HONG KONG: When Ho Fung sat down recently to talk with his girlfriend, his
thoughts were fixed on the future matters of love, marriage and family chief
"We haven't made plans for getting married just yet since we aren't
financially stable," said Ho Fung, 17.
"We have similar personalities and have a great time together. We plan to
live together in the future."
Dating, sex and marriage can be complicated issues even in the best of
circumstances, which is one of the reasons Ho-fung and his girlfriend, both of
whom suffer from intellectual disabilities, have been taking part in a
sex-education and group discussion program at the Yau Chong Home, an
assisted-living residence for people in their condition.
The program is part of an effort by Hong Kong's Family Planning Association
(FPA) to help people with intellectual disabilities steer their way past the
many pitfalls associated with romance and relationships.
Sex education materials
The FPA published the special administrative region's first-ever sex
education material for people with intellectual disabilities last month.
Revolving around the themes of dating, marriage and sex, the materials offer
advice on social interaction, relationships, preparing for marriage and facts
about sexual intercourse.
Keeley Chan, an official from the FPA's Education Division, said the move
comes in response to a rising need for sex education for the intellectually
disabled, whose passion and desire for love and to be loved are sometimes
The intellectually disabled have the same physical and emotional needs as
anyone else, and it would be wrong to suppress their pent-up desires, said Chan.
With the right guidance and access to sex education, the intellectually
disabled can lead fulfilling married lives, Chan said.
The FPA's educational package includes textbooks, CD-ROMs, illustrated cards
and posters of the human body. The materials are available at the FPA library,
and are distributed to groups that work with the intellectually impaired, Chan
Help in need
Ho Wing-yi, a psychiatrist at the Fu Hong Society, an organization that
provides housing to the handicapped, lauded the program, saying that the
intellectually disabled needed help to better understand the responsibilities
inherent in marriages and relationships.
Ho said guidance from social workers would help such couples develop stable
The materials are also intended to help the parents of the mentally disabled,
Parents sometimes need help learning to accept that their children experience
sexual desire just like anyone else, and they should discuss issues like love
and relationship freely and openly, Ho added.
Lai Hung-shing, a service unit manager at the Yau Chong Home, which is
operated by the Fu Hong Society, emphasized the need to break taboos by
increasing his communication with his clients and explaining both the
responsibility of marriage and the problems they might face as a couple.
Marriage between two mentally challenged people can be a blessing if both
understand the significance of their union, are independent and can rely on
family support, said Lai.
Cheng Dai, 34, and her boyfriend of eight years are ready for the challenge
and plan to marry soon. With the support from both families, the couple will
stay with the groom's uncle after they have tied the knot in order to minimize
their living expenses.
(China Daily 01/24/2007 page5)