Pedagogues in support of female students with disabilities
They are teachers, special education pedagogues. They work daily with young people aged 16-24 with assorted intellectual disabilities, persons with hearing and visual impediments, and persons with autism spectrum diagnoses. The group comprises four women employed at the special education school complex in Włocławek. At school, they pay considerable time to girls who frequently lack knowledge of their own sexuality or related support. “We want to make sure that young women with disabilities are aware of their rights, of choices open to them in life, and of roles they may pursue,” they declare. “For reason of disability and material or social status, our students are often exposed to discrimination and disrespectful treatment,” they add.
“We are sometimes driven by anger”
They knew very well what their students needed. Reliable sexual education was missing from schools (and the extramural environment as well, often as not). “We are sometimes driven by anger with how persons with disabilities are being disrespected in Poland. (…) They frequently become a tool at the hands of men who tend to abuse their disability,” they say.
They decided to run sexual education classes for female students with intellectual disabilities at their school. Meeting them once a week, they discussed a different topic during each meeting, including the menstrual cycle, contraception, pregnancy, personal hygiene, consenting, sex. They purchased multiple materials for use in class, as well as feminine hygiene products (tampons, sanitary pads, menstrual cups) frequently unavailable to teenagers. Having concluded they needed extra education themselves, they enrolled in a sexual educator course. Once all classes were over, they organised a field trip to a gynaecologist’s office, allowing girls to become used to doctors, the look of gynaecological surgeries and chairs, and introducing them to the assorted examinations and tests performed by gynaecologists – so that they would know what to expect.
Grant amount: PLN 4,400.00
Photos: Agata Kubis/ .kolektyw