Update #21 – November 11, 2015
This week I will be interviewing my 13th and final participant (lucky 13, right?!).
Research done by Hilary Brown (a postdoctoral research fellow at Women’s College Research Institute) and her colleagues reveal that women with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have lower cervical cancer screening rates than women without IDD. Further, they found that women with IDD are slightly more likely to have labour inductions and caesarean sections than non-disabled women, and at increased risk of postpartum hospital readmission. You can here more about this research here.
A disabled woman’s struggle is any woman’s struggle, F. Ryan (The Guardian) – In this article Ryan writes about how disabled women are often absent from mainstream feminist discourse.
Teen Invents Wheelchair Stroller For Mom With Disability, I. Khoo (The Huffington Post Canada)
Update #22 – December 3, 2015
Today is International Persons with Disabilities Day. I am sharing a piece that I wrote about my PhD research many months ago when I was just starting data collection. I’m not super happy with it (my conceptualization of some things including terminology has somewhat shifted in recent months) but still yay!! This will soon be published in Transition magazine, a publication of the Vanier Institute of the Family that explores the diversity and complexity of families and the reality of family life in Canada. On this International Persons with Disabilities Day, with the theme “inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities,” let’s not forget about the sexual and reproductive health and human rights of women with disabilities and all the great things that disabled mothers and parents bring to the world!
Update #23 – December 21, 2015
Data analysis is officially – OFFICIALLY – underway! I am happy to announce that I received some funds from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Gender and Health to share my study findings. Happy holidays and stay tuned for updates in the New Year!
Update #24 – January 5, 2016
Happy 2016! I hope you had a relaxing holiday!
I am in the midst of coding interviews (to identify common themes, etc.) and am constantly reminded of beautiful moments that participants shared with me. I loved hearing women tell me their birth stories and how they care for their children. One thing many women talked about was their child/ren’s growing recognition of their disability and worries about their children being teased because of their disability. Important too however was their child/ren’s recognition of their disability as “normal” (that’s all they know) and how children of parents with disabilities seem to be more accepting and tolerant of difference, and in some cases, even act as advocates for their parents. I want to share this quote from a participant who is blind. I think it’s so beautiful:
“…if he [son] wants me to see something, he’ll naturally let me feel it. Like if he’s doing a funny dance, he’ll so naturally come and take my hand and let me feel him doing the funny dance. It’s just so normal for him… When he was younger, he didn’t realize that, so he would ask everyone to feel everything. Like he’d want everyone to feel the picture that he drew. [laughs]…”
Update #25 – March 14, 2016
I took some time off in February (I went to Hawaii – don’t hate me!) and am now back into data analysis. I am giving a presentation of my preliminary findings on Wednesday as part of the Collaborative Graduate Program in Women’s Health seminar series here at the University of Toronto. In April I am presenting at the Women’s College Research Institute Research Development Rounds and in May I am presenting at the Association of Ontario Midwives Annual Conference. I hope to do a few other presentations in the summer and hold an event to share the study findings with participants and relevant community organizations in late summer or fall. Stay tuned for updates!
Update #26 – April 5, 2016
Data analysis is still very much underway and I am excited about how things are starting to come together. My presentation last month went well and I am gearing up to present at Women’s College Research Institute on Friday, where I will mostly be focusing on how participants described their care experiences and what this says about providers’ understandings (or misunderstandings) of disability and disability-related concerns. In short, more education and training regarding disability is needed!
In May, I will be presenting at the AOM Annual Conference, as mentioned, and in June, I will be sharing my work at the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada 72nd Annual Clinical and Scientific Conference in Vancouver. Here is my abstract for the latter conference.
Update #27 – May 13, 2016
I am still in the thick of data analysis but have begun writing which is exciting!! though I have a lot of work to do over the summer to put my dissertation together. In the meantime, I would like to share a report that a colleague shared with me today entitled “Able Mothers: The intersection of parenting, disability and the law,” which was conducted by Laura Track and others in BC (West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund) in 2014. The “goal with this project was to identify systemic barriers facing mothers with disabilities in BC through community consultations and legal research.” To do this, qualitative interviews with 25 mothers with disabilities and service providers who work with them were conducted. For a summary of findings click here. More information about the project can be found here.
Update #28 – May 17, 2016
Today I found out that a book chapter that I wrote on the health and well-being of sexual minority women (i.e., lesbian, bisexual, queer women) and trans people with disabilities will soon be available! This chapter is part of a book called Eliminating Inequities for Women With Disabilities: An Agenda for Health and Wellness. About the book:
“More than 20 million American women and girls have some form of disability, and this number will only increase in the years to come. At the same time, women with disabilities often have difficulty accessing health care services, and the quality of the health care they do receive is often worse than the care received by women without disabilities and men with disabilities. The consequences of these disparities include increased prevalence of secondary complications, diminished quality of life, and even premature death.
In this book, researchers from a range of disciplines, with expertise in a range of disabilities, investigate the causes and consequences of these health care disparities and offer plans for action to improve wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention among this broad yet consistently underserved population.
Using an integrated care framework as a foundation, authors tackle the structural, environmental, and social barriers that prevent women with disabilities from accessing effective and culturally-competent care and services, and address related issues including psychosocial health, interpersonal violence, health care policy, health promotion, disease prevention programs, and telehealth, as well as reproductive and sexual health, and dental care.”
Update #29 – June 10, 2016
I had a great time presenting at the AOM Conference in mid-May and I am now heavy into the writing stage of my dissertation and will be doing so all summer and fall, when I will also be coordinating the wrap-up of a multi-site, mixed-methods study on postpartum mental health among visible and invisible sexual minority women, under the supervision of one of my PhD supervisors, Dr. Lori Ross (University of Toronto), and Dr. Abbie Goldberg at Clark University.
I recently found out that my abstract was accepted to present at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Expo in late October 2016, in Denver, Colorado. This is the largest public health conference in North America, with an estimated 12,000+ attendees. I am very excited to be presenting my research alongside a number of researchers and clinicians in the U.S. who also do research on reproductive health of women with disabilities.
Update #30 – October 7, 2016
I am still writing away – hope to have a more substantial update early in the New Year! I presented some of my findings to Master’s students in the Introduction to Public Health course at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto a few weeks ago, and in late October, before I head to the APHA Annual Meeting & Expo in Denver, I will be presenting to first year PhD students.