Master’s student wins poster competition at international DADD conference

Closeup of Kelley Wilds
Kelley Wilds

A College of Education graduate student has won first place among student poster presentations at the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities annual conference.

Kelley Wilds, a curriculum and instruction graduate student, presented the development of a sexual education curriculum map for the WSU ROAR program. 

The sexual education curriculum Wilds, a WSU ROAR team member, highlighted is two years long and includes a broad range of subject matter. 

This includes information on dating, self-advocacy, sexual decision making, preventative health care, and caring for a baby, all of which have been determined by Wilds to be effective components in the curriculum for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

“Everyone deserves the right to have healthy romantic relationships, and as educators, we have the opportunity to empower all students by providing them with sexuality information that is both comprehensive and inclusive,” Wilds said.

Wilds said this was her first in-person research conference and it was a beneficial experience.

“Winning first place in the poster competition was so exciting,” she said. “I loved being able to share my research and talk about how we teach inclusive sexuality education in the WSU ROAR program.”

Holly Whittenburg and Lauren Bruno are both assistant professors of special education and have advised Wilds throughout her graduate program.

“Kelley’s poster presentation highlights the important work she is doing as an emerging scholar in comprehensive sexuality education for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Whittenburg said. “I love how she used promising practices from the research literature and state and national standards to develop a two-year curriculum map for sexuality education instruction within the WSU ROAR program. This is a fantastic example of research to practice!”

Whittenburg and Bruno assisted Wilds in developing and refining the winning poster presentation.

“Kelley is situating herself as an emerging researcher and leader in the field of comprehensive sexuality education for individuals with disabilities,” Bruno said. “Her passion is evidenced through her work and she finds meaningful ways to connect research to policy and practice.”

Wilds said she hopes her research will continue to promote positivity around sexual education for students with IDD and is planning on attending more conferences in the future. 

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