Date of Defense

Spring 4-15-1997


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Barbara Hooper, Occupational Therapy


Sexuality and sensuality are part of everyone's lives. Sexuality is defined as, "the condition, potential, or state of readiness of the organism with regard to sexual activity" (Guralnik, 1980). This definition uses words like organism, condition, sexual activity; what feelings do these words invoke? Do they suggestion emotion, or is sexuality described in terms of a scientific condition alone? Perhaps a part of sexuality is scientific, but what about the aspect of sexuality which cannot be defined by concise scientific descriptions? The spectrum for expressing affection is broad. With the ability to express oneself sexually comes the ability to give and love. Children with disabilities require close observation from health professionals or parents to manage physical and psychological impairments; subsequently, children may not have the opportunity to discover their own sexuality through exploration or peer interaction (Cole & Cole, 1993). Overall, children with disabilities have a limited view of sexuality, whether related to touch, gender, communication and language patterns, or socialization with peers. Disability limits the freedom these children have to explore their sexuality.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only