Indian Social Institute, New Delhi
The Society for Child Development (SFCD)
is organizing a Pre-Seminar Workshop from November 3 to 6,
2008 as an effort to look at the sexual needs of persons with
severe disabilities, including mental retardation, cerebral
palsy, autism, and multiple disabilities (the Seminar being
the National Seminar on Adult Needs of Persons with Severe
Disabilities to be held on November 8, 2008 at the Main Auditorium,
India International Centre, New Delhi).
The Workshop will be conducted by Ms.
Sheila Warembourg, professional sex therapist working
with Handicap International (France office) as an Innovative
Project Creator and Coordinator since 2000, who provides support
service for the emotional and sexual lives of the intellectually
disabled; and Dr. Madhumita Puri, Executive
Director, Society for Child Development.
Issues surrounding the sexual needs of the disabled will
always be delicate and based on very personal viewpoints.
However, world-wide research (though very little till late)
shows that when a disabled person, a parent or a professional
has the opportunity to meet with others in a safe and intimate
environment with adequate and specific guidance, discussion
is possible. Discomfort, shame, different intellectual and
cultural levels only become strengths in the group allowing
each participant to evolve at his or her own pace.
The Workshop would aim to address the issues surrounding
intimacy and sexuality for people with disabilities. The issues
to be dealt with would include for the disabled:
||The need to be listened to, counselled,
and guided in the ways they would like to live their sexuality;
||The need for recognition as humans with emotions and
desires for intimacy;
||The desire to choose the relationship they live in,
and for some, to have a family;
||The risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections,
||The vulnerability of disabled people, and especially
disabled children, to sexual aggression or abuse;
||The need to improve specific quality of life aspects,
as personal and intimate as they may be.
It is important for their home and institutional caregivers
to respond to the needs and concerns expressed by the disabled
themselves. The workshop would aim to encourage personal fulfillment
and improved consideration and respect for the sexual needs
of the severely disabled. These objectives can be achieved
through counselling services offered to the professionals
that work with them and the personnel at the institutions
where they live and work. Experiences thus acquired, opportunities
to learn and share, and the occasion to listen to the professionals
of all levels, will give a rich understanding of the issues
surrounding the sexuality of those with severe disabilities.
Details of the Workshop:
||Sexual Health, Marriage & Reproduction
of the Severely Disabled
||Professionals in the field, Heads of Parent Associations,
|| Ms. Sheila Warembourg, Sex Therapist, Handicap International,
Dr. Madhumita Puri, Executive Director, Society for Child
||Severe disabilities, including mental retardation, cerebral
palsy, autism and multiple disabilities
||November 3 - 6, 2008; 10.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.
|| Indian Social Institute, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
||Rs. 4000 (inclusive of lunch, tea, and workshop material)
Understanding sexuality in the context of our culture
- Dr. Madhumita Puri
Similarities and dissimilarities in the cultural view
of sexuality - Ms. Sheila Warembourg
|| Day 2 & 3:
||Theme: Understanding, modifying
and developing curriculum in relation to:
Persons with severe disabilities
Challenges faced by master trainers
Pertinent Issues faced in dealing with severely disabled
"My body and the bodies of other
men" or "My body and the bodies of other women"
Presentation of the group leader and participants,
group functions: rules-guidelines, time, punctuality,
Anatomy and words we use
Puberty: physical changes, changes in our thoughts
and in our hearts. Is everyone the same at the same
Becoming a man / Becoming a woman: fears and satisfactions
Desire for independence
The bodies of those of the other
Reminders about the way the group functions: rules-guidelines,
time, punctuality, etc.
Anatomy and words we use for those of the other
Physical differences between men and women
Mental differences between men and women
Option to take home photocopies of male and female
anatomy, words we use, etc.
Intimate space and my body is mine
What do I like? Touch, smell, sight, sounds.
What don't I like?
Sensations that I like and don't like
What closeness and touching can I accept from
others: teachers, helpers, friends, family, stranger,
etc.? What I don't accept.
How to say "No"
When I feel like saying "Yes", where
can we find intimate space? Intimate time?
Who can I talk with if I have questions or doubts?
Where do babies come from and giving
Male and female fertility
Fetus development and twins
The mothers role, the fathers role
Do I want to have a baby?
How to avoid pregnancy, contraception methods
Condom use : avoid IST and pregnancy
Option to take photocopies about pregnancy and
Relationships and being in love
Falling in love: what are we feeling? (teaching
aid : photo-language)
How to meet new friends?
The difficulties to find intimate space
How to express and share our loving feelings and
Fear of rejection or the end of a relationship
Long term relationships, marriage, starting a
family: what does it all mean?
What projects for the future, what would I really
want? What worries me?
Who do I have confidence in? Who can give me advice?
Who can help me make decisions?
our own sexuality and sharing personal experiences
"Overview and evaluation"
- Dr. Madhumita Puri
Ms. Sheila Warembourg; A Profile
Ms. Warembourg is a professional sex
therapist working with Handicap International (France
office) as an Innovative Project Creator and Coordinator since
2000, who provides support service for the emotional and sexual
lives of the intellectually disabled. She caters for Professional
and pre-professional training for doctors, nurses, teachers,
psychologists and other social workers with regard to theoretical
and practical considerations of human sexuality (reproductive
health, HIV-Aids, sexual violence) in daily life as they accompany
disabled or vulnerable populations (France, Switzerland, Kenya,
Rwanda, (Tunisia and Nicaragua in progress)). She also serves
as a Facilitator for discussion groups about sexuality, intimacy
and relationships for people with disabilities.
After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Leisure
Studies: Therapeutic Recreation from Washington State University,
Pullman, Washington, U.S.A., Ms. Warembourg did a Masters
in Sexology and Public Health from the University of Paris
VII, Lariboisière Medical University. France. She has
several publications to her credit, which she has presented
in various national and international conferences. She is
also a Consultant expert: UNFPA - WHO Guidance note addressing
sexual and reproductive health and persons with disabilities,
RAFT e-course for Reproductive Health.
Dr. Madhumita Puri; A Profile
Dr. Puri is a doctorate in Psychology
(with specialization in disability). She has worked
with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for
10 years as a Senior Research Officer and Psychologist at
the Genetics Unit, Department of Pediatrics.
Having extensive experience in the counseling of children
and training of parents in the management of behavioral and
scholastic problems of children in the regular school setting,
she founded the Society of Child Development,
an NGO that works in the area of providing services, innovating
delivery models, and advocating for the creation of equitable
opportunities for children and adults with mental handicap
and other disabilities, in 1992. The Parent Support Network
(PSN) of the Society came into existence in 2004. Since then,
it has served as an active platform for parents of persons
with mental retardation under the able guidance of Dr. Puri.
The active participation of parents in the activities of the
PSN, namely the Focussed Discussion Group meetings; Workshops
on Sexuality and Employment have had a significant
impact on them and their age-old perceptions regarding the
Dr. Puri, apart from having several publications to her credit,
is also Director of Prabhat, a special school for children
with mental handicap. In 2000, she set up a Vocational Rehabilitation
Center for Young Adults with mental handicap along innovative
lines. She is also the Convener of Disability India Network,
an information web site (www.disabilityindia.org)
on issues related to disability in India. She has worked with
Handicap International, the World Bank and several other organizations
on multiple projects. She has also spearheaded a "Clean
Yamuna Campaign" that involves both 1,00,000 disabled
and non disabled students from 100 schools to work together
for the environment and to receive the opportunity to understand
the strengths and weaknesses of each other.