Writing this blog on Valentine’s Day reminded me of several recent workshops while talking about the needs of people in their programs, instructors have brought up the topic of sexuality and romantic relationships. While, in my experience, this is often an uncomfortable topic that many organizations and service providers would rather avoid, aren’t we doing a disservice to the individuals in our programs by doing so?
I recently saw a meme online that said something along the lines that Disability and Sexuality are naturally co-occurring. My experience has convinced me that ignoring the sexuality of people served often results in the person engaging in behavior that we identify as challenging. Just like any other need that a person may have, people will increase the intensity, duration, and frequency of their behavior to get their need met.
Given we focus a whole chapter on building healthy relationships, maybe we can challenge ourselves to find ways of helping the people we serve understand to the best of their ability, and express their sexuality in ways that are respectful, functional and safe for themselves and others.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Doug ZehrVogt – Mandt System Faculty