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Relationships and Sex Education

Practitioners who have experience of teaching Relationships and sex education to young people with learning disabilities realise that on-going support over time and life stages is needed.  What is most important is that information on topics is given in honest and clear ways from everyone involved with the young person. 

Relationships and sex education support covers a wide area - emotions, puberty, identity, gender, trust, and respect for example.  As parents/carers you are probably already modelling behaviours and talking about most of the issues with your child/young person but good quality information in a way they can understand, is vital.

Young people with learning disabilities have the same influences around them as any other; what they see on TV, internet, social media, and their peers. We need to be aware of how a young person with a learning disability might absorb poor information and ensure that this is balanced by clear information and support from school and parents.

Parents and carers of any teenager can find it embarrassing to talk about relationships and sex (and so can young people!) However, good clear information and support from those they can trust, can help them develop and understand safe healthy adult relationships.  It promotes young people’s social skills, leading to greater independence and it can increase young people’s self-confidence as they move into adulthood.


Top tip

Parents also have many practical concerns for their children about appropriate sexual behaviour in public.

Never say ’no’ or ‘don’t do that’ instead say ‘not here’ give the message that there is an appropriate place which is the young person’s bedroom

Organisations and resources that might be helpful are attached to this section. Please let us know if you come across any good information or links that we could share here.

e mail :

MENCAP - Relationships and Sexuality 

Sex Education - a guide for parents (National Autistic Society)

Our Bodies, Public and Private - Illustrated Resources