Do's and Don't of relationships

I’m wondering if anyone can give me some advice. I am a support worker at a charity that provides social activities to both children and adults with learning disabilities. At one of our adult groups, we’ve had a few problems with what is and isn’t appropriate in a romantic relationship.

A couple of our service users are ‘dating’. It’s very much a case of, they see each other once a week, hold hands and say that they’re boyfriend and girlfriend rather than anything ‘serious’. However, sometimes when a service user is absent, someone else will become their girlfriend/boyfriend without the absentee being aware of this. As you can imagine, this is causing some tension!

I’ve tried looking on the internet for an easy read guide to explain what cheating is and why it’s not okay. However, the only information I’ve found talks about healthy sexual relationships which for now, is not relevant to these service users.

Does anyone have any advice on how I can approach this? I was thinking maybe a cartoon or video on relationships?

Thank you in advance!


Basic questions - what do the people mean by boyfriend/girlfriend?
What do they want the relationship to give them?
Are there any rules about being a boyfriend/girlfriend? What are they? Do they both agree? If not, what do they want to do about that?
You can draw your own cartoons as they tell you what they want - I can’t ‘draw’ for toffee, but I can do stick figures, which communicate ideas and help people remember what they’ve said. Make them into a story, talk about what they like or don’t like in the story.
You’re going to find lots of relationship issues that don’t have ready made resources to go with them -0 and where they do often too expensive. Please don’t assume someone else will do it or give up because it seems to hard. This is what has happened for years and years - give people a chance to understand what they want from a relationship and don’t bring your own assumptions and beliefs to it (who says it’s not serious?)
Go for it - good luck!


Hi there,

There are some good resources that can support you in helping your adults in relationship work.

Life Support productions have a really good DVD called You, your body and sex the DVD. It is specifically designed for people with learning disabilities and has specific topics that are covered.
Alternatively there are several books that are available which can give you some ideas on how to support people with area.
‘Let’s plan it’ and ‘Let’s do it’ (A guide to sex and relationships education for young people and adults with learning disabilities) are good as they give you a specific lesson plan with aims and outcomes. They were written by Lorna Scott and Sarah Duignan. (Image in Action).
There are also the talking together books written by the Family Planning Association. There is one called Talking together about sex and relationships.
This book has social stories and is easy to use.
There are several book and resources, the list is endless.
It may be a good idea to talk to your local Community Learning Disability Team, they may have resources available, or be able to signpost you further.
Good Luck!



I agree about stick figures, sometimes there’s nothing else for it but to make your own resources. Failing that, it might be you can adapt a resource someone else has made to create your own cartoon style version, or make a series of flash cards to prompt discussion.

It’s worth looking online for storyboarding info as it might help to get some ideas about telling a story through pictures, use of establishing shots, cut aways and close ups etc.

There’s some great apps out there if you don’t want to draw but want to use your own photo’s to make a photo story

The main thing is not to get too hung up about artistic talent or technical brilliance, but always remember the real audience is the people you’re working with and no one else.

Good luck with it.

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