self defense for people with disabilities

Ability:IMPACT Programs

Ability:IMPACT Safety and Self-Defense

The Ability:IMPACT curriculum (formerly called IMPACT:Ability) teaches people with disabilities to recognize unsafe situations and respond with effective self-protective behaviors. Students learn skills that are relevant to sexual violence, attempted abduction, bullying, and harassment as well as how to assert and advocate for themselves in everyday situations.

Students learn:

  • Refusing unwanted help or attention while commuting on public transportation
  • Deflecting and escaping a bullying situation
  • Assertive communication and self-advocacy
  • Resisting inappropriate sexual touch from a caregiver or adult, including workplace sexual harassment
  • Resisting attempted sexual assault by a dating partner or peer
  • Effective communication and conflict resolution in the workplace
  • Adaptive physical self-protection skills

IMPACT:Ability is evidence-based. An independent evaluation conducted by the Institute for Community Health found that the program increased Boston Public Schools Students’ knowledge, self-confidence and self-protective behaviors. One-year follow-up evaluation found that many of these gains were maintained.

Ability:IMPACT Healthy Relationships and Sexuality Education Training

The Ability:IMPACT Healthy Relationships & Sexuality Education program aims to give people with disabilities the skills and information to lead full, happy and independent lives enhanced by healthy relationships of their own choosing. Our full program consists of fourteen 60-minute sessions. We can also create shorter, customized programs to meet the needs of each unique group of individuals.

Topic Options: Healthy Relationships

  • Appropriate touch within different relationships
  • Appropriate touch within professional, public, and private settings
  • Healthy Communication
  • Healthy Decision Making
  • Healthy and Unhealthy Behaviors
  • Consent

Topic Options: Sexuality Education

  • Reproductive Anatomy
  • Types of Sex and Safer sex practices
  • Consent
  • STIs
  • Contraceptives

Ability:IMPACT Internet Safety Training

Ability:IMPACT’s Internet Safety Training was developed in response to increased reports of people with disabilities being exploited on the Internet. Our Internet Safety Training is specifically designed to help people with disabilities learn how to stay safe while navigating Internet platforms such as social media and online dating sites. This class teaches strategies to maintain safety while staying connected, empowering people with disabilities to find new ways to connect with their peers during this time of social distancing.

Topics include:

  • How to connect with people on social media
  • Healthy decision making online
  • Recognizing red flags on the Internet
  • Consent on social media
  • Understanding privacy settings
  • Navigating online dating

For more information contact:

Jeanine Woods
Ability:IMPACT Program Manager