A 3-Year Statewide Training Project for Teams of
Self-Advocates and Professionals to Become Sexuality Educators and Lead Classes for People with I/DD

All too often, people with developmental disabilities are left out of the conversation about sexuality, almost as if they are incapable of having thoughts, feelings and needs. In reality, they too are sexual beings who need information and skills for making healthy decisions about sexuality. They are also at risk of unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and sexual abuse, and they need the tools to stay safe in their relationships.

There is a significant need for people with I/DD to get sexuality and relationship education, and many states, schools and organizations are unsure how to implement this. This three-year team training program is designed to build state-wide, sustainable capacity in order to provide sexuality and relationship classes for people with I/DD.

A Conversation with Self-Advocates
In this short video clip, Katherine McLaughlin interviews Frank Vaca and Bonnie Gonzalez about their experiences and the benefits of the training.

Highlights of the Project

Imagine a World Where …

  • Everyone, including people with intellectual/developmental disabilities, has positive, satisfying, and healthy relationships.
  • Sexuality education is more accessible.
  • Self-advocates are co-leading sexuality education classes with professionals.
  • There is improved sexual health and fewer cases of abuse.

Challenges

Most people with I/DD have not received adequate sexuality education, yet want and need it, and many states, schools, and organizations are unsure how to implement comprehensive education.

As a result, they are 7 times more likely than the general population to experience abuse reported by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, and the National Core Indicators survey 2018-2019 reported 43% of people with I/DD stated they were often or sometimes felt lonely.

Solutions

  1. A focus on sexual self-advocacy empowers people with I/DD to make informed decisions about relationships.
  2. Provide medically accurate, age appropriate, and cognitively accessible sexuality education, which reduces the high rates of abuse and loneliness.
  3. Including self-advocates as part of the training teams helps them become part of the solution and models, “nothing about us without us.”
  4. States prepared and equipped to address head on the often sensitive topic of sexuality and relationship health with cutting edge curriculum and training.

Elevatus Training is here to assist you to bring this training to your state. For a detailed proposal, download the PDF document below.

Download Complete PDF Proposal
Download individual pages from the proposal:

Training Overview and Timeline

For the first two years of the program, Elevatus Training will present the training to teams of self advocates and professionals. These teams would be trained in using the Elevatus curriculum. The result of the training will be each state having teams of self advocates and professionals, all over the state. No matter where you live in the state, people with I/DD could receive sexuality education by a self advocate and a professional team. Following the training, All participants will take an assessment to measure whether the learning objectives were achieved. If participants pass the assessment, they will receive a certificate of completion and become sexuality educators.

In year three, Elevatus will offer the self advocate/professional teams a “train the trainer” program (TOT). This would enable the state to have experienced teams becoming trainers for a new cohort of teams. They will present the three day training on their own. The state would continue to order curriculum from Elevatus for all future training. During all three years, Elevatus will offer opportunities for technical support as teams begin to implement the curriculum and teach classes.

Elevatus Training is here to assist you to bring this training to your state. For a detailed proposal, including a suggested training schedule and cost outline, download the PDF document below.

Download Complete PDF Proposal
Download individual pages from the proposal:

Impact from the Michigan Pilot Project

The Michigan pilot project is a partnership between the Michigan Council of Developmental Disabilities and Elevatus Training.

Year 1: During the 2018 training, 11 teams were trained throughout the state of Michigan.

Year 2: During the 2019 training, an additional 15 teams were trained, for a total of 26 teams.

Year 3: Michigan currently has 15 TOT trainers to continue the year 1 and 2 trainings to keep increasing the numbers of teams.

Testimonials from Participants

“It has been a true honor, and pleasure to work with Katherine McLaughlin from Elevatus Training. She engaged with self-advocates, included them in the training process and development of the curriculum. She seeks out input and feedback about what works and what doesn’t to improve training and teaching in various settings. The information provided to individuals, families, and communities is invaluable. People with disabilities have a right to safe and healthy sexual relationships if they choose to have one. The activities and information provided give them an opportunity to make informed choices about the types of relationships, their sexual health, resources, and often for the first time, they speak up about this topic. It is truly something special, to be able to provide such empowering educational tools.”

Bonnie González
Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council Chairperson
Michigan Sexuality Education Team Trainer,
Certified Peer Mentor and Self-Advocate

“As a part of this group I have gained satisfaction. A feeling I am doing my part to raise awareness of the need for further education on the topic as is relates to special needs individuals. I remember listening to the NPR report as it was played, Knowing that I could/ should use my voice to stop the statistics from growing. In my opinion the strongest aspect of this program is that people are brought together and then given factual information and lived experiences from individuals with ID/ DD. Fishbowls appear to be a powerful tool in aiding the reason for the education, and developing empathy for the cause.”

Lisa Tippit
Self-Advocate from Michigan

Elevatus Training is here to assist you to bring this training to your state. For a detailed proposal, including a suggested training schedule and cost outline, download the PDF document below.

Download Complete PDF Proposal
Download individual pages from the proposal:

Next Steps

If you are interested in speaking with someone directly about this project, please complete the form below. We look forward to connecting with you!

    Elevatus Training is here to assist you to bring this training to your state. For a detailed proposal, download the PDF document below.

    Download Complete PDF Proposal
    Download individual pages from the proposal: