Sex Ed Series Module 6: Building your Sex Education Program
Length * 1:17:29
Speakers (in order of appearance)
Linda Sandman, Krescene Beck, and Judy Dorsey
Linda Sandman 00:01
This is the sixth module in the training series "What's Right about Sex Ed", designed to help you and others in your organization provide sexuality education to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The title of this module is "Building your Sex Education Program". There are three handouts that accompany this training. One is the Presenter bios. The other two are called "Case Scenario handout" and "Guidelines for an educational plan". During this training, we will ask you to complete some activities using the Case Scenario handout. If you haven't already done so, please pause this recording now and print out the Case Scenario handout so you can have it available for use during the activities. The third handout titled "Guidelines for an educational plan" would also be helpful to have available as you complete the activity, so you can refer to it for guidance as needed.
This training and the other modules in the "What's Right about Sex Ed" series are being brought to you by Blue Tower Solutions and the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities. Blue Tower Solutions is a nonprofit organization that works to empower individuals, organizations and systems to create cultures of respect, inclusion, dignity and equality for people with disabilities. The Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities' mission is to help lead change in Illinois so all people with developmental disabilities exercise their right to equal opportunity and freedom.
The training series on sex education "What's Right about Sex Ed" contains eight modules. These modules cover information about the law (module one), the sexual rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (module two), and how to be a sexuality educator (modules three and four). Module five focused on providing trauma-informed sex education.
Now this module will look at how to build a sex ed program at your organization. The remaining modules will provide guidance on how to design an inclusive sexuality education program, and how to partner with parents and guardians in supporting sex education.
Expert speakers from around the state and country including self-advocates are involved in presenting the information. All trainings will be posted to the Illinois Department of Human Services Developmental Disability Provider training platform, so they can be viewed as often as needed. If you have any questions about this training series, my contact information is posted at the end of each training module. Please feel free to reach out to me.
Today's speakers are Krescene Beck and myself, Linda Sandman. Krescene, would you like to introduce yourself?
Krescene Beck 03:15
Yes, thank you, Linda and welcome everyone. My name is Krescene Beck. I serve as the Organizational Director for the Illinois Self Advocacy Alliance, a statewide network of self-advocates and self-advocacy member group chapters in Illinois. I am also a Co-Director with Blue Tower Solutions. I have supported people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for more than 30 years. I've also spent many years working on state grants focused on self-advocacy and on building collaborations to better respond to people with disabilities and Deaf people who experience violence. My passion is learning from self-advocates and creating opportunities for them to speak up and speak out.
I would also like to introduce Judy Dorsey. Judy will be joining our time together through a pre-recorded video. Judy is an outspoken self-advocate from Charleston, Illinois. She has presented on guardianship, as well as on abuse and neglect. Judy has helped teach social work students at Eastern Illinois University and has also shared "Spread the Word to End the Word" at Eastern Illinois University. Judy is an Alliance Ambassador Leadership Program, or AALP, graduate, as well as a graduate of Illinois Partners and Policymaking.
Linda Sandman 04:50
Thank you, Krescene.
And as for myself, Linda Sandman, I am a social worker and I also work with Blue Tower Solutions. In addition, I am bilingual in English and Spanish and bicultural as my mother was born and raised in Mexico. Advocating for access to sexuality education for people with disabilities has been an incredibly meaningful part of my work for the past 10 years. It has been an honor to join the effort going on in our state as a member of the Sex Education Implementation Oversight Committee. I should mention that Krescene is also a member of that committee. The bios for today's presenters are included as a handout and will be posted with the recording of this training.
Krescene Beck 05:41
The Alliance has been very involved in the journey of House Bill 3299 becoming a law as Public Act 101-0506 and beyond. Hearing the voices of self-advocates sharing what is important to them about healthy relationships and sexuality provides a foundation on which the building of an educational program can begin. We invite you to center yourselves for the work ahead as you consider these important messages.
Illinois Self Advocacy Alliance Video 06:20 - 12:57 (Video is captioned)
Linda Sandman 12:58
What a powerful message. Our thanks to the self-advocates with the support of The Alliance for speaking up and speaking out about their sexual rights. It's important that we keep that very centered in our work.
In today's webinar, we will focus on two parts of the legislation: the assessment piece and forming the educational plan. The hope is that this webinar will build upon the content from the previous modules and begin tying things together to support you and your organization in developing a quality sex education program for the individuals with disabilities you serve. "Assessment: It is a collaborative process". Let's begin looking at the assessment piece.
Linda Sandman 13:52
What does the law say? Some of this will be familiar to you from Module one. But in this module, we want to take a closer look at how assessment ties into the educational plan.
