Dr Natasha Alexander



Clinical psychologist from the UK, now settled in Brisbane, Australia.

My independent practice, Consentability will open in Brisbane in November 2016, and will offer psychological services for people with intellectual or cognitive disabilities and their support network. My focus is on sexuality, relationships, consent and safeguarding and I will be offering individual and couple sessions, education, therapy, consultancy and training.

I have been interested in sexuality and intimacy issues for more than 20 years, since I first started working as a live in support worker with people with intellectual disabilities.

Once I qualified as a clinical psychologist, I worked in community learning disability and psychiatric rehabilitation teams in the UK. I have various experience in supporting teenagers, men and women with so called ‘inappropriate sexual behaviour’; conducting women’s groups; couples counselling and carrying out capacity assessments – identifying the strengths and support needs of individuals in the area of sexual relationships.

My approach is systemic, strengths-based and positive. I advocate for people’s rights to make and break relationships, as well as their right to make their own decisions safeguarded as appropriate.

Having had personal experience of the transformative power of both talking therapy and bodywork, I would like to make links with other practitioners who work with sexuality and disability issues in various ways. I am keen to ensure that people with intellectual and cognitive disabilities receive a genuinely holistic approach that meets all their needs. Working in the area of sexuality and intellectual disabilities can be isolating and anxiety provoking at times. I love the idea of having a virtual team of friends and mentors to remind us of the importance of this work and why we do it, especially when the going gets tough.

Miriam is widely published.

Pam Corcoran

Community department, disability services (local government work)
I work with disabled people as a clinical social worker in a supervisory role, usually with young people aged 6 to 18, but sometimes older.

Mirian Taylor Gomez


Miriam is the current Education Coordinator at QCIDD (Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability, University of Queensland, Australia). She has educational design experience for multi-users including people with intellectual and developmental disability, their families, disability organisations and health practitioners. She has been working in the field of disability and social justice for more than 30 years. She is a researcher of and advocate for the betterment of health and well-being of people with intellectual disability with special emphases on oral health, health advocacy, sexuality and the right to bodily integrity. In 2014, Miriam was a finalist in the Australian-Shell National Innovations Awards for her work on the ask app health diary – ASK Diary (Advocacy Skills Kit Diary) by UniQuest Pty Limited .  In 2016, Miriam won the University of Queensland Individual Award for Excellence in Equity and Access for her work on the development of the ABLE XSeries of courses on intellectual disability healthcare around the world:

ABLE XSeries can be accessed here: . More than 120 contributors from 22 countries have provided content.  The courses are self-paced and free. The courses are tiered to fit with Years 1, 2, 3 of any health, medical, or related degree. They can also be used for workforce education.

ABLE101x – Through my Eyes focuses on the stories of people with intellectual disability around the world, and their families and supporters. Over four parts, students will look at the barriers and enablers to healthcare for people with intellectual disability, their experience of specific syndromes and communication difficulties, and how they stay healthy. Students will listen to family members speaking about complex care, rare syndromes, early death, and planning for independence. The final component focuses on the history of treatment, the impact of rights’ movements on healthcare delivery, common health conditions, and health promotion.


Kevin Reel


Kevin Reel, OT Reg. (Ont.); BSc (OT) – University of Toronto; MSc (medical ethics) – Imperial College, London. is a practicing healthcare ethicist working in Toronto, Canada. He is also a registered occupational therapist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. Kevin has long been keen to get more people working in health and community care to address the realm of sexuality and sexual expression with the clients with whom they work.

Kevin believes that SHADA International is a great way to spread the great work of SHADA in the UK.

By connecting health care workers around the world who have a shared interest in promoting sexuality and sexual expression, we can help each other with the long uphill struggle to get more of our colleagues to move beyond lip service to really and truly support people with enjoying their best sexual lives, regardless of any dis/ability that might otherwise present some limitations or challenges.

This group will potentially become a great resource to many people around the world. Kevin knows from research with occupational therapists that they feel it is important to address sexuality and sexual expression – but are typically at a loss with how to do it and therefore rarely get experience with it. Together we can change that.

