We all need relationships with other people to keep us healthy and happy. How do you develop these relationships, especially once you’re out of school and living on you own? By staying active, learning new things, and creating connections with your community.
Here are some ways you can meet new people and develop relationships:
- Get to know your co-workers
- Join service clubs (like Rotary or Lions)
- Take a night class
- Participate in a club or on a team (book club, recreational basketball team, etc.)
- Become an active member of your faith community
- Be a part of an online community (chat rooms, MySpace, Facebook, bulletin boards, web sites, etc.) Disaboom.com offers chat rooms and discussion areas
Important note: remember not to give out personal information (where you live, your Social Security Number, etc.) on the Internet. You never know who might have access to the information. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children maintains a web site with information and videos on Internet safety for teens and adults – visit the site to learn how to protect yourself online.
Your parents and your doctor are good people to talk to if you have questions about dating and intimate relationships. The health teachers at your school might also be able to answer questions for you. And there are lots of good resources on the Internet – some are designed for young people and others are designed to help parents and teachers feel more comfortable talking to young people.
The Sexuality and Disability Consortium website offers a variety of resources related to sexuality and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Access Living Youth Center offers resources on dating and relationship issues.
Oregon Perspectives, Winter 2008, Issue 3:“Healthy Intimate Relationships” (published by the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities).
Advocates for Youth creates programs and advocates for policies to help young people make informed and responsible choices about their sexual health.
Sexuality: Your Sons and Daughters with Intellectual Disabilities by Karin Melberg Schwier is available from TRIC/PLUK Library, which can be accessed through the PLUK web site.
The Quality Mall offers books, curricula, and other materials addressing sexuality and intimate relationships.
The Autism Sex Education website offers a variety of resources for youth with a variety of disabilities and learning styles. Some resources for educators are available as well.
Free Resource Guide of books, websites, videos and other resources to help you confidently deal with the topic of sexuality and developmental disabilities.