Intimacy and Disability

Darryl with supervisors


New research has just been completed by one of Flinders’ University’s PhD Candidates, Darryl Sellwood.

Darryl recently presented the findings of his research around people with complex communication needs (for example, people who use an electronic device for communication) and their lived experiences of developing romantic and sexual relationships.

Darryl interviewed 9 participants and his research found that ableism was the main theme which emerged through the data analysis. It often created barriers to forming relationships and in communicating within intimacy. If you haven’t heard of ‘ableism’ before, it is the cultural preference for able-bodied people. Darryl’s research highlighted the sub-conscious assumptions in society that people with a disability need to be protected from sex and are asexual.

The recommendations from Darryl’s study inform NDIS policy development, as well as the inclusion of intimacy related communication tools within assistive communication devices.

More Information:

Darryl’s published papers can be found here.

(2017) Sexuality and Intimacy for People with Congenital Physical and Communication Disabilities: Barriers and Facilitators: A Systematic Review

If you are a Higher Degree by Research student, and your research contributes to knowledge about disability, we would love to hear from you for this blog.

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