The men were accompanied by staff from their residence to visit the following informational and interactive stations that were located throughout the Meadow Glen building:
- Social Skills and Relationships
- Cleanliness and Hygiene
- Breast Health, Prostate / Testicular Cancer Facts
- FREE to Be LGBTQ Information
- Self-Stimulation / Objects of Pleasure Aids
- Abuse Prevention NO – GO – TELL
- Fitness and Grooming
In 2017 the Adult Residential Sexual Expression Committee at Developmental Disabilities Institute proceeded with a long-term goal: to support our men and women regarding their sexual expression. The committee included Dr. Richard Timo, supervising licensed psychologist, Sheila Thurman, nursing supervisor, Jeanann Defeo, assistant director, and Linda Hudson, curriculum and training coordinator. Dr. Richard Timo commented, “The task of addressing this sensitive issue had been put off for some time. Like many agencies, there was discomfort fueled by the opinions, beliefs, and fears of others including staff, administration, and family members.” Dr. Timo added, “This often leads to dealing with issues related to sexual expression on a crisis by crisis basis; we decided to take a proactive approach.”
The clinical team administered a sexual interest survey and soon discovered that almost every item on the survey referred back to aspects of health – physical, mental, social and sexual. The team designed and developed a new educational model via a series of Health and Wellness events tailored to the unique needs of the men and women we support. This included general topics for all attendees as well as issues related to gender-specific topics. The information regarding sexuality was presented in a normalized and direct manner.
Sheila Thurman, nursing supervisor commented, “The participation and feedback from the Men’s and Women’s Health and Wellness events have been overwhelmingly positive. It was amazing to see how each man and woman reacted to the information offered, indicating their interests and understanding.”
“Sexual expression is one of the many aspects of a healthy life. It includes self-esteem, gender identification, sexual orientation, acknowledgment of feelings, ways of relating to self and others, and sexual activity,” stated Dr. Timo.
Special thank you to the volunteers who helped to make the evening a great success: Andrea Rowe, LPN, Jessica Bass, LPN, Marina Melillo, BCBA, LBA, Jessica Cabezas, BS, Will Carroll, MACP, Heather Clark LMHC, Greggory Sammartano, MA, Casey McAuley, MS, Mathew Russell, LMSW, Lois Dua, Psy.D., Christina Petitti, Psy.D., Tiffany Graham MADS, Donte Blades, Dan Mudano, Nelson Montoya and Mary Downing. The Speaker’s Bureau from Family Residences and Essential Enterprises (FREE) and FREE to Be graciously volunteered their services for the evening.
Dr. Richard Timo, Sheila Thurman, JeannDefeo, and Linda Hudson will be presenting, Sexual Expression=Health and Wellness at the 2109 New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation Conference on April 4th, 2019. Additional topics including consent, individualization, safety, team process, and staffing will be discussed.
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