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Adjusting the Sails

Jan 8, 2024

A Panel Discussion of the importance of teaching individuals with disabilities about body autonomy, sexual health, relationships, consent, safety and more; AKA sex education. 

It's truly On Us to ensure the people in our lives with disabilities are informed and empowered. Often times, "sex education" is considered not vital to the lives of individuals with disabilities, but it's just not the case. Join our expert panelists to hear about why people with disabilities should be educated, what the education should consist of, and why it's within their human right. 

Our panelists include:

Katherine McLaughlin, M.Ed., AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator, is the Founder, CEO and Lead Trainer for Elevatus Training. As a national expert on sexuality and I/DD she trains professionals, and parents as well as individuals to become sexual self-advocates, and peer sexuality educators.  She is the author of, Sexuality Education for People with Developmental Disabilities curriculum. She has developed two online courses: Developmental Disability and Sexuality 101 for professionals and Talking to Your Kids: Developmental Disabilities and Sexuality for parents, and a 3-Day certificate training: Becoming a Sexuality Educator and Trainer. She has spent her 25+ year career committed to elevating the status of all people, which is why the name of her growing company is Elevatus Training. 

Courtney (Court) Lanham is the Director of Diversity at the WVU Health Science Center and is a trainer of the Elevatus curriculum in West Virginia. Court has also developed a train the trainer model for Elevatus and serves as a mentor for other trainers. Previously, Court worked as the Training Specialist at the West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities, a Behavior Specialist for the Positive Behavior Support Program at the Center, and as an adjunct professor for the WVU School of Social Work. After receiving their Bachelors in Psychology from West Virginia University in 2009, Court received a Masters of Social Work from West Virginia University in 2011, in which they focused on clinical care for individuals with mental health diagnoses, as well as gender and sexuality. Court is a graduate of the Georgetown University Cultural and Linguistic Competence Leadership Academy. They currently have interests in training of staff and community members with a focus on diversity and cultural competence.

Abby Farris serves as the Campus and Prevention Coordinator for the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services (WVFRIS). In this role, Abby focuses on both prevention and support for survivors of sexual violence on campuses throughout the state by working with the West Virginia Intercollegiate Council. Additionally, Abby works with West Virginia Disability Sexual Violence Collaborative to prevent the victimization of individuals with a disability, increase protective factors for individuals with a disability, and provide training for disability agencies on the intersection of disabilities and sexual violence. Abby is a graduate of Fairmont State University in Psychology with minors in Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Leadership and is currently completing her Masters of Social Work at West Virginia University. Abby has a passion for supporting the end of sexual violence and stalking in West Virginia.


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Sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Office of Maternal, Child, and Family Health/Children with Special Health Care Needs Program and the West Virginia Family 2 Family Health Information Center and Produced by the West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities. 


Episode transcript available here. 


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