Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging
Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

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Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

3 Romantic relationships

Research has shown that many people with learning disabilities want to have romantic and sexual relationships. People’s right to do so is supported by law and policy. And yet it can be incredibly difficult for people to develop and sustain the types of loving relationships they want.

Activity 5 Living together

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

70% of the general adult population live as a couple. What percentage of people with learning disabilities do you think live as a couple?


a) 3%


b) 13%


c) 30%

The correct answer is a.

Earlier in this session you heard from Terry and Charlene who are in a long-term relationship. In the next video you will hear them talk about why they think their relationship has been successful and lasted for a decade.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 5
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Transcript: Video 5

We do have our moments.
We do have little arguments, yeah. Yeah, to me, it is challenging. But to me, into my eyes, it's like we're showing people that we can cope, you know? It's like, no matter what you've got, or what disability you've got, you can still have relationships no matter what, you know? Yeah, it will be up and downs, but you will get through it.
I think we got it pretty easy, cause we have got the same job. We work for the same company. We've got the same things. So it's pretty easy to have time to do all that stuff and work at the same time. And about our disabilities, Char helps me a lot with my physical difficulties. You'll help her with the things she don't understand.
Yeah, you try and make a word that I don't understand. You try and make it so that I can understand, so it makes sense. Because if Terry says something, I might go, huh? Like, give that-- what? I actually tell Terry, can you explain it in a way that I can understand?
End transcript: Video 5
Video 5
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Charlene says they want to show people that they can cope, and that she and Terry can manage the usual ups and downs of a relationship. Although Charlene has taken on more responsibility for Terry’s physical care of late, it’s clear that Terry supports Charlene too. Terry suggests their relationship has been strengthened by the fact that they have many shared interests and friends. They also work for the same company, which means they can spend a lot of time together.


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