YWCA Metro St. Louis

Sexual Health and Disability Education

What is SHADE?

SHADE offers individual and small group classes on friendships, dating, and sexuality to individuals with developmental disabilities.

What do SHADE classes cover?

Relationships are hard. We all need help sometimes. 

SHADE exists to support the relationships and sexual goals of individuals with disabilities. Individuals can determine their own goals based on the following topics:

Who is eligible for SHADE?

  • Feelings
  • Unhealthy/healthy relationships
  • Public vs private
  • Staring, staying in, and ending relationships 
  • Sexuality and sexual health
  • Conflicts in relationships
  • Sexual abuse prevention
  • Boudnaries
  • Birth Control
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Sexual decision-making 


Who is eligible for SHADE? 

Residents of St. Louis City

  • With a diagnosis of MR, cerebral palsy, autism, learning disability, or epilepsy
  • Any age


Residents of St. Louis County

  • With a diagnosis of MR, cerebral palsy, autism, or epilepsy
  • Ages 9+


How long is the class?

Classes can be from 1-10 sessions, generally an hour long (can be modified to meet the learning needs of participants).

Where are classes held?

Classes can held for individuals or small groups (up to 8 people) in the following locations:

  • YWCA Metro Office on Saint Louis University's campus in mid-town St. Louis 
  • YWCA Women's Resource Center, 140 N. Brentwood Blvd. Clayton, Missouri
  • Schools, disability agencies, other social agencies


Residents of St. Louis City ONLY

Classes may be held in the home of the participant.

Community presentations

Trainings and workshops are available for family members of individuals with disabilities, staff, and teacher who support individuals with disabilities, staff at domestic and sexual violence organizations and first responders such as law enforcement and medical professionals.

Training/Workshop topics can include:

  • Sexual violence
  • Supporting people with disabilities who have experienced sexual violence
  • Trauma-informed practice
  • Preventing sexual abuse against people with disabilties
  • Handling disclosures: What to do after you report
  • Support sexual choices of individuals with disabilities
  • Dating and Disability
  • How to talk to your children about sexuality


If you have a training need that is not listed, please contact us for a tailor-made presentation

How do I set up a class?

For residents of St. Louis City, contact Kayla Potter at 314-531-1115 x5237 or 314-726-6665 x5345,  or kpotter@ywcastlouis.org.

For residents of St. Louis County, contact Christina Meneses at 314-726-6665 or cmeneses@ywcastlouis.org