Studying the sexual barriers faced by people with disabilities

Check out this intriguing article featuring the research of Michelle Apps, MSW Candidate at the University of Regina. COR is proud to be supporting Michelle in her academic journey!

Article by: Dale Johnson, posted to the UofR website on December 3, 2015

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A University of Regina student is looking into how disabilities affect a person’s sex life.

“I’m conducting research in this area, because it’s often viewed in society as a very taboo subject. It’s important to have conversations with folks experiencing disabilities to see what their experiences are accessing sex, and how they think it could be better facilitated,” explains Michelle Apps, who is conducting the research project as part of her Master of Social Work program. “It’s a very under-researched area, in both disability studies and sexuality studies, so through the intersection of the two I hope to bring a bit more attention to the subject.”

“I’m hoping my research will lead to people with disabilities feeling as if they have a voice in this area and are being heard. I’m hoping to add to the small but growing body of literature supporting people with disabilities accessing sex as a right, and to help dispel the myth that people with disabilities are asexual beings,” she says.

Her faculty supervisor, Dr. Randy Johner, says: “Although many people with disabilities, and those who support people with disabilities, believe that accessing an erotic life is very important and needs to be openly discussed in both private and public spheres, there is a great reluctance to share such sensitive and sometimes very hurtful issues concerning sexuality with someone outside of one’s care circle.”

Apps’ research is supported by Creative Options Regina, an organization that supports people with developmental disabilities through housing and programming.

“They have been instrumental in helping me get in touch with potential research participants, and I’m assisting them with some policy and programming development,” she says.

Apps is looking for people with disabilities, physical or intellectual, to share their experiences with her about accessing an erotic life (defined as any sexually-charged touch and can include cuddling, hugging, kissing on so on), what barriers they have faced, and how they think it could be best facilitated.

“I am hoping to have initial results before Christmas, or early in the New Year. I am aiming to submit my findings to the Review of Disability Studies in the spring,” she adds. “I am hoping that through knowledge translation through publishing and presenting at conferences, that I can help support policy changes at higher levels.”

Click here for the full article on the UofR website.

Click here for the Regina LeaderPost Article: University of Regina student researching sex for the disabled

Click here for the Global Regina Story: People with disabilities still want sex, according to U of R research

 

Dispelling Myths About People with Disabilities

COR partnered with four AWESOME UofR Kin Students on a project for the International Day for Persons With Disabilities (IDPD 2015). Check out this great story about the project posted to the UofR webpage on December 2, 2015. Be sure to watch the video too!!

Article by: Costa Maragos

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Some myths and misconceptions about people with disabilities are being explored in a compelling and thoughtful video produced by four Kinesiology students.

The video production is titled; Inclusion Matters: Debunking Common Myths Around Disability.

“We hope to generate some critical thinking and open-ended discussions about the current myths and stereotypes many people have about people with disabilities,” says Jordan Wirachowsky, one of four students involved in the production. “The overall message is we hope it can change  attitudes towards people with disabilities and create a more inclusive society.”

Wirachowsky, along with Matthew Pacholko, Jason Mo and Jordan Wyonzek, came up with the idea as part of a project in their Kinesiology 342 class, Developmental Disabilities & Well-Being, taught by professor Brenda Rossow-Kimball.

The video has been produced to coincide with International Day of Persons With Disabilities, December 3. That day, the video will be shown to a class at Campbell Collegiate in Regina.

In the video, students, faculty and staff on campus are asked to respond, sometimes with little or no warning, to various statements relating to myths about people with disabilities, including:

  • people with disabilities only like to spend time with others who have disabilities;
  • people with disabilities are more likely to be injured in the workplace;
  • people with disabilities are not independent and are unable to perform tasks of daily living.

“A few individuals gave some real thought to the questions and strived to dig deeper and find true meaning in the questions,” says Pacholko. “Some students appeared at a loss of explanation. Perhaps it was because they’ve never thought of the topic in such a way before or because they were put on the spot.”

Watch Inclusion Matters: Debunking Common Myths Around Disability, produced jointly by Brandon Wu of Strategy Lab and Creative Options Regina.

As part of the assignment, the students were asked to connect with a community organization and create a project that recognizes this year’s theme for International Day of Persons With Disabilities.

The students connected with Creative Options Regina, a non-profit organization in Regina that develops personalized support services for people with disability.

“Participating in class projects such as this helps raise awareness of our organization, while further contributing to the development of a more inclusive community for all,” says Michael Lavis, Executive Director of Creative Options Regina.

The video’s overall message, say the students, is the hope it can change peoples’ attitudes towards those with disabilities and create a more inclusive society.

“A more inclusive society helps build relationships and allows people with different abilities to be valued and shown dignity,” says Pacholko.

 

Click here for the full story on the UofR webpage.