A person admitted to a developmental disability facility and receiving habilitation shall have access to sex education, related resources and treatment planning that supports his or her right to sexual health and healthy sexual practices and to be free from sexual exploitation and abuse.
The law says people shall have access. They shall have access to sex education. They shall have access to related resources. And they shall have access to treatment planning. For the purpose of this training and in your sex education program, we want to suggest that you refer instead to the education team and the educational plan rather than a treatment team or treatment plan. This helps keep the focus on education, which is what the law is about.
It's important to point out here, the law doesn't say assessment controls access. The assessment determines what content and how the sex education is delivered. But the law is clear. People have a right to access sex education. And the purpose of the sex education is to support their sexual rights (as we talked about in Module two and the self-advocates spoke about in the video by The Alliance that we just watched). The right to sexual health is another right that the law speaks to. The right to healthy sexual practices, and the right to be free from sexual exploitation and abuse.
Now when talking about assessment, the law describes two responsibilities.
The person receiving habilitation shall be assessed 1) on whether he or she has decision making capacity to give consent to sexual activity, and 2) for developmentally appropriate sex education, materials and resources.
The training series "What's Right about Sex Ed" is focused on this second aspect of assessment, circled in red: helping to determine what are developmentally appropriate sex education materials and resources and how they are delivered. But I do want to confirm the first aspect of assessment is also very important and point you toward a resource.
The Process Committee of the Sex Education Implementation Oversight Committee has developed some helpful content about both areas of responsibility for assessment. On the Illinois Department of Human Services' webpage on Sex Education Curriculum, there is a tab for the Process Committee Summary. It's near the bottom of the page. When you open the link, you will see the summary is titled "Considerations for Provider Organizations in Designing an Assessment Process for People Receiving Services". There are sections on how to define sexual activity and the capacity to consent. There is information to consider on policy and procedures, as well as a very helpful checklist for provider organizations to consider in designing a sexual education assessment protocol. I've included a slide with the link to the Illinois Department of Human Services webpage on sex education at the end of this webinar.
Krescene Beck 18:09
While the law says that developmentally appropriate sex education, materials and resources shall be determined by the treatment team, remember to think of the people who will come together in support of the individual as an educational team. First and foremost, the individual is the vital member of the educational team. This is written into the law. Even were it not included in the law, it is important to build a team with "nothing about us, without us" as its foundation. Without the individual, the team simply does not exist.
Other members of the team include professionals who have relationships with and knowledge of the individual, including what the individual wants and doesn't want, as well as hopes and dreams around relationships and sexuality. I've heard from self-advocates that it can be frustrating and disempowering to have professionals in their team meetings that they've either never met before or believe that they don't know or have their best interests in mind.
The law also mentions an individual's guardian. A guardian is involved only if legally appointed and the guardian's role includes treatment planning. This role is called Guardian of Person. There are other types of guardianship. A guardian with financial oversight, also called a Guardian of Estate, would not have authority in this area, for example. It is very important to know what type of guardianship, if any, an individual has. When a guardian does have authority to be involved in the educational team, the guardian will first use "Substituted Judgment". And then when that is not available, will make decisions in the "best interests" of the individual. Substituted judgment means that for an individual who has the ability to express desires, the guardian must act in conformity with those desires, unless it is clear that harm would result to the individual. When the individual lacks such ability, the guardian may act in what is considered the individual's best interests. For more information on guardianship, you can access the Guardianship Fact Sheet on the IDHS website on Sex Education Curriculum.
Family is not included in the educational team, per the law, unless the family member is a guardian. However, it is a good idea for the provider to have some plan on how to inform families and work with the individual about how that notification will occur.
Krescene Beck 21:10
Guidance for providers is taken directly from the Process Committee Summary: "Considerations for Provider Organizations in Designing an Assessment Process for People Receiving Services" from the IDHS Sex Ed Curriculum webpage. It states: "The assessment process should have basic parameters, but be fluid to account for the individual's interests, experience, communication style and other relevant factors."
As you determine which staff will be involved, remember, the law says that professionals with knowledge of the individual shall be part of the educational team.
A process for responding to disclosures or suspicion of abuse is also needed. You can refer to Module five for more information on how to first respond and support the survivor, while still meeting your obligations as a mandated reporter. The process should also address situations of a history or a suspicion of engaging in illegal sexual behaviors. Some examples of illegal or suspicious sexual behaviors can include sex trafficking, engaging in sexual behaviors in exchange for money or other items, or sexual activity with minors, paid staff or family members.
Remember, you must also include a process for addressing disagreements that may come up between an individual and their guardian.
