Some people with developmental disabilities have lived sheltered lives. Others have lived in institutions. People may not have had opportunities to learn much about their reproductive system or their sexual rights. You may need to ask and answer a wide range of questions to ensure a person understands and feels comfortable with a particular medical procedure.
- In rare cases, some people with developmental disabilities will come back for services over and over. Systems like hospitals and courts can become very frustrated with this, and refuse to treat the person, or even charge them with false reporting. You can help minimize theses issues by explaining what the exam will and won’t find, and what the risks of reporting might be.
- It is important to be clear about what an exam can and cannot document before beginning. The person may not realize that something that happened in the past cannot be documented through the exam, or that molestation will not leave any physical signs in most cases. Work with the person to get a clear understanding of what happened, and to ensure they understand the likelihood of something showing up on an exam.