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Saturday, 19 January, 2002, 18:19 GMT
Disabled delegates focus on sex
Delegates at the Disability Wales Conference
Delegates are discussing family relationships
A conference in south Wales is focussing on some of the hidden and sometimes forbidden issues of disability - human relationships.

Disability Wales is staging its annual conference which is uniting delegates from all over the country at Port Talbot.

I think the perception is that a sex life does not generally happen for disabled people

Rhian Davies of Disability Wales

The charity says there are policies on a wide range of issues affecting the lives of disabled people - from education to work.

However, the charity also says what disabled people do in private isa also a human rights issue.

It aims to form policies towards matters of sexual and family relationships which its claimed are often "swept under the carpet" in society.

Disability Wales Chief Executive Rhian Davies said: "I think the perception is that a sex life does not generally happen for disabled people."

"The very idea that disabled people have sexual relationships within family settings is something that does not really occur to people," said Ms Davies.

"We hope this conference will give Disability Wales some idea of the way forward in our services, and in whom we should be lobbying to make improvements in the way these problems are dealt with."

Delegate Siwsann George
Siwsann George : Bridge

The two day conference is called "Something for the weekend? and is taking place at the Aberavon Beach Hotel.

It will bring delegates together in a number of confidential workshops around the issues of sex and family relationships.

Pregnancy and parenting and the image of disabled people in the media are also being addressed along with issues of design for disabled people.

Graeme Findlay, a parent who is conducting a workshop on sexuality, said there were a lot of assumptions wrongly made about disabled people.

"We want to get the messsage across that we are good enough parents just like other parents...and we may need support like other parents do," said Mr Findlay.

The organisers of the conference say they hope it will help encourage a more open attitude to the difficulties disabled people have to overcome on an daily basis.

Delegate Siwsann George said : I think the conference will build a bridge from our world to the outside world."

Disability Wales' Chief Executive Rhian Davies
"The idea of people having sexual relationships ...does not really occur to people"
BBC Wales's Sian Richards
"The organisers hope the conference will be thought-provoking"
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