As you refer to the table on the second page of the handout "Guidelines for building an educational plan for sex education", topics to address in the assessment may include:
- an interest in learning about topics and issues related to healthy relationships and sexuality;
- an understanding of typical qualities of adult relationships;
- knowledge and skills around self-protection;
- an understanding of boundaries;
- sexual practices and behaviors that may be risky and/or harmful;
- safe masturbation practices; and
- sexual identity and orientation.
For some individuals, you will be starting new with these topics. For others. This information may already be known, as programs may currently be in place to address areas of concern. You can refer to the table for some examples of each of these topic areas.
Linda Sandman 24:10
You may have begun receiving guidance from the Bureau of Quality Management regarding the assessment process. I can tell you from my conversations with Cynthia Schierl-Spreen, the Bureau Chief, there is much discussion taking place on the topic of consent. One recommendation is that the assessment for sex education can be added to the annual consents, at a minimum. As of this date, no specific form has been developed or endorsed by the Division of Developmental Disabilities. But consent for sex education is required, in addition to the evaluation of capacity, according to the Bureau. This documentation would be added to the individual's plan.
Please remember, there are two types of assessment described in the law: the assessment for sex education interests and needs, and the assessment of decision-making capacity for sexual activity. Some additional guidance comes from the Process Committee Summary, that we've been referencing. "The assessment process may be completed using a formal tool, either designed by the provider organization or acquired externally, or it may be completed through an interview and discussion process." As of this date, the Bureau of Quality Management is having the provider do a self-evaluation on sex education. But future plans are to request to see the documentation. I've included the contact information for Cynthia Schierl-Spreen on this slide, and also at the end of this presentation.
So we're going to take time now to work through an example of an assessment process. Please take out the handout called "Case Scenarios - Module six". In this handout, there are three case scenarios. And for this activity, we'll start by looking at Case Scenario one - about Kim and the discussion questions that follow on page two of the handout. You can pause the recording and read the case scenario. Write out your answers to the discussion questions. If you are taking this training in a group, take some time for discussion about the questions in your group. Share your responses with each other.
(PAUSE RECORDING FOR CASE SCENARIO ONE ACTIVITY)
Okay, welcome back. I hope you found that helpful. Now we're going to talk through the discussion points, which followed case scenario one in the handout. So here's the disclaimer.
What we will discuss as an example. It is not the only way to think about the scenario presented. As we said previously, the assessment process should be collaborative and specific to the individual.
In the Guidelines handout and Process Committee Summary, it is mentioned that the assessment process may be completed using a formal tool or through an interview/discussion process. Your organization will determine which process they want to set up.
So let's look at those discussion questions together. What are the needs and interests in sex education? And we're going to look at it from three different perspectives.
So, from Kim's perspective, what needs and interests do you think she would have identified? I know it can be hard to tell from a short case scenario, but there are a few clues. One concern could be about privacy. Kim became upset that mom had gone through her phone. An interest, another, an interest that Kim has could be in having a boyfriend. As Kim identified, this person she met through her phone, as her boyfriend. She may also be interested in learning about dating and ways to use her phone to connect with others, such as friends and potential dating partners.
From the provider perspective, what needs and interests did you identify? Maybe you said Internet safety because Kim was actively engaged in meeting people online with her new phone. Maybe you said privacy because Kim was sharing photos of her body with someone she met online. Maybe you said healthy adult relationships because Kim was interested in expressions of intimacy, dating and sexual decision making. An understanding of how relationships can develop over time could be helpful as well as safety and self-protection skills. There's definitely enough material here to create a robust educational plan for Kim.
And from the parent perspective, Kim's parents don't appear to have guardianship. At least it's not mentioned as part of the scenario. So they would not need to be included in the Educational Planning Team according to the law. But as stated earlier, many provider organizations are building in some ways for parents to be informed and to support the educational efforts. In this case, Kim's parents want Kim to receive sex education. Mom has identified self-protection understanding and skills as a concern for Kim, including learning how to use the internet safely.
In your reflection and/or discussion, did you identify any additional needs or interests? What if Kim had sent the pictures to an adolescent under the age of 17? What if she had sent them to a woman instead of a man? Or to a staff member at her community day services program? You may decide to use a scenario like this one in your staff training program. You can vary the details of the scenario for different situations and talk through how you would respond.
Let's move on to the second question: How are the perspectives the same? And how are they different? Well, based on the discussion above, we can see some common themes: Healthy relationships, and dating and ways to use the Internet to connect with others are interests and needs shared by Kim and the others. Kim expressed privacy but more in terms of mom not going through her phone. Mom and the provider are more concerned with Kim sharing sexually explicit images over the internet. Self-protection is identified as a need by the provider and the parents.