Syvia Davidson

Graduate of University of Toronto, MSc; Rehabilitation Science 2003

Graduate of University of Toronto, BSc; Occupational Therapy 1991

Graduate of University of Western Ontario, BSc; Anatomy 1976

I am an occupational therapist working with older adults. My clinical work as an occupational therapist in the past, has often involved supporting older adults who wish to return to being sexually active following illness or injury. Over the past 10-15 years, I have worked more closely with persons with dementia and their care partners and issues that are wide-ranging, such as sexuality and intimacy, sexual orientation, etc. have become very important to me.

I believe that occupational therapists have it within their scope to work with clients and help them live sexually fulfilling lives. However, we have much to learn from our clients directly, as well as other professionals who do address issues of intimacy and sexuality with more comfort and competence. Lawrence Shapiro

am an above-knee amputee and long term cancer survivor. I am also a trained as a Partner Surrogate through the International Professional Surrogacy Association-U.S.A in 2015 and was the only disabled participant in my program. I was also pleased to give a presentation on sex and disability to trainees.

Additional credentials in disability include Certificate in Sex, Disability and Human Rights (CREA) 2010 as well as a presentation on Homo-Ableism to the Queer Human Rights Conference, University of Toronto, Canada in 2014.

I am one of the few sexual surrogates with a physical disability working in this field today and am registered as a intimacy coach with Sensual Solutions of Vancouver, Canada. This organization works exclusively in the sexual empowerment of people with disabilities.

I have published a policy paper in Disability Studies Quarterly on legalizing sexual surrogacy for disabled people in Canada and have also published (in book form) on discrimination against gays and lesbians with disabilities by the dominant able-bodied gay and lesbian community. It was through my initiative that a chapter on disability and sex was included in this social work textbook published through Canadian Scholar’s Press in 2015. I do not charge disabled people for services if they live on disability pension. My most recent publication “The Disabled Sexual Surrogate” published this year in the academic journal ‘Reproductive Health Matters’ included in their edition dedicated to sex and disability. Please see link here:

I’ve enjoyed the SHADA meetings in London. I am passionate about sexual empowerment for people with disabilities. I seek to relocate to London and work as a surrogate in the capital. Very interested in meeting similar professionals for networking and opportunities. My training with IPSA in California in 2015 was an enormous experience in acquiring the necessary skills to empower disabled clients. It was a highly intensive and helpful professional training. I would be pleased to share my knowledge with SHADA International members

Andria- Headshot May 31 2017Andria Bianchi

I am a bioethicist at the University Health Network in Toronto, Ontario. I have completed my TCPS training to sit on the Research Ethics Board
– I am a PhD Candidate at the University of Waterloo where my research focuses on sex and dementia

My dissertation considers the following question: what theoretical framework is most appropriate to use when exploring the ethical issues that arise when people with dementia engage in sex? In order to address this question, my dissertation elucidates the complexities of sex and persons with dementia, uses examples to demonstrate the relevant questions that need to be answered, and showcases the benefits and limitations of each theoretical framework. I recognize the benefits of enabling persons with dementia to engage in sexual activities and I consider these benefits in light of potential vulnerabilities (specifically when it comes to the topic of sexual consent).
– I sit on an ethics committee at Surrey Place Centre, which is an organization in Toronto that advocates for persons with developmental disabilities.
– I am a bioethicist at University Health Network and my specific research interests are those involving questions of sex and sexuality.

I am interested in SHADA International because I recognize that sex is a taboo and moralized  topic, and the stigma associated with sex/sexual expression is often exacerbated when it comes to persons with disabilities. I recognize sexual expression as an important part of individuals’ health and well-being and I try to advocate for the right to sexual expression for persons with disabilities in my academic work. I hope to continue to advocate for sex and persons with disabilities by contributing to SHADA International. My goal is to help to break down the stigma associated with sex and disability in my professional and academic work. I sincerely believe that learning from the members of SHADA International and contributing to the community will help disability advocates such as myself to achieve this goal.

