OpEd – The Importance of Gaining Proper Sex Education for People with Disabilities

by Maggie Rudnicki

Sex education is an incredibly important part of any child’s education and will shape their beliefs and experiences going into sexual maturity. The urge to reproduce is one of our most basic biological imperatives that goes back to Darwinian evolution – we are driven to survive and reproduce. It is, therefore, of great importance for everyone to understand how their bodies work and how to take care of them. Sex education should be place for young people to learn about puberty, reproduction, gender, sexuality, sex, the benefits and risks of sex, reproductive health, and interpersonal relationships. Unfortunately, many people across the country do not have access to comprehensive sex education. Individuals with disabilities are particularly affected by this. Society has trouble viewing people with disabilities as sexual and thus excludes them from sex education. When people with disabilities do receive sex education it is often an inaccessible curriculum that doesn’t fit their learning style or body. Better sex education for people with disabilities can have numerous benefits such as protection from sexual assault; better hygiene, social skills, and body positivity; and a more fulfilling sex life.

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Gastrointestinal Health Technologies

by Owen Baylosis

What is an Ostomy?

An ostomy is a surgery performed to redirect stool or urine  out of the body

  • Reasons
    • Rectum/ Colon cancer
    • Intestinal injury
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Obstruction
    • Diverticulitis
  • Through this surgery, part of the intestine is rerouted through the abdominal wall to create a stoma
    • A stoma is a piece  of intestine that protrudes through the abdominal wall and is used to release waste
    • People with an ostomy will wear an ostomy pouch on the stoma to collect intestinal contents
    • Stomas do not have muscles, so intestinal contents pass into the pouch


Skin barrier being removed from a stoma. The stoma is bright red and roughly the size of a bottle cap. It is right to the left of the ostomate’s naval.

Photo of a healthy stoma. It is bright red and roughly the diameter of a quarter. The ostomate is caucasian.

Types of Ostomies

  • ColostomyDiagram of colostomy in human abdomen; "transverse colon", "descending colon", "ascending colon", "ileum", "end colostomy", "caecum", "sigmoid colon", "rectum", "anus" are labeled
    • Stoma is made from large intestine(colon)
    • May be temporary or permanent
    • May be performed for rectal cancer, diverticulitis, or fecal incontinence


Diagram of where an ileostomy is placed. The ileum and ileostomy are labeled

  • Ileostomy
    • Stoma is made from small intestine(ileum)
    • May be temporary or permanent
    • May be used to treat inflammatory bowel disease or rectal cancer


  • UrostomyDiagram of urostomy in human abdomen; "urostomy" and "piece of ileium used to fashion urostomy" labelled.
    • Ureters are redirected to stoma made from small intestine(ileal conduit)
    • Permanent
    • May be used to treat bladder cancer or urinary incontinence

Non-pouch Procedures

  • Ileoanal Reservoir(J Pouch)Diagram indicates that colon has been removed; ileum(labeled) has been stitched near the anus(labeled) to create an ileoanal reservoir(labeled)Colon and rectum are removed
    • Ileum is connected directly to anus, and reservoir collects stool
    • Used to treat polyps in the colon



  • Continent Ileostomy(Kock Pouch)Diagram shows the colon(labeled) and rectum(labeled) have been removed. The ileum(labeled) is connect to an internal kock pouch(labeled) which is directed to an external stoma(labeled)Internal reservoir made in ileum
    • Drained via catheter, no bag necessary
    • Very delicate procedure, not common
    • For candidates who aren’t good candidates for ileoanal reservoir or don’t want a pouch

Pouching Systems

  • Main pieces are the skin barrier and the pouchFront and back view of a white ostomy pouch with a yellow skin barrier.
    • Skin barrier is adhesive portion attached to the skin
      • Protects skin and holds pouch in place
    • Pouch holds waste
      • Pouches for Ileostomies and Colostomies can be drainable(washed and reused, changed every 3-5 days)
      • Pouches for Colostomies can also be closed, meaning they need to be removed and disposed of(changed after every empty)


  • Many other options as wellShows skin barrier being applied by a latex gloved hand to a white abdomen around a bright red stoma
    • Filters-to prevent gas buildup, but without odor
    • Material variety-opaque or transparent/soft covers
    • Closure systems-clamps or integrated closure
      • Urostomy bags have a spout as opposed to a closable mouth
    • Skin barrier-can vary in flexibility, shape, adhesive

TIES® System

  • OstomyCure, a  company based in Oslo, Norway, claims to have a new technology Peach colored cap next to a titanium mesh tube insert that goes inside the stoma.for ileostomates that removes the need for a bag



Ostomate Lifestyle

  • Diet
    • Chew thoroughly
    • Reduce high fiber foods
    • Dehydration is a side effect, so drink regularly
    • May have to avoid foods such as popcorn and nuts
    • Everyone’s body is different
  • 750,000 to 1 million  Americans have an ostomy
  • While ostomates don’t directly qualify for disability benefits,  according to Social Security Administration, conditions such as IBD do qualify
    • Accessible bathrooms
  • United Ostomy Associations of America

Apps used for Gastrointestinal Health

  • Apps that track the symptoms of users with digestive disorders
    • GI BodyGuard
    • MyGIHealth
    • Apps that are specific to Inflammatory Bowel Disease
      • GI Buddy
      • myIBD
  • PoopMD
    • Allows parents to learn the meanings of their infants’ poop and detect signs of gastrointestinal disorders
    • Can take photos of diapers and analyze color



Autistic Activism

by Cara Boim and Hannah Ridings

This presentation discusses the shift in definition of autism to a biologically rooted disorder and an “epidemic” through the lens of autistic activism, hypothesizing causes for and pointing out issues inherent in this discourse.  The role of Autism Speaks in contributing to a pathologizing narrative is discussed, using the example of the 2009 “I Am Autism” video.  Social versus medical models of disability are compared, and the work of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) in response to the 2007 “Ransom Notes” campaign is discussed as an example of autistic activism.

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