Teacher beliefs, professional preparation, and practices regarding exceptional students and sexuality education.

Sexuality education, part of the comprehensive school health education component of a Coordinated School Health Program, interests many health educators as well as special education teachers. In this study, Florida special educators reported their beliefs about teaching sexuality education to educable mentally disabled students, the range of sexuality topics they teach, and their professional preparation in sexuality education. Respondents (n = 494) completed a mailed instrument that included the 36 sexuality content areas identified by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. Respondents believed strongly that many of the sexuality topics and content areas should be taught to educable mentally disabled students. However, most reported delivering only a modest amount of sexuality education, and they rated their professional preparation as inadequate. Regression analyses documented that respondents’ beliefs predicted the topics they actually taught within 5 of the 6 key concepts. This study supports collaboration between health educators and special education teachers to adapt existing sexuality curricula for students with special needs, improve professional preparation of special education teachers to teach sexuality education, and to more effectively implement comprehensive school health education through the Coordinated School Health Program model to special education students.