Dating for People with Intellectual Disabilities
August 6, 2020 was a very special day for two young adults. Myles (20) and Jasmine (16) had waited 1 year to meet again in person after meeting each other at an LGBTQ dance in June 2019 (chaperoned by me) and then again at my wedding in August 2019.
Jasmine’s mom and I are close friends and Myles is my step-son.
These two kept in contact with one another for a whole year via the phone, text, Skype, etc. They were clearly interested in one another as more than friends and we had a decision we had to make. After talking about it at length, we decided to make this first date happen. Who were we to stand in the way of young love?
When I picked up Myles from his home, I sat him down to tell him that today was the day he was finally going to see Jasmine. He pumped back his arm with a loud “yes” and then proceeded to give his worker a big hug. We were on our way.
On the drive down, we talked about consent and the importance of asking to hug, hold someone’s hand, etc. We talked about boundaries and the fact that this date would be chaperoned.
When we got to the coffee shop to meet my friend and her daughter for lunch, Myles was visibly excited.
As we approached the shop, Myles saw Jasmine. He asked if he could hug her and they both paused for a long embrace. We ordered lunch and then all sat at the same table to eat. We all engaged in conversation.
After lunch, we moved to another table to give these two some privacy. Close enough to provide support if needed, but far enough away to give them the space they deserved.
They decided that they wanted to go for a walk. Holding hands, we let them walk ahead as Donna and I caught up on our life happenings.
We ended up at the waterfront and sat in some comfy chairs. Jasmine, who is an exceptional musician and singer, sang Myles a few songs. So romantic. He was impressed.
At the end of the date, Myles walked Jasmine to her mom’s car. You could tell they were a bit disappointed that the first perfect date had to come to an end. They embraced a second time and we were on our way.
In the car, Myles thanked me profusely for helping him to make this date happen. He said that it was the best day of his life. He kept saying how beautiful her blue eyes were.
I was so proud of this young man and how he carried himself on this date.
People with intellectual disabilities need the same opportunities as their peers. They have the same desires, want and needs that their neurotypical peers have. They don’t however, have the same level of independence and require more support along the way.
Myles and Jasmine will have their second date during the middle of September. I hope it is as magical as the first.