Understanding Adolescence & Puberty

Understanding Adolescence and Puberty

2021 Winter Session

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

This program is for now open to all girls and boys with intellectual disabilities.


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, February 6th – Class Overview

Saturday, February 20th – Body Basics

Saturday, February 27th – Private Parts

Saturday, March 6th – Taking Care of Your Body

Saturday, March 13th – Exercise

Saturday, March 20th – Nutrition

Saturday, March 27th – Safety

*No class February 13th

Classes will be 30-45 minutes every week.
Week 1 is for parents/caregivers only. Weeks 2-7 will have separate girls and boys classes.

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


The Understanding Adolescence and Puberty program is a seven-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.


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. Co-teachers are Ari Charoni and Ayman King who both have Down syndrome.



The Understanding Adolescence and Puberty program has a one-time fee, including all books and materials. 

Financial assistance is available. Please contact DSC Program Manager at [email protected]  for more information or to see if your family qualifies. 

DSC now accepts DDA Hours. Please email [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 Wednesday, December 2nd – Friday, January 22nd. Once registration is closed DSC will send Zoom information to registered participants.

Thank You to Our Program Sponsor