Health Connection is a company that designs sex education curriculum for teachers. Teen Talk: Adapted for All Abilities is an adaptation of their Teen Talk curriculum, and is designed to cater to 7th to 12th grade students with disabilities. This is an adaptation of This curriculum focuses on tolerance, respect, and personal values articulation. It addresses topics like sexuality, gender roles, and reproductive healthcare. This curriculum also uses gender inclusive language. The Adapted for All Abilities can be purchased for $345 (plus tax). You can find more information at the link below:
Elevatus offers a variety trainings staff, direct support professionals, educators, self-advocates and parents to teach sexuality education to children and adults with developmental disabilities. In addition to their trainings, Elevatus has a sex education curriculum that can be purchased.
Here are examples of some of their trainings and the costs:
- For Staff and Professionals – Developmental Disabilities and Sexuality 101 ($397)
- For Parents/Guardians – Talking With Your Kids: Developmental Disability and Sexuality ($47)
- In-service/live workshops and a 3-Day Certificate Training ($725) for anyone who wants to lead sexuality education classes with people with developmental disabilities.
To get more information about Elevatus Training:-https://www.elevatustraining.com/
I know a lot of you already do a lot of lesson planning, but when you’re new, it can be a little difficult figuring out where to start. Here are step by step instructions for lesson planning as well as a lesson plan template. To see examples of some of my lesson plans click here, here, or here. You may not need to be so structured every time, but it helps in the beginning. It also good to have a series of documents that you revise so you’re not re-inventing the wheel every time.
What do I want to make sure that I have time to talk about? What are the most important issues for me to cover?
Step 2: Audience
Who is my audience? What adaptations will they need? How long is their attention span per activity? Will I need to adjust the room?
Step 3: Goals & Objectives
What are my objectives? What do I hope participants will learn? (More than two or three goals and objectives may be unreasonable)
Step 4: Lesson Plan
Write the outline for your presentation and allot estimated time to each segment. Consider potential activates: focus writing, videos, lectures, questionnaires, stem sentences, drawing/art, responding to pictures, matching, sequencing, pro/con lists, continuums, attitude assessments, ice breakers, guided imagery, journals, role plays, case studies, stories/media, brainstorming, creating teaching materials, building models, myth/fact sheets, self assessments, thought bubbles and small groups (this is not an exhaustive list). Whatever you choose (1) make sure there is some variation (2) build your activities from more structured to less structured, (3) warm up your participants for sensitive topics, (4) and allow for participation through multiple modalities. You will probably run out of time so schedule the least important things last or know exactly what time you have to cut earlier activities off. It’s good to either over plan or have a few tricks up your sleeve in case one of your activities bomb or you run out of time.
Step 5: Practice and Coordinate
Practice and, if working with a partner, delegate facilitation responsibilities. Is the time frame realistic? Do I understand each activity? What can I cut if necessary?
Step 6: Materials
Gather any materials you will need. This list would include handouts, visual aids, flip chart, materials you’ve developed, ect.
Autism Now isn’t specifically focused on topics related to sexuality but they do have some great resources I thought I could highlight.
They have a series of webinars related to sexuality topics. If you click on the link you’ll be taken to a registration box that you have to fill out to view the material. I’ve also included links to the slides- this is a direct link, you don’t need to register.
Slides: “Sex is when people use their bodies together to share love and pleasure.”
Slides: “Research says that the IQ has to be below 50 before you can say IQ and parenting skill are connected (Feldman& Tymchuk, 2002).”
And they just had one on May 15th, but you’ll have to keep an eye on the archive list because it’s not up yet- “Let’s Talk About Sex: Discussing the Topics of Sex, Protection, and/or Sexuality from Three Unique Viewpoints”
In addition to the webinars they have some general “fact sheet” style info that might be helpful on topics such as dating, marriage, divorce, relationships, sexuality, parenting, and friendships. These include general information as well as parent tips.
I was really impressed by the quality and quantity of ASD related resources on a variety of topics so it’s a good one to have in your tool belt.
I just wanted to link to one other power point presentation that I thought had a lot of good information. “Sexuality & Sexuality Instruction with Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Developmental Disabilities” by Peter F. Gerhardt, Ed.D., Director The McCarton Upper School
When you think about implementing sexuality education, it is important to think of what your agency is already doing because it is often easier to build on something than to start from scratch.
I’m going to present a model for one approach for implementing sexuality education at the agency level. This isn’t the only way to do this, but rather a suggestion of one path that I have found to be successful. Your agency may already have completed some phases or find some phases to be unnecessary.
