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Webinar: Supporting Registered Sex Offenders with Disabling Conditions: Implications and Strategies for Vocational Service Providers
January 19 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Individuals with disabilities who engage in sexual misconduct or harmful sexual behavior face daunting challenges when attempting to successfully gain and maintain meaningful employment within their respective communities. The struggle to maintain community engagement, a factor that is proven to reduce recidivism of sexual offending behavior, is often an overwhelming struggle for those affected by mental health disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, or personality disorders) neurological conditions (e.g., learning disabilities, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders), and traumatic brain injuries that have been undiagnosed or unsuccessfully treated for varying reasons. Despite a substantial body of research demonstrating those who commit sexual offenses are generally less likely to reoffend, pervasive misconceptions about sex offenders exist in the United States and often contribute to poor outcomes for these individuals who are often in need of specialized treatment to address mental health issues, social skills deficits, difficulties with relationships, and in some cases significant paraphilic disorders. Typically, treatment approaches for individuals who commit sexual offenses appropriately focus on the prevention of future sexual offense behavior. Unfortunately, this often means individuals who commit these offenses infrequently receive targeted information related to their disabling condition, maintaining healthy relationships, and gaining meaningful employment and housing. Understandably, mandated sex offender treatment should focus on prevention; however, those convicted of sexual offenses need assistance in developing appropriate social skills and meaningful employment in an effort to facilitate prevention and general community safety. In this workshop, various pathways to sexual offending will be reviewed with a particular emphasis on evidence-based strategies that can be adapted to assist employment providers in the provision of meaningful, vocational supports for their clients with disabilities who engage in sexual misconduct.
Presenter: Kim Spence, Ph.D.
Dr. Kim Spence is the Clinical Director of Autism Support Services for Specialized Treatment & Assessment Resources and has worked for the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) since 1999. For the past 20 years she has lectured internationally regarding treatment supports, specialized therapeutic intervention, supporting registered sex offenders, and the creation of specialized sexuality education programs for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Dr. Spence began providing specialized sexuality education training for parents, teachers, and care providers of individuals with ASD in 2000 and has offered numerous trainings focused on discriminating between maladaptive sexual behaviors versus mental health issues and specialized educational and behavioral interventions to support healthy sexual knowledge for individuals with ASD across the life-span. She has been training emergency responders, law enforcement personnel, and members of the criminal justice system since 2001 and is an appointed Advisory Board Member of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse (MEPIC). Dr. Spence frequently trains probation and parole officers and supervisors of sex offenders across the United States in an effort to assist them in safely and ethically managing clients with varying disabilities and to recognize characteristics of commonly occurring disabilities that may contribute to challenging or inappropriate behavior. Dr. Spence serves as a consulting editor for the journal Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) of the American Association for Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and on the editorial review board of the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation (JVR).