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Honing In On Intimacy

A Class for I/DD Teens to Learn 

About Relationships, Safety, Puberty and Making Decision.

Happy Family

A Bi-Weekly Class Starting October 2021-February 2022

This workshop will be based on the curriculum released by Elevatus and their creator Katherine McLaughlin, M.Ed. Leading the training will be Zane Ferguson, M.Ed. Zane is a sexuality researcher, an Elevatus cohort, and has been the Lead Technician for Achieve Together Behavior Services for the past three years. In this 8 week workshop (spread across 16 weeks) Zane will guide discussion from the biological expectations of puberty, to the implicit and explicit social rules surrounding consent, dating, and varying degrees of relationships.

Curriculum and Dates

Lesson 1 (10/8) - Awareness Pre-test, establishing group agreements, Introductions

  • This meeting time will be used to introduce the topics, the members of the group, and discuss what questions there are and when they will be addressed.


Lesson 2 (10/22) - Gender and development, Gender expression and stereotypes

  • This meeting time will be used to discuss gender stereotypes, the implications of gender stereotypes and how they may potentially impact life. We will also discuss the facts available regarding gender identity, gender dysphoria, and gender neutrality 


Lesson 3 (11/5) - The Different kinds of Relationships, What to expect in each different relationship

  • Here is where we will introduce the notion of the interlocking circles of relationships, and how behavior expectations change based on where others fall in those differing degrees of relationships.


Lesson 4 (11/19) - Public vs. Private, Personal Space, Behavior by Context

  • Here we will learn to discriminate between where some behaviors are and are not appropriate in order to ensure safe and appropriate development.


Lesson 5 (12/17)* - Friendship, Body Language, Communication 

  • In this lesson we dive into the concept of nonverbal communication and how being aware of what our mouth AND our body says to others during an interaction can impact our ability to make and maintain friendships.


Lesson 6 (1/7)* - Communication (cont.), Standing up for Yourself

  • We will continue the discussion of ways to communicate feelings, even when it can be uncomfortable. We will then begin discussing the concept of “Consent” and how to identify when it is or is not given


Lesson 7 (1/21)* - Decision Making, Feelings Associated with Tough Decisions

  • Here we will go into the idea behind it being “hard to say no” and how sometimes speaking up for yourself can have negative social consequences, but still can be the right decision.


Lesson 8 (2/4)* - Attraction and how that Feels, Communicating Interests

  • Within this lesson we dive into the concept and the feelings behind being attracted to someone as more than a friend, how to go about talking about that, and finally what action can be taken regarding those feelings. 


Lesson 9 (2/18)* - The Positives and Negatives of the internet, social media, and connectivity

  • The Internet and social media as a whole provide so many opportunities to make friends and find similarly interested individuals. That being said it also can be easy to be misled or to find yourself in dangerous situations. In this lesson we discuss some strategies for navigating this sometimes razor thin line.


Lesson 10 (3/17)* - Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships

  • This lesson will focus on the common “red flags” that can be observed during a relationship, whether it be romantic or platonic. Here we will discuss the concepts of coercion, manipulation, and abuse.


*designates a date change

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