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May 14, 2021

Sexuality training and education for disability support networks coming to Ballina

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Family Planning NSW and Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation are partnering to deliver sexuality training and education courses for disability support workers, teachers, parents and carers across the State.

Made possible by a $50,000 grant from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, Family Planning NSW will facilitate a series of courses in regional areas, commencing in October 2019.

The series of courses, beginning this month will involve Ballina, Dubbo, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour and their surrounding communities. The specialised training will provide participants with strategies and resources to effectively support children and adults with intellectual disability in their sexuality and relationships.

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chair, Phil Neat said the grant gave Family Planning NSW the ability to provide a much-needed community service for people working in intellectual disability support networks.

A positive step forward

‘The Charitable Foundation Board, when it approved the grant application from Family Planning NSW, acknowledged that this gap existed in the capacity of disability support networks, especially in rural and regional areas,’ he said. ‘This program is a positive step forward for support workers, parents, carers and most importantly, people with intellectual disability.

Disability education is part of Family Planning NSW’s offering, working towards meeting the reproductive and sexual health needs of all people. People living with intellectual disability often do not receive adequate sex education, which is vital for life skills, health literacy, improved decision-making and self-protection skills.

‘Sexuality can be a difficult and sensitive topic for support workers, teachers, carers or family members to discuss with those they support’, Family Planning NSW Disability Education Officer, Mekita Vanderheyde said.

‘Delivering sexuality education that is evidence-based, positive and relevant can equip them with the skills and confidence to have these conversations effectively,’ she said.

Free courses

There will be a series of courses available across the four regions, provided free of charge.

Two-day courses will be open to disability sector workers, a one-day course will be offered for primary and secondary school teachers working with students with intellectual disability, and two-hour interactive workshops will be held for parents and carers.

According to Mekita, these courses will equip disability sector workers and teachers with the skills to support clients and students with intellectual disability in relationships and sexuality education. Parents and carers will also have the opportunity to gain much needed information, resources and referral options, along with meeting other parents and carers in their area. Ultimately, people with intellectual disability will have improved health outcomes.

The courses will be held locally in Ballina from October 15 to 18. For more information visit: Family Planning NSW or email: [email protected]

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