So what steps did you list as part of the assessment process? Maybe you have decided to adopt the formal tool like the TALK-SC that Necole talked about using at Anixter Center in Module four. Maybe you have acquired another formal tool developed externally, or have designed your own at your organization. Maybe you have set up an interview and discussion process. It's important to consider what Kim wants and is interested in learning about. It is important to consider her abilities - how does she learn best? If you're not sure, Kim is probably the best person to help you understand how she learns best. In addition, her parents and any medical, psychological and psychosocial evaluations can also be a resource for the assessment process. Content from Modules three and four on How to be a sexuality educator can help you think through this aspect of your plan.
And finally, how will you address any disagreements about the educational plan? This is where policy considerations can be helpful. Having a policy that relates to conflict resolution can give guidance to the individual, the staff, the family, and guardians on how the agency will handle disagreements about the sex education plan. Having a policy and process helps create transparency and makes sure different perspectives are heard and responded to. This is part of creating a trauma-informed environment, as discussed in Module five. The goal is to ensure Kim's learning needs and interests are addressed. That the educational plan supports her right to sex education and healthy sexual practices and to be free from sexual exploitation and abuse. Healthy sexual practices is defined in the law as a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality.
This scenario models an activity that we will return to a bit later in the presentation today using the other two case scenarios and discussion questions.
Krescene Beck 34:01
Wow! That was a lot. I hope you allow that information to wash over you. The assessment process is an important part of setting up a good educational plan. It is also important to become familiar with the sex education curricula and resources approved for use by the Department of Human Services. On this slide, we have listed the website for the IDHS-DDD webpage on Sex Education Curriculum. For the next part of this webinar, we will go over the curricula and resources to place it in the context of developing an educational plan.
There are seven approved curricula on the webpage. All of these curricula were developed for use with people with disabilities. Public Act 101-0506 states that "The course material and instruction and sex education shall be appropriate to the developmental disability of the recipients." That's Criteria A. "And replicate evidence-based programs or substantially incorporate elements of evidence-based programs. That's Criteria C. Because the approved curricula were developed for use with people with disabilities, we can say that they are all developmentally appropriate. Here are the names of the seven approved curricula:
- Elevatus Training
- Family Life and Sexual Health
- Friendships and Dating Program
- Illinois Imagines
- NCIL (National Council on Independent Living) Sex Ed for Individuals with IDD
- WEAVE and
- We Can Stop Abuse
The asterisk (*) next to the name of the curriculum indicates that it is available for free to download from the internet. Evidenced-based has been defined as these curricula are all based on solid teaching principles for sex education. They have been made accessible, and they cover most, if not all of the required components included in the law.
Krescene Beck 36:43
Each of the seven approved curriculum available for your consideration on the IDHS website have gone through an extensive review process. Curriculums are listed individually by name along with any associated costs and how to obtain more information. The Curriculum Review Committee developed a tool to review curriculums against the following criteria.
- The use of universal design and accessibility of materials, which includes the use of plain language, meeting a variety of learning styles through the use of videos, audios and visual aids, and the inclusion of sign language and Braille.
- The materials being adaptable to age, gender, culture, language, religion, and sexuality orientation.
- The inclusion of sexual rights components, included in healthy language, first person language, social media and internet considerations.
- Trainer resources that help trainers develop their skills to prepare and present information, including handouts, lesson plans, and also including handouts.
- And finally, meeting specific curriculum requirements as outlined in the law. These specific requirements include positive sexual identity, prevention of pregnancy, information on STI/STD/HIV/AIDS, condoms, abstinence, emotional and psychological consequences of being sexually active, unwanted sexual behavior and signs of danger or predatory behavior.
The review tool includes "Y" for Yes and "N" for No for each of these items under the headings. It also includes a summarization of comments regarding the curriculum, as well as the curriculum's overall strengths and weaknesses.
Because individuals are diverse learners and can benefit from a variety of educational materials, the Curriculum Review Committee also put together a list of resources from which you can choose to enhance the individual's education plan. These resources include websites, curriculums, books, periodicals, and articles, videos, podcasts and YouTube channels. There are also parent resources available in both English and Spanish. Included on the resource list is a green thumbs up sign next to resources that have been vetted to be accessible, user-friendly and contain plain language. Because the law says access to related resources is a right, it is important to support individuals in locating and exploring these resources.
There is an approval process for new materials, whether that be new sex education curricula, or resources. If a provider organization would like approval of new materials, they must first make the initial request through the Bureau of Quality Management, or BQM. Then BQM will enlist the support of the Curriculum Committee to help review the new materials and make a recommendation. The Department has the final responsibility to approve any new materials for use in sex education. In addition, the Curriculum Committee will undertake a periodic review of new resources. Because things are constantly being developed for use in sex education of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Any materials found to be helpful and that meet the criteria established in the law will be recommended to IDHS, and subsequently posted to the sex education curriculum webpage.
