About Us

DS Consulting dedicates their work toward improving the lives of people who have intellectual disabilities through education, training, assessment and treatment. Shelley and Deborah co-founded DS Consulting in 2012, but have been working together for 15 years.

For 15 years, Shelley and Deborah have worked together on a number of publications, projects and research studies including abuse awareness and prevention, understanding genetic disorders, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder and the often-complex sexuality issues that accompany such disabilities. They have presented at conferences throughout North America and most recently, Europe. These experiences have given them a wealth of knowledge in understanding the complicated concerns often faced by people with intellectual disabilities.

Since 2012, Shelley and Deborah have been actively training devoted and committed staff working in the developmental sector around abuse awareness. This training certifies them to train their peers in their work setting, thereby supporting a newly adopted law set out by the Ministry of Community and Social Services – Developmental Sector, Regulation 299/10.

Shelley and Deborah look forward to working with others who have also committed to ensuring that people with intellectual disabilities are able to live their “best lives” through ongoing and continued supports.

We cannot wait to broaden and expand our consulting firm.

Deborah Richards

M.A., C.H.M.H.

Deborah has a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology, a Bachelor of Arts in Disability Studies and a Certificate in Habilitative Mental Health. Her years of working in the Developmental Sector provided her with vast experiences in understanding and supporting people who have intellectual disabilities and a mental health disorder. She is a sex educator with a focus on sexual abuse prevention. Her expertise and research is the assessment and treatment of people who have problematic sexual behaviours. She volunteers on the Board of Directors, as Vice-President of Women’s Place of South Niagara. She also has a private psychotherapy practice in Fonthill Ontario.

Deborah is a member of the following organizations:

National Association for Dual Diagnosis
Women’s Place of South Niagara
Ontario Association for Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists
College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario
International Academy of Sex Research
European Association for Mental Health in Intellectual Disability
Crisis Prevention Institute


Shelley L. Watson

Ph.D., C.H.M.H.

Shelley L. Watson is an Associate Professor at Laurentian University, with a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. Her research focuses on intellectual disability and human rights issues, with specific emphasis on sexuality and abuse prevention. She has created specialized courses on disability issues and teaches within the Psychology and Human Development programs. Shelley is a point person for assisting agencies with policies and practices to help prevent abuse as well as training for sexual abuse prevention.

For more information, please visit http://laurentian.ca/faculty/swatson.

Shelley is a member of the following organizations:

Independence Centre and Network (ICAN)
American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disability (AAIDD)
National Association on Dual Diagnosis (NADD)
OADD Research Special Interest Group (RSIG)
Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities (OADD)


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