Phase I: Start a committee- bring together a few people who are interested in topics of human sexuality and willing to do some of this work.
Phase II: Draft a sexuality policy- this will serve as a foundation the committee’s path.
Phase III: Invest in curriculum and teaching materials- you don’t need much to start out with, but I think it’s helpful to have something and you can always add later. Having said that, I’ve never come across anything that didn’t need some adaptation.
Phase IV: Start thinking about who you want to target and how- do you want to do small groups or individual education? Who is going actually implement the education and what support do they need (training, regular meetings to process how it’s going)? What will your process be for getting individuals receiving services involved? (I’ve attached a sample Referral Form).
Phase V: Start Implementing!
Phase VI: Expand and Revise- self advocates, expanding curriculum, increasing training for all employees…there’s so many interesting and fun places you can go.
You may be saying to yourself, “this is great, but I’m not really in a position to implement agency wide change where I work”. Here are some questions to ask yourself in regards to what you can do at a personal level.
- Where could I fit in with what my agency is already doing?
- How can I reinforce and incorporate human sexuality concepts into my everyday interactions?
- How can I incorporate human sexuality concepts into programing?
- What can I do to advocate for human sexuality education?
Although this list can be used with any population, it is geared towards individuals who need a considerable amount of support. Many of these are probably things you already do!
1. Prompt clients/consumers/students to greet one another.
I’m always surprised to realize that some people don’t know the names of the other people they spend time with each day. A simple greeting is a wonderful, simple, social script that you have natural opportunities to practice each day.
2. Ask permission or notify an individual before touching their person or their wheel chair.
This reinforces that an individual has control and autonomy over his or her own body. It’s important for people to feel in control of their body so that they feel safe and also so they can keep others’ safe. It also communicates that a person’s body is something that needs to be treated with respect.
3. Keep all aspects of a personal care (toileting) routine private.
This means that you don’t follow behind someone with a Depends (or other personal care item)- use a bag. It also means you don’t announce taking someone to the restroom to the group (say it quietly so only the person you are speaking to can hear).
4. Do not speak negatively about clients/consumers/students in front of others – including saying they are having behaviors.
People are very perceptive about when others are speaking negatively about them. When you say so and so is having behaviors it makes the situation very public, embarrasses the individual, and gives positive reinforcement (in the form of attention) to the behavior. If for your safety you need to communicate this, use a code (In Champaign we would say “did you see the Illini’s defense last night?” which meant we are having a potentially dangerous behavior situation please hang out until all clear).
5. Do not affectionately kiss, cuddle, or pat on the head clients/consumers/students.
In someways this is a no brainer and in other ways it is hard. I know so many people who are touch deprived and it seems harmless to give someone a hug when you see them but these types of affection have several negative side effects. 1) They send an inappropriate message of how to interact in non-sheltered situations (you can’t hug people you meet on the bus). 2) They communicate that the individual is child-like and a-sexual. 3) They can create a climate where it is difficult to detect sexual predators.
6. Make home movies.
A flip camera is less than $200 and very easy to use. Make videos showing people being friendly to one another, answering questions about what is important to them, and daily routines or special events. People love watching themselves and their friends. It allows them to tell a story that they may not be able to tell by themselves.
7. While maintaining appropriate boundaries, talk about emotions (including your own).
All people have complex feelings regardless of their abilities in other areas, but people don’t always have the words to communicate them. It is appropriate to model emotional expression. For example, when I go with a group from our day program to deliver food to families, I tell a story about how I feel. I say, “It makes me a little sad to know that people don’t have any food, but the family was so happy we brought them food. It makes me feel happy and proud to help someone else. I like to do it.” I just talk about it as we’re driving back. It’s also appropriate to name clients’/students’/consumers’ emotions, “You seem like you might be a little bored” or “You look so proud to have gotten your pay check.” What you are doing with these easy statements is creating an emotionally safe environment. (Note: this is way different than unloading personal problems on clients/students/consumers).
8. When referring to intimate body parts, use the correct word.
9. During lunch/snack/work breaks prompt folks to talk to one another, even if it the same conversation you had yesterday, and preferably incorporate pictures.
Perhaps combine with number 10 🙂
10. Have a regular discussions about current events.
One of my favorite stories came out of a current event discussion. It was during the 2008 primaries and I said that Hillary Clinton was running. The person I was talking to said, “Hillary sounds like a girls name” and I said, “It is.” He started laughing hysterically, and said, “Sarah don’t tease me, a woman can’t run for president.” What a great way to start talking about gender!