An Amazing Story!

This is an incredible story!

I hope you enjoy it!

The Arts and Disability

There are several approaches to considering the arts and disability:

  • artists who are persons with a disability (all sorts of arts: visual, digital, auditory, written, performance…)
  • the portrayal of disability in artistic works whether by artists with or without a disability
  • works of art in the developing disability culture
  • participating in art as part of the process of developing an identity as a person with a disability (human growth) or in the process of coping with a new or existing disability (art therapy)

We cannot begin to consider all of these in one class session – but we can learn a bit.  Please look at / watch / read at least 2 of the following items:

We’ll also talk about the 4th Chapter in the manual and how one might present it well for various audiences.


A study on sexuality with parents of adolescents with intellectual disability

This article discusses a study done in turkey of parents who have teenagers/young adults (ages 15-21) with intellectual disabilities.  The study asked parents about the “knowledge, opinions,  attitudes, and concerns about the sexuality of their children.  ” (p. 231)

The study surveyed 35 mothers and only 5 fathers.  It found that the sexuality of their children has caused these parents fear and denial.  Sex education from parents is important, but parents often knew little  about sex.  Researchers feel children should also be taught about the facts of life  by their teachers and health care professionals.

The most interesting fact I found in this article was that children with cognitive disabilities actually tend to display more sexual behaviors and know more about sex than other teens.  They just need guidance for how and when to practice them(i.e. in private places with people they are close to.


Isler, A., Beytut, D., Tas, F., & Conk, Z. (2009). A study on sexuality with the parents of adolescents with intellectual disability. Sex Disability, 27, 229-237. doi: 10.1007/s1195-009-9130-3

Perceptions of Relationship and Sexual Satisfaction among People with Multiple Sclerosis and their Partners

According to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, Multiple Sclerosis is “the most common neurological disorder diagnosed in young adults. Its causes are not yet fully understood and researchers continue to search for answers. MS is not contagious and does not shorten the life expectancy of those who are diagnosed with the disease. MS is a disease of the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS consists of the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord. This disorder damages the protective insulation (known as “myelin”) surrounding the nerves (known as “axons”), and may also damage theses nerves within the CNS. As a result, nerve impulses carrying messages from the brain and spinal cord may short circuit, causing reduced or lost bodily function” (MSSA, 2011).

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Victoria in Australia performed a study to evaluate relationships and sexuality  among people with multiple sclerosis and their partners. The study states that those with MS rely on their partner more than the partner relies on them and they seek much more support than a person without MS.The study found that even though the partners of the person with MS  did not express to their partner their negativity towards the relationship since the diagnosis, they made it known in the semi-formal questionnaire that was given in the study.

This study provides statistical information about the impact of MS on a relationship by comparing realtionships in which one partner has MS and relationships from the general population without MS. By comparing the two, it shows the emotional, phyisical and mental stressor the diagnosis of MS can have on a relationship. The positive part of this study was that the authors made it known that, “this strain has not been found to translate to a higher  divorce or seperation rate among the relationships of people with MS compared to people from the general population.”

McCabe, Marita, and Elizabeth McDonald.(2007). “Perceptions of Relationship and Sexual Statisfaction among People with Multiple Sclerosis and their Partners.” 179-188.



Beyond the Binary: Rethinking the Social Model of Disabled Sexuality

While “some disabled people claim that disability has made them a better lover or partner,” (Rembis, 2009) this is not that belief that it portrayed to the greater population of people. This article addresses the need for a change in attitude/social model when it comes to viewing the disabled and their sexuality.

Michael Rembis made several connections between those who are disabled having sex and and homosexual relationships. “O’Toole argues that lesbians experience a tremendous sense of sexual freedom and that lesbian sex fosters communication and experimentation, all of which are critical to disabled sex” (Rembis, 2009). The importance of this connection in thought supports the idea that people with disability can be lovers, it is just more experiential then sex that is common among the greater population. Homosexual relationships and disability sexual relationships are both looked down upon in the mainstream public, mostly because they are both misunderstood.

The article also focuses on the the mainstream belief that heterosexual relations are the only acceptable relationships. Women are expected to get married, have kids, stay at home and not be real sexual experiential beings. Also that in heterosexual relationships, you must be viewed as sexy to have sex and that you must be able to have sex like everyone else does.

Which brings out the key point on the article, a new social model of disabled sexuality needs to be brought out for everyone to understand. We as a people need to stop viewing people with disabilities as pitiful or charity cases so that they are able to reclaim themselves as people with desire and eroticism. People with disabilities have to have the ability to feel free and have just as much sex as the rest of the population. As with everything, we as a society need to accept people that are different and embrace what they can bring to the table.
Rembis, M. (2009). Beyond the binary: Rethinking the social model of disabled sexuality. (28), 51-60. doi: 10.1007/s11195-009-9133-0

Sexual Satisfaction in People with Spinal Cord Injury

The focus of this article is on the satisfaction in people following a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). Many researchers have indicated interest in the subject however, few studies have been completed on this subject. Studies that have been completed show similarities in pre and post lesion periods as well as between people with or with out SCI. The purpose of this study was to expand on the knowledge regarding sexual satisfaction and to compare findings between pre and post lesion periods and those without SCI.