Krescene Beck 41:33
Now, let's turn our focus to building your program through the use of developmentally appropriate materials and resources.
When thinking about how you will engage in sex education instruction, consider three models. The first is individualized or one-on-one instruction. An advantage of individualized instruction is that it can be specifically tailored to meet the individual's interests, needs and abilities. While the disadvantage is that the demand on staff's time to provide the instruction can be challenging.
Another model is grouping by levels, it has an advantage of more individuals participating in the same time, perhaps in a classroom-style setting. A disadvantage of grouping by levels is that, within the grouping level, addressing the needs, interests and abilities of the individuals within that group can be an obstacle.
The final model is combining group with individualized instruction. For example, individualized instruction can provide place and space for skill development. While engaging in group instruction can provide opportunities to put those skills into practice. Being open and flexible to making changes to provide the best support and educational experience for individuals is so very important. Don't be afraid to make changes and if an individual asks for them, or if something isn't working the way you thought it would. As Shirley Paceley, whom you heard from in Module two would say, "We are all students and we are all teachers." Learning with and from each other is the key to everyone's success.
For one disability service agency already providing healthy relationship and sexuality education, the key to their success has been working on the agency's culture of relationships and trust. Foundational focus on building relationships and trust so that asking questions and responding to questions and requests happens naturally, and not only just one time a year. Conversations are comfortable and appropriate because of those relationships. Staff are always open to the opportunities to ask and to respond. In terms of the process, the educational team reviews the information gathered during the assessment process, determines what resources the agency currently has; they partner with external entities to support learning. And those entities may include the local health department, area hospitals, the YMCA, and YWCA, and sexual assault centers. And finally, they include behavioral consultants as needed, with the team helping to modify any provided information to best meet the individual's needs. At this agency, educational opportunities may happen in small groups on an episodic basis if there is a common interest. For example, a group expressed an interest in learning self-defense. So the agency connected with and brought in an outside expert to teach the class.
For individualized instruction, the person who has the best relationship with the individual AND is most comfortable with the topic works with the individual. That could be a DSP, a Q, a case manager, or the social worker.
For another disability service agency in the planning process of meeting the requirement of providing resources and sex education, they are planning to have an interest form as part of their assessment. The individual will be asked to indicate which if any type of information they are interested in learning about. Having that type of interest form will hopefully make it clear to guardians that the individual has expressed their choice and preference and the guardian's role, under the substituted judgment standard, is to support their individual's choices and preferences. The educational team will also have conversation regarding any observable sexual behaviors or other concerns that could place the individual at risk, or be harmful to self or others. This feedback will also guide which class tier the individual will be given. There will be three tiers of classes to choose from. The base tier, or first tier, is basic safety and sexual assault prevention, including how to spot an abuser, and what to do if you are in an unsafe situation. The middle tier, or tier two, will be healthy relationships, including differences between personal and professional relationships, friendships, and romantic relationships. Tier two will also touch on communication and healthy decision-making within relationships. Tier three, the final tier, addresses sex ed topics like condom use, pregnancy prevention, safe sex, and STDs. All individuals who indicate an interest on the interest form will start with tier one. Only individuals interested in tier two will advance on, and individuals interested in advancing to tier three will have the opportunity to do that. Individuals will have the option to repeat classes or advance on to tier two or three at a later time if their interest changes or if additional concerns arise.
Krescene Beck 48:22
As I mentioned in my introduction, The Alliance is a network of self-advocates and self-advocacy member group chapters in Illinois. Through The Alliance I have had the opportunity to learn from self-advocates all around Illinois as they share their experience and expertise on a wide variety of topics. In this video, you'll learn from Judy, an outspoken self-advocate who will share her thoughts on healthy relationships and sexuality.
Video: Judy Dorsey 49:02 - 50:51 (Video is captioned)
As you reflect on what you heard and learned from Judy, remember that engaging individuals in conversations about why they want to learn, what they want to learn, and how they want to learn is vital. Having these important conversations help empower individuals to be active participants learning about the things that matter to them. These are not just "one and done" conversations, but rather ongoing conversations that can and should happen organically, as part of life's daily rhythms. As you hear those messages, you'll be better able to develop an educational plan tailored to meet an individual's specific wants and needs.