New Zealand

William Lawrence Luskie

I have Aspergers Syndrome,  intellectual disability, anxiety.1 kidney/.

I am an advocate for people with disability in New Zealand
a member of people first, an independent emerging lived experience researcher.
public speaker on lived experience of disability. Disability representative on various non governmental ministries organisations and govt meetings and events.Post residential consumer for nearly 10 years.
cleaner and office worker.

I have  browsed over disability related articles, printed and collated printed articles and listened and screened related discussions in person and online and in focus groups.  and developed related a emerged discussion forum
in contact with many people in NZ and especially Pastie Frawley in Australia who occasionally visit and i check in with around her education program.
attended and visited the Australian study of intellectual disability and presented twice
presented and attended the Victorian advocacy league of disability confrrence and visted deakin university
performed in dance shows and a debut last year in solodesigned a fashion and an animal art piece
public meetings activist to attend at high interest

South Africa

Dr. Paul Chappell
Paul is a quadraplegic postdoctoral research fellow in the Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) at the University of Johannesburg.

His research interests include the development of sexual identities amongst youth with disabilities in the African context, and the intersections between gender, queer and disability studies. Paul has published extensively on issues related to disabled sexualities and inclusive development.

As a disabled person, Paul is an experienced sexuality educator and is also a co-chair of the HIV and Disability Task Group for the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC).

He would like to share experiences of his efforts in promoting sexual access for disabled people from an African perspective.


Dr Tuppy Owens
Tuppy2Low res

I live in the Highlands of Scotland but travel down to London to attend meetings.
My email is
I have worked with physically and socially disabled clients since 1979, providing a club called the Outsiders Club for them to find new friends, enjoy peer support and find partners. In order to do this well, I trained as a sex therapist at London University. Later I began the Sex and Disability Helpline, SHADA, the TLC-Trust website, the Sexual Respect Tool Kit and now SHADA International.
I am very fortunate to have many wonderful volunteers, most of whom are disabled themselves, who trust me to keep the show on the road (by being mean with funds!). Now in my 70’s, I am desperate to find someone, or several people, to take over eventually, but this would mean the almost impossible task of raising funds for salaries, which the Outsiders Trust (a registered charity) does not have. I hope to meet a philanthropist willing to support us for the years to come.

Els Payne I live in Somerset but have a boat on the Thames from where I go to see London clients.

I volunteer with SHADA UK as Coordinator and I am a Trustee of The Outsiders Trust. Otherwise my job is as a massage therapist through which I work with people who are less able. I have an ITEC Diploma in Massage

The reason I support SHADA is that I have learnt a lot about what issues are important to people with disabilities. I realised that sex was SHADA and other Outsiders Trust Projects.

As I support SHADA UK, I would like the organisation to have a world wide presence.

Claire Lightley

I work as a consultant who specialises in work with people with learning disabilities. I have very close affiliations with FPA in London. I do a variety of work, direct work with young people and adults with learning disabilities, professionals training and I also work with the NHS, establishing sexual health clinics specifically people with learning disabilities. I am the PHSE specialist advisor at a special school in Kingston.

I have 25 years experience of working with people with learning disabilities and 12 years experience of specialising in sexual health and sex and relationships education with people with learning disabilities.

I have been a member of SHADA (and SPOD before SHADA) for many years.

Numerous items from the Outsiders website ( have helped me in my work over the years. I welcome input from progressive, user led organisations. Thank you for your work.

Helen M Dunman

Helen Dunman Sociology BA Hons

Post graduate Certificate of Education

I have worked as a carer and teacher for 29 years, with young people with physical and learning difficulties . I currently work at Chailey Heritage Foundation.

SHADA has been invaluable over the past 5years in assisting me with my work (see the piece I contributed in the Learning Disability section.) I think SHADA International pantastic opportunity to share expertise with colleagues from all very the world.

