People with learning disabilities in relationships
Everyone in this world has every right to be in love no matter what gets in the way
Blog by Victoria Smith
Victoria works at Stay Up Late as the Gig Buddies Assistant and has a learning disability. In this blog she looks at attitudes to people with learning disabilities in relationships, reflecting on her own experiences and those of others.
My personal experience
I am in a relationship for 9 months now with Jason. There has only been one problem that came up once and it did cause a bit of a stressful time. I asked if my boyfriend could stay the night but my place turned around and said he couldn’t because it could be breaking the flat agreement. But then I spoke to someone high up and it was sorted out. My boyfriend can stay the night now but I still have to let my placement know when he’s coming or staying. I think do we really need to tell people when our boyfriends or girlfriends are staying over? Because we are adults and we can mange relationships. Sometimes we have to tell the placement because of fire safety but is that really the case here?
I think things do need to change in this area. It is not right having to tell people “oh my other half is staying the night”. It is like being treated like a child or being at home again and asking a family member if you could have a sleep-over. Is it really the case that we have to tell someone we have someone staying over the night even if it is a supported placement?
I think some people do see it as wrong for people with a learning disability to even be in a relationship and having their other half around for the night or even for the day, or even getting married or thinking about having a baby together with their other half. Other people in this world can get married or even have kids and they do. What is so wrong about people with a learning disability? It’s not like we are going to break the law by doing it. Other people in this world are worse off and they can still have their kids. But when it comes to people with a learning disability they think we won’t be a good mother or dad to a child. Personally, I think that is wrong. I think social workers and support need to work more on a whole range of improvements for helping people with a learning disability.
Do I think things could be improved?
I think honestly it could be improved with the right training and support, and for social workers to work alongside the person they are supporting and to not turn around and say we can’t be in a relationship. I think everyone in this world has every right to be in love no matter what gets in the way. You should always fight for the way you want things. I think it has always been a big problem when someone turns around and says you can’t be in relationship because you’ve got a learning disability. It is totally wrong. I think we need to stand our ground so we can get the word out here.
by Victoria Smith