What we have listed here on this slide is a proposed outline for forming an educational plan. If you look at the handout, in Case Scenarios, we have included this outline on the fourth and sixth pages following Case Scenario two and three. As we did in the previous scenario on assessment for Kim, you're going to consider the needs, interests, abilities for sex education for the individual. This outline for forming an educational plan is an example only. It is definitely not the only way to accomplish creating a plan for an individual. We suggest that to help you think through many of the important components you will want to consider when you work with individuals you support in creating their educational plans. For the planning process, you will need to take the information from the assessment, including the skills and knowledge wanted and needed, and think about what is the model or format for instruction? Will it be individual, group or a combined approach? Who will teach the sex education and what materials and resources will be used? Finally, it is important to evaluate the progress. Are we getting anywhere?
Krescene Beck 53:12
We're going to take time now to work through an example of a planning process. Please take out the handout called Case Scenarios - Module Six. For this activity, we will look at Case Scenario two about Jessie and his job and the discussion questions that follow up on page four of the handout. We know that many individuals dream of having a community job and we hope that this scenario resonates with you. You can pause the recording and read through the Case Scenario. Write out your answers to the discussion questions. If you are doing this training in a group, take some time for discussion about the questions in your group and share your concerns.
(PAUSE RECORDING FOR CASE SCENARIO TWO ACTIVITY)
All right, welcome back. I hope you had a lively discussion about Jessie and his dream job. So first, let's look at interest and/or skill, regarding the assessment piece. Jesse's interests include keeping his dream job and working on friendship and dating skills. Professionals who know Jessie well and the psychosocial evaluation indicate working on standards of adult relationships, boundaries and risky sexual behaviors - that would be helpful. And finally, we will assume that Jesse's guardian and family are involved. Their concerns include internet and social media use, the risk of Jessie losing his job due to risky sexual behaviors, and a lack of knowledge of the standards of adult relationships.
On page two of the "Guidelines for building an educational plan" handout, the table provides examples of what areas could be included under standards of adult relationships: how relationships form over time, sexual rights, the differences between friendships and sexual relationships.
If we were part of Jesse's educational team, we would develop a program focused on friendship and dating skills, as well as standards of adult relationships and boundaries.
In your group, or individually, did you come up with a different focus area for the educational plan? That's okay, because if Jesse received support at your organization, you would work together to set the goals for his educational plan.
Now let's explore some formats for instruction. For the format for instruction, we must include Jessie in the conversation to see how he wants to learn about the focus areas. We might recommend combining an individual approach to include Jesse's job coach, as well as group educational opportunities. We would reinforce Jesse's interest in keeping his dream job. We can do that individually, as well as his social needs and interests, which can be done in a group setting.
For curricula and resources. We might emphasize these lessons from the approved curricula.
- From Friendships and Dating Program, we might focus on lesson 13: Online Safety.
- From the Illinois Imagines Picture Supplement Guide, we may focus on Healthy Relationships: Lesson one: What are Relationships? and Lesson two: Thumbs up, Thumbs down.
- From the WEAVE curriculum, we will check out Lesson nine on Internet Safety.
- And from NCIL (National Council on Independent Living) videos, we would focus on Healthy Relationships and Consent.
Now Jesse might be involved in the full Sex Ed Curriculum provided to the group and then he may receive some individualized supports focused on the above highlighted lessons.
From the approved resources list, we might suggest using CQL Sex and Relationships Conversation Cards; I Can Be Safe online website videos; and Amaze website videos on Personal Safety. With the I Can Be Safe online videos and the Amaze online videos, allow for the opportunity of Jesse to explore the variety of videos available. Even though you may have a good idea of what video should or could be used in the educational program, Jesse just may be interested in other videos that the website has to offer.
As you plan for who will teach these important lessons and skills, remember to keep in mind the qualities of a good sexuality educator that were covered in Module three. The sexuality educator should have:
- Information: They should know lots of information about sexuality and relationships and know where to get information if they don't have the answers. They are open to keep learning about sexuality. And they understand their own sexuality and are comfortable with it.
- Sexuality educators should also have Respect. They are respectful of all people no matter what their skin color is, or how much money they have, what religion they believe in, who they are sexual with, including gay, lesbian, and bisexual, what their personal gender identity is and what kind of disability they have.
- Values include understanding that people have different values and beliefs and respects those values and beliefs. For example, some may say sex is okay before marriage and others may say sex is not okay before marriage. Also understanding that he or she may have different values and they don't try to impose those values onto others.
- A sexuality educator has Skills. They are able to communicate with others in a warm and kind way. They know how to help people feel comfortable talking about sexuality. They are very good listeners, and will listen to other people's feelings and opinions. They do not judge the person for who they are, what they believe, or the choices they have made. They're able to keep their conversations with others confidential, unless. . . they need to report as a mandated reporter. And they help others make their own decisions by listening to and supporting them. They don't tell others what to do.
