‘Out of Depths’ in Spectrum Magazine, May 18, 2003, Scotland on Sunday

Eales, J. and Watson, J. (1994) Health Education in Scottish Schools: Meeting Special Educational Needs, Scottish Office Education Department, Edinburgh

Fricker, M. (1990) ‘A practical look at sex education’ in Talking Sense, Winter 1990, Sense, London

Hamilton, T. (1979) ‘Sexuality in Deaf Blind Persons’ in Sexuality and Disability, Vol.2(3), Fall 1979, Human Science Press

Hayes, I. (1995) ‘Sex education in the early years’ in Health Education, Number 1, January 1995, MCB University Press

Hendy, S. (2002) ‘Balancing Act’ in Community Care, 23-29 May 2002

Hinsburger, D. (2001) ‘Teaching children and adults with disabilities about sexuality’ accessed from website of Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. on 21/2/03

Hinsburger, D., Snell VanNoort, D. and Tough, S. (2000) ‘ But I thought…Sexuality and teens with developmental disabilities’ in Teens and Sexuality available from the TASH website (

Hinsburger, D. and Tough, S. (2002) ‘Health Sexuality: Attitudes, Systems and Policies’ in Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, Vol 27, No.1

Johnson, K., Frawley, P., Hillier, L. and Harrison, L. (2002) ‘Living safer sexual lives: research and action’ in Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol7, Issue 3, Pavilion Publishing

Lesseliers, J. (1999) ‘A Right to Sexuality?’ in British Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol.27, 1999

Longhorn, F. (1997) Sex education and sexuality for very special people – a sensory approach, Catalyst Education Resources (

McCarthy. M and Cambridge, P. (1996) Your Rights about Sex – a booklet for people with Learning Disabilities, BILD Publications

McKay, C. (1991) ‘Crimes of Passion’ in Care Weekly, 10 May 1991

Miller, T. (?) ‘Social / Sex Education for children and youth who are deafblind’

Moss, K. and Baha, R. (2001) Sexuality Education for Individuals who are deaf-blind and significantly developmentally delayed, available from DBLink,

Neff, J (1979) ‘Another perspective on sexuality and those who are deaf and blind’ in Sexuality and Disability, Vol.2(3), Fall 1979, Human Science Press

Ostli, E. (1988) ‘Effects of Maturation – emphasis on sexual development’ in Talking Sense, Spring 1988, Sense, London

Sexpression (2002) Report on a series of events to look at the sexual health needs of young people fpa Scotland and Children in Scotland

Scott, L. and Hovey, A. ‘Not children any more’ in Special Children, May 1991

Scott, L. and Kerr-Edwards, L. (1999) Talking together …about growing up – a workbook for parents of children with learning disabilities, fpa, London

Shelton, D. (1992) ‘Client Sexual Behaviour and Staff Attitudes – shaping masturbation in an individual with a profound mental and secondary sensory handicap’ in Mental Handicap, Vol. 20, June 1992, BIMH Publications.

Swain, J. and Thirlaway, C. (1996) ‘Just when you think you got it all sorted….Parental Dilemmas in Relation to the Developing Sexuality of Young Profoundly Disabled People’ in British Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol. 24

Valios, N. (2001) ‘Desire Denied’ in Community Care, Issue 1391, 20-26 September 2001

Von Malachowski, V. (1994) ‘Personal and Sexual Development in the Deafblind Adult’ in Deafblind Education, January-June 1994

fpa (2001), Talking with young people about sex and relationships, London

Sex Education Forum Charter

Scottish Executive (2001), Sex Education in Scottish Schools – Summary of National Advice, Edinburgh

RNIB (2000), Sexual Health Resources for Young People who are Blind or Partially Sighted