Consent and sexuality education for people with a cognitive disability

Sexual health, safety in relationships, and a full and meaningful social and intimate life are articulated rights for everyone – including people with a disability.

Research has found that people with an intellectual disability or autism are less likely to have experienced a comprehensive sexuality education compared to the rest of the population. This education is often, instead, delivered informally by family and support workers¹.

Check + Chat offers 1-on-1 consent education and sexuality counselling for both young people and adults with a cognitive disability who may need extra support in this space. We can help them develop a comprehensive understanding of sexuality and body safety, as well as work with them to navigate intimate relationships both in the real world and online.

What to expect

Our 1-on-1 sessions are psychoeducation focused, meaning that individuals will engage in rich discussions and engaging activities that aim to increase their understanding of the topics.  Think of it as specialized tutoring for health and sex education.

Sessions can be delivered face-to-face if in Melbourne, or online over Zoom. This service is accessible for NDIS clients across Australia.

It is required that the individual has a support worker with them for each session, if they have difficulty setting up their technology or need assistance communicating.

All of our sessions are delivered by social worker, Louise Mapleston. Lou has also completed a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science (distinction) from Monash University, and draws on her experience as a clinician in the youth mental health and sexual assault education sectors to guide her client-centered practice.

Topics we cover

Each session runs for 50 minutes and can be flexible to meet the needs of the individual. Check + Chat can cover the following topics:

  • Sexual consent and respectful relationships
  • Body safety and protective behaviors
  • eSafety and engaging with others online
  • Pornography
  • Sexting and nudes
  • Puberty
  • Sexual identity
  • LGBTQIA+ identity, expression and common queries

We recommend at least five to ten sessions in order to cover one topic in detail. The number of sessions is also dependent on the individual’s learning and support needs.

Who this service is for

This service is for both young people and adults with a mild or moderate cognitive disability, with low support needs.

This service is also appropriate for Autistic individuals who do not have an intellectual disability, but are looking to explore romantic or sexual relationships.

This service is not appropriate for:

  • Those with who are classed as having a severe or profound intellectual disability
  • Those who have engaged in high level sexual harm to others i.e, rape, incest, sexual assault
  • Those with a significant trauma or sexual trauma history who have not received specialist therapeutic support
  • Those who have been convicted of a sex offence or have had justice system involvement as a result of their sexual behaviours.

Responding to complexity

It is understood that people with a cognitive disability experience higher rates of sexual victimization and abuse², and also engage in higher rates of problem and harmful sexual behavior compared to the general population.

While disclosures of abuse or victimization may occur in our sessions, this service is not appropriate for individuals seeking specialized therapy for sexual abuse or trauma. Check + Chat is not a trauma counselling service. The focus of the service is on psychoeducation and skills-based support.


Our rate falls under the NDIS Capacity Building rate, under line item 15_056_0128_1_3.

Check + Chat is an unregistered provider and can provide services to self-managed and plan managed clients. Check + Chat also accepts private, non-NDIS clients.

Got questions?

Get in touch for a free consultation.

1 Frawley, P., Wilson, N.J. Young People with Intellectual Disability Talking About Sexuality Education and Information. Sex Disabil 34, 469–484 (2016).
2 Schaafsma, D., Kok, G., Stoffelen, J., & Curfs, L. (2017). People with Intellectual Disabilities Talk About Sexuality: Implications for the Development of Sex Education. Sexuality and disability, 35(1), 21–38.

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Check + Chat

Check and Chat is a wellbeing and consent education service for young people, their parents or carers, and education professionals.

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We would like to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s First People and Traditional Custodians. We value their cultures, identities, and continuing connection to country, waters, kin and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and are committed to making a positive contribution to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, by providing services that are welcoming, safe, culturally appropriate and inclusive.