Sexuality Education

Comprehensive sexuality education is important for everyone, but it is particularly critical for people with disabilities. As we know, having a disability makes someone more likely to experience sexual abuse and exploitation. This is true for many reasons: increased cognitive or physical vulnerability, social isolation, lack of skills around consent or boundaries, more exposure to unsafe situations due to personal care needs, and more. The only way to address these numerous concerns is through comprehensive sexuality education.

Our program helps caregivers enable their loved ones to protect and advocate for their own health, well-being, and dignity. We provide resources, education, and support so that you can tackle this tough topic with confidence. To build the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes to protect themselves, our children will need us to help them tackle this complex subject. This means pushing through any shame or discomfort we may have. And Caregivers is here to support you in this process.

Facilitator

Hannah Woelke has provided disability related services in Tucson for over a decade. Having witnessed the impact of missing or inadequate sex education in the disability community, she began providing resources and training to the community on topics related to sexuality. Specifically, she has presented for Pilot Parents of S. AZ, Care 4 the Caregivers, the Special Futures Initiative group, and the Children’s Clinics. She also delivered classes to adult self-advocates at Direct Advocacy & Resource Center. Eventually Hannah decided to build on her BA in Psychology and Certificate in Adult Education by studying to be a professional sexuality educator. After completing her program, she hopes to become AASECT certified.

Care Giver Classes

Do you want your adult children to have age-appropriate relationships, but worry about their personal safety? Would you like your disabled child to learn about healthy relationships or their changing body, but can’t find cognitively appropriate material? This class is designed to address the everyday concerns of caregivers. We will explore practical, cognitively appropriate, resources in a candid, supportive environment.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • Options for people with limited speech
  • Teaching consent in the context of personal care
  • Free videos to support your family conversations
  • Recognizing the impact of our own sexuality related challenges on our children

Community safety, personal connections, and age-appropriate relationships…your children deserve to
have it all!

1:1 Consultations

If you want a more private and tailored experience, you can request a 1:1 consultation. This allows caregivers to receive specific and individualized resources and strategies. Hannah will take the time needed to understand the situation and to suggest the most appropriate information. This can be done remotely or in person. For example, a family with a teen who has a spinal cord injury may want to understand how to support them to pursue intimate relationships later in their life. Hannah would meet with the caregivers and discuss their concerns. She would share strategies and any appropriate additional professional supports. Afterwards she would research their needs and follow-up with an email including all relevant resources.

Consultations can also be used by the person with the disability. Hannah can help them explore a particular topic that the caregiver is struggling to address. This must be a topic that is specific enough that it can be covered in one session. In addition, there would be an expectation that the caregiver involved would follow-up with any necessary support. For example, perhaps a sibling caregiver is uncomfortable talking to their family member about masturbation. Hannah would have the initial conversation, then develop a communication plan with the family, and share resources with both the individual and their sibling. This strategy is meant to ensure any future needs can be addressed more easily without outside intervention.

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