(PLEASE NOTE: This blog post has been re-blogged from here).
Assistance for supporting young people with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions (sic) who want to explore their sexuality and develop relationships is offered to practitioners in a new comprehensive guide co-authored by Dr Kirsty Liddiard from the Faculty.
Talking about Sex, Sexuality and Relationships: Guidance and Standards is published by The Open University in partnership with UK children’s palliative care charity Together for Short Lives and the OU Sexuality Alliance. The publication gives guidance and standards for health, social care and education practitioners who support young people with limited lifespans.
The guide has been developed with young people, local and national organisations to help break down taboos around disabled young people and sexuality, and to help professionals develop communication skills and confidence in exploring sexuality for these young people both safely and legally.
It aims to boost the confidence of practitioners in talking to young people about intimacy and their sexuality and help organisations to provide robust governance and better understand the legal framework.
Dr Kirsty Liddiard, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the School of Education said: “Participating in the OU Sexuality Alliance and co-authoring the Guidance and Standards was a way for me to utilise and apply new key knowledges of disability, sexuality and youth from my doctoral at the University of Warwick, and later, my postdoctoral research at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. It also offered experience of working across practitioner, academic and charity settings, and with a range of multidisciplinary health and social care professionals.
“I am really proud to say that a key part of creating the Guidance and Standards was seeking the views of young disabled people themselves, listening to their experiences and responding in ways that centre their sexual and intimate rights.
“The aim of the guide, for me, was to ensure that the myriad of professionals and carers that work with young disabled people are well equipped to support, advocate and care in holistic ways.”
More than 25 young people with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions contributed to the report. Two of the young people, Hameed Jimoh (Junior) and Lucy Watts jointly wrote the report’s foreword.
They said: “Yes, talking about sex, intimacy and providing practical support for young people like us can be challenging, but such discussions shouldn’t be ignored and swept under the carpet. Staff just need training and support.”