2016 TASH Conference has ended
Each year, the TASH Conference strengthens the disability field by connecting attendees to innovative information and resources, facilitating connections between stakeholders within the disability movement, and helping attendees reignite their passion for an inclusive world. This year’s conference theme, “Gateway to Equity,” explores inclusive communities, schools, and workplaces that support people with disabilities, including those with complex support needs, in living a fair, just, and balanced life. Return to TASH website.
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Wednesday, November 30 • 4:30pm - 6:30pm
People who use AAC, Relationships, and Sexuality LIMITED

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Limited Capacity seats available

Sexuality plays an important role in what it means to be human, and has an intricate connection within and throughout our lives. (Pownall, Jahoda, & Hastings, 2012; Bernert & Ogletree, 2013). The World Health Organization defines sexual health as ƒ??a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violenceƒ? (WHO, 2015). Research literature documents many aspects of disability and sexuality however very limited research investigates how the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) impacts the development and maintenance of intimate relationships. Communication is imperative for developing sexuality. In a study completed by Friedman, Arnold, Owen, and Sandman, self-advocates with intellectual and developmental disabilities identified communication as a crucial aspect of practicing sexual self-advocacy especially in the terms of speaking up, accessing information, and building healthy and positive relationships (2014). For people with complex communication needs, who primarily use AAC for communication, this presents an added layer of complexity. Communication is, undoubtedly, an important aspect of sexuality. However, for individuals with complex communication needs, communication is much more complex. AAC allows for individuals who have complex communication needs to communicate with those around them and may consist of high tech, no tech, or low tech devices that allow individuals to communicate with the people around them. This form of communication, while incredibly helpful for individuals with CCN, is still faced with stigma and negative connotations from the eyes of a nondisabled world. Even within an AAC device individuals may not have access to the vocabulary required to communicate about sexuality. Because of the importance of communication in developing and maintaining sexuality, this study will seek to understand the experiences and perspectives of individuals who primarily use AAC to communicate. What limited research is currently available on the topic of AAC use and sexuality mainly describes ways in which sexual abuse can be prevented for individuals who use AAC. While this is, indeed, a crucial topic, it limits the research to negative aspects of sexuality alone. This research study seeks to help professionals in the fields of communication sciences and disorders and AAC development to understand the experiences of individuals who use AAC. It also seeks to provide individuals who use AAC with information about the experiences of sexuality and relationships that other individuals who use AAC have shared.

avatar for Megan Hoorn

Megan Hoorn

Huron Valley Schools
Megan Hoorn is a sibling to her younger sister, Brenna (as well as four younger brothers). Megan graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in speech-language pathology from Eastern Michigan University. She then graduated with a Master of Science degree in communication sciences... Read More →

Wednesday November 30, 2016 4:30pm - 6:30pm CST
Grand F 1820 Market Street, St. Louis, MO 63103