Part of the plan should include how Jesse and the job coach will work with sex educators on the team to coordinate efforts. And then thinking through how will you evaluate progress? Is it meeting with Jesse to find out how things are going? Is it following up with the job coach? Is it meeting with a sexuality educator for feedback on individual sessions and group sessions? Would that include meeting the job supervisor? What other ideas do you have for evaluating Jesse's progress?
And while Jesse's scenario may seem simple and uncomplicated, what if Jesse had been showing pictures of men to other men? You might decide to include information about sexuality, and gender orientation, if you do these scenarios in a team training setting. What if Jesse was showing pictures of underage children or elderly adults? How would your educational team respond? How would the planning process change?
Linda Sandman 1:01:58
Thank you, Krescene, for walking us through that scenario and how to build an educational plan using the example of Jesse.
Now let's look at another example using Case Scenario three about Angie at the Rec Center, and the discussion questions that follow on page six of the handout. Please pause the recording and read through the case scenario. Then write out your answers to the discussion questions following the same format as in the example with Jesse.
If you're taking this training in a group, take some time for discussion about the questions in your group and share your responses with each other.
(PAUSE RECORDING FOR CASE SCENARIO THREE ACTIVITY)
Linda Sandman 1:02:51
Okay, let's talk about Angie, and how we might form an educational plan based on this scenario, remembering that this discussion is just one example of how to look at the information contained in the scenario. You may have come up with some different answers or areas of focus than what I described here. That's okay. For the assessment piece, several areas emerge as priorities for the educational plan. Angie was able to indicate preferences and interests by pointing to images on communication boards the agency had purchased to supplement the assessment process for individuals who learn best using images and who do not communicate using words. An example of communication boards for use in sex education can be found on the Elevatus Training website, one of the Department of Human Services approved curricula. Angie was able to indicate interest in learning about friendship skills, expressions of intimacy and gender identity.
The initial agency evaluation and psychosocial, along with the professionals who have worked most closely with Angie during the short time that Angie has been at the agency, indicated these topic areas to begin with: boundaries, risky sexual behaviors, and consent.
Angie's parents are in the process of applying for full guardianship. But they have not completed that process yet. Angie gave an affirmative response when asked if they wanted their parents to be involved as part of the educational team. Angie's parents have communicated to the agency their concerns and areas of interest for sex education. These include: risky sexual behaviors, gender identity, boundaries, and self-protection skills. They've made it clear to the provider organization that they support Angie's gender identity, and the use of the pronoun "they" for Angie.
For the purposes of this example, we're going to pick friendship/dating skills, boundaries, touch and consent as the topic areas - because these ones can include interpreting cues from others, and knowledge of the consequences of risky choices (part of the risky sexual behaviors description on the handout Guidelines for building an educational plan), and also gender identity as a focus area for the initial educational plan.
So what about that format for instruction?
Angie prefers to begin with individual instruction. I will also be using the pronoun "they" to describe Angie, since that is the preference expressed by Angie, as well as Angie's parents. Angie has agreed to a plan to move into a group setting for education once they feel more comfortable. In addition, since Angie is relatively new to the organization, the sex educator wants a better understanding of Angie's ability to comprehend and process the information before recommending to the team that Angie be included in the group sex education class.
The benefits of including Angie in the group is that it would support their interest in making friends and learning about dating. Although relatively new to the agency, Angie is well liked by their peers. Being part of the group will also provide opportunities for Angie to learn about boundaries and consent through the group activities and discussion.
So who's going to teach?
Sex educators on the team can work alongside Angie's caseworker, the Q and support staff (the direct service providers in the community day services) to coordinate efforts. Angie would like their family to be involved to work on the same lessons through reinforcement at home. In this example, we'll say that Angie's family is engaged and supportive of the educational plan.
So what are some of the materials and resources that can be used in the sex education?
Well, I mentioned already the Elevatus Training communication boards and cards. So those are supplemental to the curriculum that can be purchased through that website, and they would support the sex education plan. In addition, lessons from Illinois Imagines Picture Supplement Guide, especially the section on Healthy Sexuality, like, that includes lessons on Public and Private and Consent could be used; and also lessons from the Sexual Violence/Risk Reduction section would be included. They might have the, specifically the lessons on Boundaries and Safe and Unsafe Touch. We showed you some examples of these lessons in Module two of the What's Right about Sex Ed series.
Another possible lesson to include could be from the Family Life and Sexual Health curriculum. Lesson 14 addresses Touching. The National Council on Independent Living Sex Ed curriculum video on Sex, Gender and Genitals is another good option. As Judy said, many self-advocates prefer to learn using videos.