The study looked at 90 men (40 SCI, 50 non-SCI) from Brazil. Subjects with SCI were selected from clinics, rehab centers, and university projects. Men without physical disability were recruited from universities, companies, clinics and suggested by word of mouth. Using a descriptive, casual comparative study, the researchers used open and closed questions offered in a written survey or anonymous interviews. The questions were related to sexuality before and after trauma within at least one year of rehabilitation. Those without SCI were directed to answer only before trauma questions. The scales used for these questions ranged from 0 (dissatisfied) to 10 (satisfied). The survey included items about desire, satisfaction, and sexual behavior.

The age, first sexual encounter, and number of partners were consistent between those with SCI and those without. The results from this study were consistent with previous research. There is a relationship between the reduction of sexual satisfaction and SCI in the participants. There was little difference found between the pre SCI group and the control group. The largest differences in sexual satisfaction were observed between the post SCI group and the pre SCI group. Listed below are significant observations: 

  • 80% of men stated that they were 80% satisfied sexually pre-SCI.
  • 47.5% of men post-SCI stated that they were sexually satisfied.
  • 7.5% of men post-SCI stated that they were dissatisfied sexually.
  • The average time of those with SCI was 11.1 years.

There were no observable correlation between the level of SCI and sexual satisfaction. Persons with SCI are less sexually satisfied however this cannot be directly supported that it can only be attributed to the injury.

A.K. Medes, F. C. (2008). Sexual Satisfaction in People with Spinal Cord Injury. Sex Disabilities , 137-147.


Same Needs and Desires

                       An article published in 2009 titled, “Sexual Identity, Body Image and Life Satisfaction Among Women With and Without Physical Disability” researched the relationship of women’s satisfaction with life in general and their sexual satisfaction to see if any correlation could be found between the two or between women with or without physical disabilities. The study consisted of 70 women with a physical disability and 64 women without disability. Each participant completed questionnaires about their sexuality, body image, and quality of life. Major findings of the questionnaires include:

  • Significant differences found between the two groups (with physical disability vs. without) in most areas except sexual preoccupation.
  • Women with a physical disability scored significantly lower in body image, sexual self-esteem, sexual satisfaction, and life satisfaction compared to women without a physical disability.
    • However, researchers found it noteworthy that sub-scales of sexual identity and life satisfaction were significantly higher with the women with disabilities.
  • Significant differences in sexual esteem, sexual satisfaction, and life satisfaction were more prominent between young adult women than the middle-aged women with and without physical disability.
  •  Life satisfaction was inserted as a dependent variable, and according to the multiple regression analysis, sexual satisfaction proved to be the main factor effecting the variance in life satisfaction.
    • According to the Somers’ d directional measure, “life satisfaction was dependent of the level of sexual satisfaction to the same degree that sexual satisfaction was dependent upon life satisfaction” (Moin, Duvdevany, & Mazor, 2009, p.89).
  • Scores for sexual satisfaction were directly proportional to the scores for life satisfaction.
    • Example: higher score for sexual satisfaction, the higher the score for life satisfaction.
  • 47% of women with a disability fell under the “Consistent Dissatisfaction” category, and 20% were categorized as “Consistent Satisfaction,” whereas 61% of women without physical disability were labeled “Consistent Satisfaction” and 9% “Consistent Dissatisfaction.

                    The study also looked at what percent of participants had an intimate partner, maintained a steady job, and considered their disability as high, moderate, or low severity. They concluded that women with physical disability had a significantly lower satisfaction with sexual life compared to women without disability. In addition, sexual satisfaction was an important component in the difference of life satisfaction in both groups. They credited negative attitudes, lack of opportunities, and social isolation as the chief hurdles that effect sexual identity and quality of life for women with disabilities. Furthermore, they deduced that the sexual needs and desires of women with physical disabilities are the same as women without disability.

Moin, V., Duvdevany, I., and Mazor, D. (2009) Sexual identity, body image and life satisfaction among women with and without physical disability. Sex Disabil 27:83-95. DOI 10.1007/ s11195-009-9112-5


Convention of Hope- Communicating positive realistic messages to families at the time of a child’s diagnosis with disabilities

This article published in the British Journal of Learning Disabilities, provides great evidence of why it is important to communicate positively when informing parents that their child has a disability. The study involved 22 focus groups and a questionnaire survey of 1588 professionals and 584 families. The study supported the recommendation of providing families with positive, realistic and hopeful messages at the time of diagnosis.

The study was done in three different phases.

  1. Phase one- Initial exploratory interviews and meetings took place with families and professionals to identify key issues around the topic of disclosure.
  2. Phase two- Twenty-two focus groups were undertaken to qualitatively explore the experiences of families and professionals.
  3. Phase three- Two postal quantitative postal questionnaire surveys were sent to 584  families of children with disabilities between the ages of 3 to 6 years and 1588 professionals.

 The study gave information and ways to fill the gaps when working with families. Some ways were: Not wanting to give ‘false’ hope, Need for training and evidence-based policies, and Litigation. 

This was a very informative study. It is something that I would have never thought about because I have never been through it before. This was great information to know. The article laid out the information so that it was easy to retain the information.

Harnett, A., & Tierney, E. (2009). Convention of hope- communicating positive, realistic messages to families at the time of a child’s diagnosis with disabilities. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, (37), 257-264. Retrieved from