Online Workshop: Why Acceptance is Critical From Parents of LGBTQ+ People with I/DD

A Pre-Recorded, 90-Minute Online Workshop

Elevatus Training recorded training, “Why Acceptance is Critical From Parents of LGBTQ+ People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.” There is a dad with his arm around his child. In the lower right corner there is a rainbow.

Workshop Description

Note: This is a pre-recorded, online workshop. Upon purchase, you will receive access to the video recording, as well as any accompanying documents.

When people with I/DD tell us they are part of the LGBTQ+ community, they don’t always get the acceptance that they need. Sometimes family members are taken aback and don’t quite believe it, feel that a disability is enough to manage, and worry how their young and grown children will be treated with this “double whammy,” having a disability and being LGBTQ+. This online workshop will have parents of LGBTQ+ people with I/DD share their personal journey to acceptance, discuss why acceptance is important and ways that they show their support for their LGBTQ+ children. The panelist and hosts will also address how you, as a professional, can support an individual when their family is not supportive and how self advocates can talk with their parents about their identity.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this 90 minute workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Explore parent stories of their journeys to acceptance.
  • Examine why acceptance is crucial to mental health and well being.
  • Explore strategies for supporting individuals whose parents are not accepting their identity.
  • Explore ways self advocates can communicate with their families.

Workshop Price: $30

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Workshop Presenters:

Headshots from right to left of Oscar Hughes, Katherine McLaughlin, Fiona Rattray, and Heather Johnsen.

Oscar Hughes, M.Ed. started his career as a special education teacher for high school and transition-age students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, where he sought to create a classroom and school environment that was inclusive to trans and gender-diverse students. He also advised the high school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), which included students with and without disabilities. Oscar is now pursuing a PhD in special education at Boston University, where his research focuses on supporting LGBTQ+ adults with I/DD to express their gender and sexuality. He works part-time as the assistant to the Rainbow Support Groups and as an adjunct trainer for Elevatus Training.

Katherine McLaughlin, M.Ed., CSE is a national expert and trains individuals, staff, and parents on sexuality and developmental disabilities. She teaches sexuality education to people with DD/ID as well as trains them to be peer sexuality educators themselves. Katherine is the author of an agency and school curriculum: Sexuality Education for People with Developmental Disabilities, and has developed two online courses; one to train professionals, Developmental Disability and Sexuality 101, and one for parents: Talking to Your Kids: Developmental Disabilities and Sexuality. Katherine has spent her career trying to elevate the status of all people, which is why the new name for her growing company is Elevatus Training.

Fiona Rattray is a former special education teacher with additional training in counseling, peer mentoring, specific learning disabilities, managing students with challenging behaviors, and working with students with Asperger Syndrome. She has two children diagnosed with high-functioning autism. During the past five years Fiona has been volunteering and working in the field of special education advocacy. She currently works as a Parent Training and Information Center Specialist for Putnam Independent Living Services in the Hudson Valley. Fiona’s eldest child identifies as a transgender woman. Her youngest child is 15, he is gay and gender fluid.

Heather Johnsen is a parent of three children, two who identify as part of the LGBT community. She was originally from Wellesley, MA and graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music in clarinet performance. She also holds a Master of Music in performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Along with her music she also worked part time in the art department at Hamilton College. Heather moved to Utica, NY in 1977 where she lived until moving to Canton, MA in 2021. Since having a child with a disability she became a disability rights advocate and led a youth group at the Utica Resource Center for Independent Living. Most of her time now is helping her daughter to become more independent: supporting her with her advocacy in disability and LGBT rights.

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