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Disability, Intimacy, and Sexual Health
A Social Work Perspective
Kristen Faye Linton, Heidi Adams Rueda, and Lela Rankin Williams
ISBN: 978-0-87101-522-8. 2017. Item #5228. 144 pages.
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Earn 3.5 CEUs for reading this title! For more information, visit the Social Work Online CE Institute.

Sexuality is a key aspect of human development and identity, yet people with disabilities frequently encounter social and political barriers to achieving healthy, autonomous intimate relationships. Society tends to associate disability with asexuality and often labels sexual behaviors among people with disabilities as problematic or deviant. Faced with these assumptions and resultant policies, how can social workers meet the needs of this diverse population across the life course.

In Disability, Intimacy, and Sexual Health: A Social Work Perspective, Linton, Adams Rueda, and Rankin Williams compile comprehensive research and candid interviews with social workers to explore the complicated intersection of disability and sexuality. The book begins by detailing historical violations of the sexual and reproductive rights of people with disabilities, including forced castration and sterilization. It then explores current issues of sexuality and disability throughout the life course, starting with childhood and adolescence. The authors examine the increased risk of abuse and victimization that people with disabilities face while in romantic or sexual relationships and provide practice recommendations to help combat factors that contribute to this vulnerability. Other milestones across the life course are also explored, such as pregnancy and parenting, marriage and cohabitation, and intimacy in older adulthood. Throughout the book, the authors examine the micro, meso, and macro systems that affect the lives and relationships of people with disabilities.

This book touches on psychiatric, intellectual, developmental, learning, neurological, and physical disabilities and gives voice to both practitioners and their clients. It is an unflinching look at the pressing challenges professionals can face while serving people with disabilities, essential for students, academics, policymakers, and practitioners in a variety of settings who wish to advocate for the full sexual citizenship of people with disabilities.

Foreword by Michael S. Shafer
About the Authors

Chapter 1: Disability and Sexual Citizenship

Chapter 2: History of Policies Restricting the Sexual Rights of People with Disabilities

Chapter 3: Healthy Sexuality Begins in Childhood

Chapter 4: Romantic Relationships, Intimacy, and Sexuality

Chapter 5: Sex Education

Chapter 6: Romantic Relationship Vulnerability and Victimization

Chapter 7: Pregnancy and Parenting

Chapter 8: Cohabitation and Marriage

Chapter 9: Intimate Relationships in Older Adulthood

Chapter 10: Overview of the Implications for Social Work Practice

Kristen Faye Linton, PhD, is an assistant professor of health science at California State University, Channel Islands, in Camarillo. Prior to her research career, she spent over a decade as a social worker, supporting people with disabilities and their families to live independent, fulfilled lives in the community. Her research focuses on disability and health dis­parities with particular attention to sexual health, brain injury, race, and ethnicity. Her education and experience as a social worker and qualita­tive and quantitative methods researcher has prompted her to conduct community-based intervention research and evaluation that responds to community needs.

Heidi Adams Rueda, PhD, is an assistant professor at the Department of Social Work, University of Texas at San Antonio. Her research focuses on adolescent dating and sexual relationships within ecodevelopmental contexts, particularly among understudied youth populations including Mexican American youths, pregnant and parenting youths in foster care, and adolescents with disabilities. Within a holistic approach to dating health, her work aims to prevent teenage dating violence and to foster strong foundations for healthy adolescent and lifelong partnering. She uses mixed methods to inform the design and evaluation of effective pre­ventative interventions and social work practice with adolescents.

Lela Rankin Williams, PhD, is an associate professor and coordinator at the School of Social Work, Arizona State University, in Tucson. Her inter­disciplinary training in psychology and human development and family studies is informed by an ecological perspective, including the importance of regarding cultural and familial relationships as meaningful contexts within adolescent romantic relationships. She is committed to the devel­opment, evaluation, and implementation of culturally meaningful youth-driven prevention and intervention programs. As an active leader in both academic and community settings, she places a high priority on conduct­ing rigorous and culturally relevant research in collaboration with com­munity partners that is both meaningful and accessible.
Earn 3.5 CEUs for reading this title! For more information, visit the Social Work Online CE Institute.