My Life My Body Program: A healthy relationships and sexuality program for the disability community

Program snapshot

Age group: Adult (25-64)

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Individuals suffering from FASD; Persons with disabilities; Victims of crime

Topic: Crime issues involving a mental health disorder or other health disorder; Sexual violence (non-domestic); Violence against women and girls

Setting: Rural/remote area; Community-based setting

Location: Yukon

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Primary crime prevention; Secondary crime prevention

Brief Description

The My Life, My Body program is a one-year healthy relationships and sexuality program operated by the Yukon Association For Community Living with support from the Crime Prevention Victim Services Trust Fund. 

The goal of the program is to provide support, education and training about healthy relationships and sexuality that is tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities. It is meant to address the high rates of victimization experienced by people with disabilities in our communities and to provide people with the skills to thrive in their community.

The program is centered on leadership and youth development; mentoring and tutoring; parent training; peer counseling and mediation; skills training; social emotional learning.

Goals

The My Life, My Body Program was created to:

  • Start a conversation about sexuality and disability in our community;
  • Provide a space where parents can share and discuss concerns, ideas, and solutions for safety;
  • Provide resources and a private space for individuals, parents, caregivers and service providers to ask questions;
  • Teach healthy living and healthy sexuality skills to people with intellectual disabilities, FASD, or on the Autism Spectrum; and
  • Provide tools, training, and information to parents, caregivers, and service providers. 

The main goals addressed by The My Life, My Body Program are:

  • Reduce the environmental factors that contribute to criminal incidences through pro-active factual education and training to help reduce sexual victimization perpetrated on or by a person with an intellectual disability;
  • Reduce violence against women and children by creating greater awareness of sexual abuse or exploitation of women and children with intellectual disabilities who are particularly vulnerable due to strength and size differences; and
  • Create a positive impact on root causes of criminal behavior for people with intellectual disabilities by providing education/discussion on mimicking or role-playing behaviour, misunderstanding of social norms and inappropriate relationship behaviours.

Clientele

This appropriate clientele for this program are adults, mixed gender.

Core Components

The core components of My Life, My Body Program are:

  • Host a conference (with speaker Dave Hingsburger) for professionals who work with people with intellectual disabilities and families on healthy sexuality, rights and responsibilities, parents’ perspective, case law and legal consequences, best practices and challenges.
  • Hire a consultant who will deliver:
    • individual consultation for families, individuals and agency staff;
    • sessional group workshops (8 weeks each, 1 female, 1 male); and
    • a monthly parent and caregiver group to discuss concerns and develop a support network regarding sexual issues
  • Develop resources on sexual health for the Yukon community and agencies through a website (www.hsyukon.com) accompanied with a resource library and presentation materials.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: Strong parent and family relationships, strong relationships with individuals, well recognized marketing tools and marketing materials, a confidential space to meet with clients 1:1, group learning space and teaching materials, curricula and teaching resources, support for client transportation, food must be provided at all group programs and presentations.
  • Partnerships: Strong partnerships with schools and the Department of Education, as well as with partner organizations that work with this client community were critical to success.
  • Training and technical assistance: Ideally, the facilitator will have training in the delivery of sexual health education, experience working with this population and have familiarity with augmented communication tools like sign language or tablet programs. DVD player and audio, video presentation aids.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Google forms for conference registration, website for program information, printed marketing materials, client file system, curriculum binder and activities, markers, stickers and other activity resources.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

The program was implemented as a pilot in Whitehorse Yukon. It launched October 2015 and the pilot phase ended October 2016.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

Total cost for the project (1 year) is $32,000.

References

There is no Canadian reference available at this time.

For more information on this program, contact:

Yukon Association for Community Living
Suite 7, 4230 4th Ave.
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 1K1
Telephone: (867) 667- 4606
E-mail: yaclwhse@northwestel.net
Website: www.ycommunityliving.com


Record Entry Date - 2018-03-01

Date modified: