Kymberly Martin
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Sexual health courses for people with intellectual disability

In a bid to improve the sexual and reproductive health outcomes for people with intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders, Family Planning NSW (FPNSW) runs a range of courses.

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According to FPNSW, education and support around puberty, sexuality and relationships is vital to help people with intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorders achieve maximum health, wellbeing and safety.

FPNSW senior disability health promotion officer Ee-Lin Chang, pictured, said support people have an important role to play in helping this happen. “We know that the topic of sexuality can be an area of concern for parents, carers, disability support workers and educators who support people with disability, and often they report not knowing how or when to broach the subject,” Chang said.

“To make starting and continuing these conversations as stress free as possible, FPNSW has tailored courses for parents and carers, disability support workers and school educators with practical, up-to-date information and strategies to support positive sexuality and personal development outcomes for people with a disability.

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Providing these courses recognises that everybody deserves to have access to relationship and sexuality education.”

The courses come from a holistic, whole-of-community perspective, where FPNSW upskills those who support people with disability in the community. FPNSW said it is important to help parents, carers and educators develop confidence to navigate these topics in a constructive way so the disability community can experience positive sexual health outcomes.

The workshops cover a range of sexuality topics across childhood, adolescence and adulthood, including preparing for puberty, healthy relationships, supporting positive and safe sexual expression and tips for talking about sex and answering tricky questions.

“When parents and carers attend our workshops, they have an opportunity to access our experts and resources, meet other parents, find referrals to relevant services and have their questions answered,” Chang said. “This can make a world of difference for parents and carers who might be struggling to support people who need relationship and sexuality education. We’re here to provide that support.”

The FPNSW courses are offered across New South Wales and include half-day workshops, single day introductory course, two-day nationally recognised training and NSW Education Standards Authority accredited training for teachers. The courses can be delivered onsite for organisations on request.

There is no cost to participants. For more information on course inclusions and logistics, visit the FPNSW website. Parents or carers wanting more information can email the health promotion team on: [email protected] Disability support workers and school teachers can email the education team on: [email protected]

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