Keynote Speaker

Keynote Speaker – Katherine McLaughlin, M.Ed.

Katherine is certified as a sexuality educator by AASECT (American Association of Sexuality
Educators, Counselors and Therapists) and is the Founder of Disability Workshops, now
Elevatus Training, LLC. She is the CEO, Lead Trainer and delivers our live and online training.
She is the author of Sexuality Education for People with Developmental Disabilities Curriculum and develops educational materials for others to use in teaching and communicating.

I have spent my career working for the equality of all people, but in the beginning, mostly
women and reproductive rights. I worked for Planned Parenthood for many years helping people become sexually healthy in a culture that doesn’t want to talk about this topic. I have been a sexuality educator and trainer with a specialty in sexuality and disabilities for over 25 years.

At 26, I had a spinal cord injury and became a wheelchair user. This threw me into a world that I knew very little about. Through my own personal experience, I started to see the inequity for those with disabilities and the attitudes and beliefs many people in our culture hold that people with disabilities are not sexual.

At the same time, I began to get requests from Special Educators and Developmental Disability Staff to talk with students and people with disabilities about sexual health. In the beginning, people wanted me to come into their school or agency and teach the topic, but as the years went on, I started to see educators and staff begin to see that they could address this topic on their own with some support from me. Also, at a conference I was asked by Karen Topper from Green Mountain Self Advocates, “would you ever consider having people with disabilities be the teachers of these classes?” It was a new idea for me, but I willing said, “yes.”

From that moment on, all my work has been on helping self-advocates, educators, direct
support staff, parents, and others to become sexuality educators themselves and learn how to teach or talk about this topic. I created educational materials and provided training to help raise their level of confidence. Just as we want people with disabilities to be self-sufficient in their lives, I wanted organizations, agencies, and schools to be self-sufficient in teaching and
communicating about sexuality.

I have created a sexuality education curriculum that has a focus on sexual self-advocacy and is inclusive of all genders and sexual identities. I have also created two online courses, one for staff, and one for parents, to help these groups have access to training that meets their needs and fits into their schedule and budgets. I continue to provide in-service training and offer a three-day certificate program titled, Becoming a Sexuality Educator and Trainer. This training enables staff to teach sexuality education classes and offer workshops for staff and parents within their agency or school.

I also teach Human Sexuality at Keene State College in New Hampshire. For me, I have spent my life trying to elevate the status of all people, which is why we chose our new name for our growing company, Elevatus Training.

“Katherine McLaughlin is a phenomenal trainer full of energy and knowledge. She is skilled at creating an extremely comfortable environment for people to learn about such an important and sensitive topic.”

Katie Arnold, Community Support Coordinator
Institute on Disability and Human Development
University of Illinois-Chicago