Understanding Adolescence and Puberty

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. 

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.

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

Class Schedule

The Understanding Adolescence and Puberty program is a seven-week program and classes meet once a week on Saturday for one hour. 

Saturday, October 9th  – Class Overview (Parent only class)

Saturday, October 16th-1:00p What is Puberty?
1:00pm (Girls class) 2:30pm (Boys class)

Saturday, October 23rd– Bodies Change in Puberty
1:00pm (Girls class) 2:30pm (Boys class)

Saturday, October 30th– Healthy Eating
1:00pm (Girls class) 2:30pm (Boys class)

Saturday, November 6th– Understanding Why We Eat, Staying Safe & Clean
1:00pm (Girls class) 2:30pm (Boys class)

Saturday, November 13th– Safety and Boundaries
1:00pm (Girls class) 2:30pm (Boys class)

Saturday, November 20th– Living a Healthy Life
1:00pm (Girls class) 2:30pm (Boys class)

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.

Virtual Classrooms

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 instructors are 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 Devon Adelman and Ayman King who both have Down syndrome.


Understanding Adolesence & Puberty
$ 125 One-time Fee
  • Books & Materials Included
  • Financial Assistance Available
"Dr. Partridge and her team have put together a great program that clearly explains this time of change to young people with Ds, through interactive discussion and hands-on activities, and gives parents strategies on how to keep the discussion going. We didn’t want it to end!"
—Becky R.


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 Now Closed

Thank You to Our Program Sponsor