Christopher Watling

Christopher Watling MSc Occupational Therapy, HCPC registered

BSc Psychology

9 years working with LD in support worker role, 3 years as an OT

Occupational Therapist in acute mental health hospitals, primarily for people with a learning disability. I have found sexual health can often have an impact on a person’s mental well-being in hospital settings, and that they rarely have a voice to express this. I am keen to provide that voice in my day to day work, and am interested in what SHADA aims to achieve and how this will support the people that I work with. Advise from Tuppy Owens at SHADA has enabled me to make recommendations for one of my patients that were aimed at improving his sexual function and associated challenging behaviour.

Gillian Leno

I have primary lymphoedema in both legs and feet (hip down).

I’m currently based in a specialist college for young people with learning, physical and sensory disabilities and autism spectrum conditions, and am the sex and relationships lead there.  I have developed a full and inclusive  body-and sex-positive, pleasure-focused sex and relationships education curriculum, which I deliver to the students in college.  I also provide 1:1 support around gender, sexuality, relationships, challenging sexualised behaviour, risky sexual behaviours, etc.  In addition to this I deliver training and support to professionals, parents and carers supporting people with additional needs around their sexual and intimate lives.  Outside of this main role I also volunteer in various capacities, as a trustee for a young people’s support centre and for an adult LD provision, am a sexual advocate for ASAP, and act as the sex and relationships  forum expert for Scope. I think that extending SHADA to become an international organisation will help all of us to learn about examples of best practice and forge partnerships that will strengthen our work.

I’m a qualified teacher, and have worked full time at the college where I am now for five years.  Prior to that I was the SEN lead for Brook’s Education team in the Midlands (based in Birmingham), which is where I began to focus professionally on working with people with disabilities of all kinds.  Before that I worked in HIV advocacy with a wide range of people who – for all sorts of reasons – had complex support needs, as well as in the sexual health promotion team for the NHS PCT locally (again, in the Midlands).  I have qualifications in counselling and BSL which I use in my day to day work.

Ony Bright

Ony is a British woman with slight hearing and visual loss, who worked in mental health but switched to a variety of work and is now studying for an MA in Relationship Therapy (via Relate ) as her pathway to that qualification. Ony would like to specialise in working with men and boys. At the same time, Ony is running a new online adult sex toy company, with a special interest in sex and disability.


Kendra Holliday USA
I am a sexual surrogate working independently, as well as in conjunction with four local sex therapists. A sex surrogate, or surrogate partner, is a sex worker who provides hands on intimate therapy to people who wish to address issues surrounding their sexuality.

I have 10 years of experience with sexual healing.
Client examples:
60 year old virgin with a head injury – lack of experience
38 year old virgin with sickle cell anemia and kidney transplant – he was curious to know his stamina and capability
27 year old man with muscular dystrophy who was told by doctors he would die by age 21. When he did not, he decided to explore adult options
35 year old man with muscular dystrophy who wanted to gain sexual experience for future partners
40 year old man with schizophrenia who wanted to work on social interaction
65 year old diabetic amputee with Erectile Dysfunction who needed to practice penile injections
55 year old man who had spinal surgery and lost ability to orgasm
32 year old man with Asperger’s who wanted to learn dating skills
58 year old transgender man who wanted to practice using his neophallus
27 year old woman who has never had an orgasm
56 year old prostate cancer survivor who needed to learn a new approach to sex
38 year old man with essential tremor who wanted to gain confidence

For each of these cases, I regarded each person as an individual, on a case-by-case basis. I found beauty in every situation and practiced with patience and compassion. I helped eradicate shame and taught my mantra: Replace the fear with love.

Most of my teaching is verbal communication of ideas new to the client, but the physical component of our work together offers a quicker and more significant breakthrough, giving them the experience and confidence they are seeking.
I met Tuppy at a Summer Institute last year and was impressed with her pioneer work. I believe in sharing resources and working together in order to increase health and happiness of our society.
I like knowing about other people and resources so that I may refer people to them and share ideas. There is great importance in a supportive community.




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