Leslie Walker-Hirsch

Leslie Walker-Hirsch, IMEd, FAAIDD, is a Social Development and Sexuality Consultant. She has been the driving force toward the final frontier for people with intellectual disabilities: Sexual Safety, Rights and Responsibilities. She is the co-creator of the CIRCLES ® Curriculum Series, a multimedia teaching tool designed especially to address the varied and unique learning styles of learners with intellectual limitations and developmental delays. CIRCLES ® is also an App for Ipad and other tablets. Leslie recognized early on that individuals living an included lifestyle would require the same kind of information regarding social and sexual expression and safety that all the typical members of their communities already had, but that obtaining those skills would require a manner of presentation that was meaningful and understandable given the idiosyncratic learning styles of those with ID/D. She has written numerous articles both in print and electronically, an award winning book, The Facts of Life…And More, (also translated into Korean) that serves as a useful tool for families and professionals and as a text for graduate students at The University of New Mexico who are taking the one-of-a-kind course she designed and teaches on sexuality and intellectual disability. Leslie has trained and consulted to families experiencing ID/D as well as groups of professionals in nearly all of the 50 states and numerous foreign countries to help them to rethink their understanding of sexuality and how it interfaces with intellectual disability. She has been called as an expert witness in both the US and abroad to educate lawyers and jurors before they reach a verdict to convict or exonerate agencies or individuals in criminal and civil cases. Leslie produces and funds a free electronic video newsletter that currently circulates to nearly 1,000 subscribers, including all members of the AAIDD IN group on social and sexual concerns, that has developed as an outgrowth of the AAIDD Special Interest Group that she founded amidst much controversy. She is the recipient of the AAIDD “Service to the Field” award for 2018. Ms. Walker-Hirsch serves on the Medical and Clinical Advisory Board of the National Down Syndrome Society. She has 3 grown children and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband Bennett Hirsch and her dog Lobo!