Some additional approved resources to include in the educational plan could be from the Oak Hill Relationships and Sexuality website. They have a booklet there that's titled "Say No to Sexual Abuse and Sexual Mistakes." This booklet is free to download from their website. Another possible resource is from the Adult Down Syndrome Clinic. They have a great video on "Appropriate Touch". The link can be found on the Department of Human Services Sex Education webpage under the Resource list tab. The website for Amaze, as Krescene talked about, has many helpful videos on the topic of Gender Identity. Although designed for adolescents in the general population, these videos might appeal to Angie, as they recently graduated from school. Angie would be the best indicator if the videos were a good match to support the educational plan. Another resource I wanted to mention that might just provide support to the sex educators comes from a book called Teaching, (what was it called?) - "Teaching Adolescents with Down Syndrome about Their Bodies, Boundaries and Sexuality", might be "Teaching Adults", by Terri Couwenhoven. I've talked about this resource in one of the other modules as well. There is a great appendix section in this book, it's a book. And one of the, in that appendix section, there's a chart, that's called Sexual Behaviors That are Against the Law. This chart goes through each of the different types of behaviors. And it also includes a description about what is the behavior, why it's against the law, and what you can do if this happens. I think, Angie, in this example, Angie might not be able to comprehend all the text, there are no images paired with this chart. But it could be a helpful tool for the sex educators to kind of get some clarity about teaching about sexual behaviors that are risky and against the law. And maybe a creative person on the team could find some images that could help Angie to understand what these risk behaviors are.
So, one other resource is the Illinois Imagines Parent Guide. This could really be helpful to Angie's parents, as well as a booklet from, that's on the resource list, from the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Guide on Healthy Bodies. It has many good social stories with images on public and private and touch in the appendix section of those guides. And so those are ways that the family members can be involved in supporting the sex education plan.
All of these supported, suggested curricula and resources are developmentally appropriate. And they approach the educational material using a variety of formats and can be adapted to how Angie learns best. I think what's really important here, in both examples of Jesse and Angie is we're trying to show that you don't have to stick, kind of rigidly, to one curriculum, but you can bring in other resources or lessons from some of the other approved curriculum to help support the educational plan, making sure that it's really tailored to the individual and supports how they learn.
Now, for evaluating progress, the educational team plans to set up periodic meetings to review the educational plan. Remember, the educational team includes Angie. Because Angie consented to the family's participation, the family will also be included in the team meetings. This will be helpful since they have already initiated an application for guardianship. And if that gets approved, then they're already on board and included. The educational team will provide support to the sex educators and seek feedback from the Q and the DSPs who work with Angie. In this example, Angie and their family supported the educational goals. What might happen if Angie and the staff disagreed on the educational goals? What if Angie's family disagreed? Your organization would want to have a process for addressing disagreements, whether that be disagreements between the individual and professional staff; or disagreements with family, especially if the family member is the appointed guardianship of the person, and has full guardianship.
Linda Sandman 1:13:54
Hopefully, these examples have provided you with food for thought about how to build an educational plan for the individuals you serve. We encourage you to reuse these resources that we have mentioned during this module. The Guidelines for building an educational plan handout, the Process Committee Summary, the Guardian Fact Sheet. The discussion questions from the Case Scenario handout can also provide some helpful tips for moving through your assessment and planning process. And of course, the approved curricula and abundant resources included on the Department of Human Services webpage on sex education are a rich source of materials that you will draw from in building your sex education program.
There is no one way to do this to build a sex education program and provide developmentally appropriate sex education. Individuals are unique. There is no curriculum or resource that will fit all the needs. Organizations and programs also vary in size, staffing, their mission statement and location. Hopefully this module has helped you think through some ideas on how you can build a quality sex education program, and how you can support the individuals with disabilities in their efforts to learn about relationships, their bodies, and sexuality.
This slide includes the link to the Sex Ed Curriculum webpage on the Illinois Department of Human Services website. We've referenced this a great deal during today's training. On this webpage, you can find the links to the document "What Self-Advocates Want You to Know", as well as the Sexual Rights statement. You can also find a link to the Guardian Fact Sheet. The approved curricula and their reviews, as well as the extensive resource list are found on this page. And please be sure to read the Process Committee Summary: Considerations for Provider Organizations. You can find that document listed near the bottom of the webpage.
Linda Sandman 1:16:27
Thank you for joining us for Module six. The next module in the What's Right about Sex Ed training series will focus on how to design an inclusive sex education program. We hope you will join us. As a reminder, it is not necessary to watch these modules in order and you may want to watch a module more than once.
So, as we close out today, you can see my contact information, as well as the contact information for Cynthia Schierl-Spreen from the Bureau of Quality Management listed on this slide.
I want to give a special thanks to Krescene Beck and to Judy Dorsey for their contributions to this presentation. Thanks all - and have a great day!