A number of parents from inner-city communities have been engaged through parenting and sexual health workshops coordinated by State agency the National Family Planning Board (NFPB). The workshops are paying special attention to adults with disabilities as well as the parents of children with disabilities.
“We have recognised that these persons need our attention, just as much as other population groups. They need appropriate and substantial information in order to make the right decisions concerning their sexual and reproductive health, and they need it to be delivered to them in a way that they can understand and relate to,” said Kia Williams, counsellor at the NFPB and facilitator of the workshops.
Geared towards educating parents on how to communicate with their children about issues surrounding sex, relationships and preserving good sexual and reproductive health, parents are being taught about the importance of the 'sex talk'.
“Parents of children with disabilities know their children better than we do, so once we guide them, the parents will know how to speak to their children about these issues,” said Williams.
The workshops also cover topics such as the reasons adolescents should hold off from sex, sexually transmitted infections and their symptoms, and the various contraceptive methods available in Jamaica.
“It's a common misconception that persons with disabilities are not sexually active,” said Williams.
For this reason, the parents have also benefitted from having many of the popular sexual health myths debunked, helping them to be more versed on these issues when discussing sex and sexual health with their children.
Parents and community members have reported that they are grateful for the workshops as many of them found it difficult to have these conversations with their children and have found that the sessions have helped them develop better parenting and communication skills.