Consider This: Self Advocates as Sexuality Educators?

Yes, and now there’s a free, new resource to help you make this a reality.

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Collage of four photos that show people practicing teaching sexuality education classes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One way to help people with developmental disabilities lead sexually healthy lives is to provide sexuality education classes. Here at Elevatus, we believe the most effective way of doing this is by including self-advocates in the teaching team. 

Here are Some Benefits of this Approach:

  • Peer education has been proven to be an effective model for teaching.
  • Supports the self-advocate philosophy, “Nothing about us without us.”

Benefits for Class Participants:

  • Participants feel open to the teacher because this person understands them and their struggles.
  • When participants see someone like themselves as the teacher, it makes so much more seem possible.
  • Participants see the teachers and themselves as part of the solution.

Benefits for Self-Advocates as Teachers:

  • They feel empowered and proud because they are part of the solution.
  • Helps self-advocates learn the content by being the teacher. You retain more information when you say and do something with the content.

The good news is, we aren’t the only ones that believe in this approach. I want to share this wonderful, FREE resources for teaching sexuality to people with I/DD.
The National Center for Independent Living with Rooted in Rights created a resource that demonstrates this unique and forward-thinking model. The teaching tool was developed by and for people with I/DD. 

There are two parts to this resource. 

To access these resources, go to:

Screenshot of the videos from the National Council on Independent Living’s project, “Sex Ed for Individuals with I/DD.” Part 1:

Has ten, 2-3 minute video clips on various sexual health topics.

Here are the topics:

  • Introduction
  • Sex, Gender, and Genitals
  • Puberty
  • Masturbation
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Consent
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Infections
  • Condom: how to use
  • Conclusion

 Part 2:

A discussion guide written in plain language. The guide has the same content as the videos.

The reason I found this resource so helpful is:

  • People with disabilities are the teachers, nothing about us without us. 
  • This is a way to bring more self advocate voices into the classroom. 
  • This resource dispels myths about people with disabilities and sexuality.
  • It uses plain language which is recommended for teaching people with I/DD.
  • It gives positive, inclusive messages which is part of high quality sexuality education.
  • Individuals can view, read, or both on their own.

This resource can supplement many of the lessons in our meant-to-be-team-taught sexuality education curriculum Sexuality Education for People with Developmental Disabilities. For example, during either the contraception and STI lesson you can show the condom video which demonstrates how to put on a condom and is only 3 extra minutes in the class.

Check it out and power up your ability to teach effective classes.

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