Sexual Health

Project SHINE, a sexual health initiative for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) launched in Spring 2021, has released a new Sexual Health Toolkit and sexual health game.

The toolkit, designed to help individuals make informed decisions around sexual and reproductive health, includes an illustrated glossary, real-life video testimonials from self-advocates and a resource hub.

It also features a “sexuality wheel” made up of spokes that tackle subjects such as “Anatomy,” “Sexual Orientation” and “Body Image.” The easy-to-understand explanations make up a useful, straightforward guide to issues often challenging to address.

There’s also an online game. Our Stories, Our Journeys: A Sexual Health Game explores more information about sexuality and sexual health. It’s based on stories and ideas from youth and others with I/DD.

About Project SHINE

The “SHINE” in Project SHINE stands for Sexual Health Innovation Network for Equitable Education with Youth with Intellectual Disabilities. It’s the brainchild of seven community-based New York organizations: Planned Parenthood of Greater New York; AHRC New York City; Disability and Aging Justice Clinic at CUNY School of Law; New Alternatives for Children; Self-Advocacy Association of New York State; Sinergia; and YAI.

“Historically, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have been excluded from any conversations on sex and sexuality. They have been denied the human rights to sexual expression, comprehensive education, and social-sexual support. Education and related services on these topics are fundamental rights,” YAI’s Consuelo Senior, then-assistant director of Training, said in a statement when the project launched.

“I know that Project SHINE is going to help raise awareness and help to equip people with intellectual disabilities and their supports with tools to form positive relationships, develop sexual advocacy and, ultimately, increase people’s ability to make informed decisions regarding their bodies.”

The project is funded by a three-year grant from Health and Human Services. The Boost has written Planned Parenthood asking what will become of initiative when the funding stops. Stay tuned!


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