In a 2017, a research team in the UK interviewed people with cognitive disabilities about their experience with romantic relationships, dating, marriage etc. Every single person interviewed who was in a romantic relationship of some sort could point to specific ways their support network had helped them find and / or maintain that relationship. Likewise, people interviewed who were frustrated at not finding a relationship often pointed to ways in which people in their support network had stood in their way.
As well, studies around the world show that people with cognitive disabilities are at increased risk of experiencing sexual abuse. Having a person or people in their lives with whom they can have frank conversations about sexual health topics is a key factor in reducing their risk of abuse.
While it may not be easy or comfortable to engage with folks we support around these topics, the benefits can be profound. And the good news is, we don’t have to be perfect at this – or even feel confident – to make a big difference. The videos and resources below show where we can find reliable info, and give some ideas on how to start those awkward conversations.
New to Real Talk? Do you support someone with a cognitive disability? Watch this video first for tips on how to use our video catalog, and how to have better conversations about dating, love, relationships, and sex.
Vancouver Coastal Health Authority published a pocket guide detailing how to support the sexuality of folks living in care facilities.
For a while now people have been asking for a short pamphlet on this topic for families and staff.