Understanding Adolescence & Puberty

Understanding Adolescence and Puberty
for Girls and Boys with Down Syndrome

The Understanding Adolescence and Puberty program aids tweens and teens with Down syndrome going through puberty—answering questions about the changes affecting their bodies during this time of their life.

Registration is now closed

Curriculum

Our curriculum “Understanding Adolescence and Puberty” is based on books by Terri Couwenhoven, M.S. (www.terricouwenhoven.com) who specializes in the design and implementation of sexuality programs and resources for people with intellectual disabilities and their parents who support them. We foster independence through activities that encourage curiosity and education in a safe environment.

Saturday, July 18th – Class Overview
Parents will learn why it’s necessary to teach adolescents with Ds detailed, explicit information about puberty, how people with Ds learn best, and the importance of empowering young people with Ds to prevent exploitation.
1:00-2:00 PM – parents/caregivers only

Saturday, July 25th – Body Basics
Participants will learn the names of body parts, how body parts change during puberty, and how our bodies grow up.
1:00-2:00 PM – girls and parents/caregivers
2:30-3:30 PM – boys and parents/caregivers

Saturday, August 1st – Hygiene
Participants will learn basic hygiene, how to take care of their bodies, foods needed to keep them strong, and the importance of exercise.
1:00-2:00 PM – girls and parents/caregivers
2:30-3:30 PM – boys and parents/caregivers

Saturday, August 8th – Safety
Participants will learn the importance of boundaries, how to keep their bodies safe, who are safe people, and what kind of touch is okay.
1:00-2:00 PM – girls and parents/caregivers
2:30-3:30 PM – boys and parents/caregivers

All program materials will be shipped to participants on a weekly basis. Materials include books, class supplies and handouts.

Classroom

The Understanding Adolescence and Puberty program is a four-week program and classes meet once a week on Saturday for one hour. Due to COVID-19 and the safety of our community, all class will be held online via Zoom. To ensure the online class is engaging we will be mailing all class materials/supplies weekly. Participants will have materials in hand to be able to follow along and interact with Dr. Partridge. Each week the Zoom class will be broken down by gender due to the differences in topics about their bodies.

Understanding Adolescence and Puberty Zoom classes will only be accessible to those who have registered for the program. Zoom information will be emailed to participants on a weekly basis.

Staff

This program’s staff is highly educated in the needs of individuals with Down syndrome. The classes are taught by Rebecca Partridge, MD, head of the Down Syndrome Program at Virginia Mason, who also has a son with Down syndrome, and Beth Olenchek, a health educator at Virginia Mason.

Cost

The Understanding Adolescence and Puberty program has a one-time, non-refundable fee of $100. This program fee goes towards:

  • Books
    • Teaching Children with Down Syndrome about Their Bodies, Boundaries, and Sexuality: A Guide for Parents and Professionals
    • The Girls’ Guide to Growing Up: Choices & Changes in the Tween Years
    • The Boys’ Guide to Growing Up: Choices & Changes during Puberty
  • Class materials
  • Teaching staff
  • Shipping costs

A sliding fee scale is available based on each family’s needs. Please contact Katelyn Peters at [email protected]  for more information or to see if you qualify.

Registration

Understanding Adolescence and Puberty is open to tweens and teens ages 9-16. Classes can be offered in Spanish with a translator. Please contact Katelyn Peters at [email protected] for more information.

Each family must complete the registration form and pay the program fee by the registration deadline. When filling out the registration form, please use the address you would like program materials mailed to. DSC will be mailing all materials on a weekly basis.

Registration will be open from Monday, June 15th – Friday, July 10th. Once registration is closed DSC will send Zoom information to registered participants.