If you would like to start a group in your country / area, you can do so here and explain how you see it working. We are outlining how the UK group works here, so you can perhaps learn from us.
You may choose to just use this site to announce meetings etc., in the ‘Events’ section, and create your own separate online group for putting minutes to meetings, etc,, linked to us.
Tuppy Owens started this group with an OT colleague because she felt isolated answering the Sex and Disability Helpline. She approached other disability helpline operators. We attracted a wide range of other professionals to join us as well. We welcome all kinds of professionals, from teachers, nurses, health and social care workers, therapists, those who provide sexual services, to a disabled law professor and barrister!
At meetings, we discuss topics important to the people attending, covering different impairments and methods of support.
The UK group has it’s own website http://shada.org.uk. We meet twice a year in London.
SHADA UK is totally free to members, as some people miss a day’s pay in order to attend, and have to pay for their own travel fares.
We aim to find accessible, free venues and have managed this for all our ten years. We arrange the seating with tables so they can write notes and the atmosphere is informal, relaxed and friendly.
We produce name badges so everyone can see each other’s name and what they do.
We have a board which includes the Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary (who takes the minutes), a coordinator, and a convener and scribe (the latter organising the meeting and writing relevant notes on the Clipboard/wall chart).
Meetings are held in the spring and autumn. They run from 11am to 4pm on a weekday, not near public holidays.
We stop for an hour for lunch, and it’s best if we can meet in a nearby cafe, but otherwise members bring their own pack lunches.
Each topic is selected because, perhaps a new pioneer has emerged and would like to share / discuss their project. Such people are pleased to hear other members’ views and get advice on the law.
SHADA UK currently has three working groups, aimed at moving forward:
~ to contact governing bodies to persuade them to include sex and disability in their teaching, policies and guidelines
~ to improve the law and practice supporting profoundly learning disabled people, those without speach with complex needs, like perhaps mental ages of several months. to enjoy their bodies
~ to increase publicity around SHADA and sex and disability as the world seems, on one level, to be becoming more prudish
These groups hold sporadic meetings when required and report back at SHADA meetings.
Forthcoming SHADA meetings are announced on our website and the minutes are also published there, minus the email addresses of attendees and the venue. The latter is to stop non-members coming along. We normally publish a photo of the SHADA board and the speakers. We keep a googledoc database of members’ details.
Our British group is the only group so far, but I think OTs have a group of their own in Australia and plans are in place for a Canadian SHADA group.