SHARES Task Force 2017 Annual Conference

Healthy Sexuality:  Knowledge is Power! 

Supporting Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities through Education and Advocacy


March 13, 2017 8AM- 4PM EDT
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New Jersey Law Center
One Constitution Square
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Driving Directions


Tracy A. Higgins, LPC
Finding Your Individuality

All individuals should have access to information, services, and resources to discover and meet their sexuality related needs and desires.  This may include expressing one’s sexual desires, forming close relationships, making decisions about sexual activities, going for a sexual health exam, using a safer sex or contraceptive, or getting support as a survivor of intimate partner violence or sexual assault. The SHARES Task Force conference provides space for individuals with disabilities and their caregivers, professionals, and service providers to access information and engage in workshops together.

This conference will highlight approaches that support healthy sexuality and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As a new feature, the conference will feature a track designed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to communicate about healthy sexuality and their needs. 

Conference Schedule

8:00 am -9:00 am       Registration & Information

9:00 am -9:15 am       Welcoming Remarks

9:15 am -10:15 am     Healthy Sexuality:  Approaches in Collaboration

10:15 am -10:25 am   Break

10:25 am -12:25 pm   Concurrent Workshop Block 1

12:25 pm -1:10 pm     Lunch

1:10 pm -3:10 pm       Concurrent Workshop Block 2

3:10 pm -3:20 pm       Break

3:20 pm -3:45 pm       Reconnect & Moving Forward

3:45 pm -4:00 pm       Final Remarks

New for 2017!:  Each concurrent workshop block features sessions designed for Self Advocates and Professionals. The Self Advocate Track are sessions for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Professional Track are sessions designed for individuals supporting or working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  

Block 1 Workshop Options:

Addressing Violence Against Women with Developmental Disabilities (Self Advocate Track)

Studies suggest nearly 90% of women with disabilities have experienced some type of abuse in their lifetime. In particular, women with developmental disabilities are 3-10 times more likely than their non-disabled peers to experience abuse over longer periods of time. This interactive session is designed to familiarize women with developmental disabilities with the signs and symptoms of abuse, the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships, how to seek help and safety planning using role playing, a brief video and discussion.

Advocating for Healthy Sexuality (Professional Track)

According to the World Health Organization, achieving sexual health is related to the extent peoples' rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled.  In this session, attendees will explore the concept of sexual health and discuss rights that are especially critical for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in meeting their sexual health needs.   

The Effective Strategy-Based Curriculum for Abuse Prevention and Empowerment for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (ESCAPE-NOW). Part 1. (Professional Track)

ESCAPE-NOW is a curriculum that informs individuals about ways to make effective, self-protective decisions in a wide range of sexual, physical, and verbal abuse situations.  The curriculum also provides education on personal rights and teaches individuals various ways to exercise these rights independently and/or with support.  The goal of ESCAPE-NOW Part 1 & Part 2 is to familiarize participants with the newly revised program and prepare participants to use the program within their profession.  In Part 1 of this workshop, attendees will become familiar with the development of ESCAPE-NOW curriculum and UNIT 1: Knowledge of Abuse and Empowerment (Lessons 1-5).  


Block 2 Workshop Options:

Sexual Health 101:  Taking Care of You (Self Advocate Track)

Going for a health exam, using condoms during sex, and knowing about the body are a few ways a person can take care of their sexual health. Attendees of this session will play a trivia game that reviews sexual health strategies such as breast & testicular self awareness, going for a pelvic exam, getting tested for HIV, and how to use a condom correctly. 

ESCAPE NOW- Part 2 (Professional Track)

The goal of ESCAPE-NOW Part 1 & Part 2 is to familiarize participants with the newly revised ESCAPE-NOW program and prepare participants to use the program within their profession. In Part 2 of ESCAPE-NOW attendees will be introduced to UNIT II: Decision - Making Strategy Training (Lessons 6-12) and Unit III: Support Group sessions of the curriculum.

Who Should Attend: Mental health professionals, health and human service providers, developmental disabilities agency direct care staff, sexual violence advocates and SANES, case managers, behavior specialists, self-advocates, parents and caregivers.Register Now! 

Registration Fee: General Admission $55; Collaborating Partners, Sexual Violence Advocates and SANEs  $35; Students $25

Sponsored by: 

Sexuality, Health, Awareness, Rights, Education and Safety Task Force for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

SHARES members: Finding Your Individuality (FYI), Developmental Disabilities Center (DDC) at Morristown Medical Center, Atlantic Health /Morris CARES (formerly known as the Morris County Sexual Assault Center), NJ Division of Disability Services (DDS), Middlesex LEADS a Collaborative of the Middlesex County Center for Empowerment and the Alliance Center for Independence, Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) NJ