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Sexual Device Manual

Sexual Device Manual for Persons with Disabilities

Occupational Therapists and DHRN members Edith MacHattie and Kate Naphtali are pleased to announce the completion of their manual entitled, “Sexual Device Manual for Persons with Disabilities”. Under the direction of Dr. Andrei Krassioukov, MD, PhD, FRCPC and Stacy Elliott, MD, this project was funded through the DHRN. This manual is already making waves after being recently released in September of 2009. Dr. Krassioukov and Dr. Elliott in fact just presented the manual as part of a presentation made to the International Spinal Cord Society 48th Annual Scientific Meeting held in Florence, Italy on October 21-24, 2009. Almost one hundred downloads have been made to date including several from rehab specialists and doctors attending this meeting. Dr.Claus Hultling from Sweden has complimented this new manual which seems to have hit a nerve in terms of filling a void for resources in this area.

The Sexual Device Manual for Persons with Disabilities includes research, clinical expertise and product information. It is intended for health care professionals and their clients with various disabilities. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA, 1986) has defined sexual expression as “engaging in desired sexual and intimate activities” and has categorized it as an activity of daily living (ADL) placing it in the same realm as dressing, eating, and toileting in terms of rehabilitation activities to focus on. (Friedman, 1997) The hope is that this manual will encourage dialogue between clinicians and their clients surrounding sexual and reproductive issues for those with disabilities.

The interest shown to date indicates that this manual serves to fill a need that often is just not talked about and where resources are severely lacking. In September 2009, both MacHattie and Naphtali did a podium presentation of their manual at the 2009 Congress on Spinal Cord Medicine and Rehabilitation Conference held in Dallas, Texas. This conference is put on by five major organizing bodies including the American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Nurses, American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Psychologists and Social Workers, American Paraplegia Society, Therapy Leadership Council in Spinal Cord Injury, and the American Spinal Injury Association. MacHattie and Naphtali have also presented the manual at the Fraser Health Authority Bridges conference to 200 Occupational Therapists from across the region. The manual has been well received as a resource that can generate more dialogue between clinicians and their clients.

The manual is available on the web for download by clicking here.

pleasureABLE Book Review by MaryBeth Bailar-Heath and Sigmund Hough, Dec. 2009

There are also plans to disseminate print copies to each major rehab centre. MacHattie and Naphtali are also available for speaker engagements. They are hoping that professionals will address sexual health more in their practices to help close the awkward silence surrounding this topic by initiating dialogue with their clients. They are suggesting that practitioners ask themselves, “Do I talk about sex with my clients? Why don’t I? What is my obligation to my clients?” If you are interested in learning more, please e-mail them at