The request was initially turned down, prompting the woman to demand a meeting with the group home staff. Over hamburgers and fries, they discussed their mutual fondness for baseball, professional wrestling and books. To go on a date, adult residents generally have to obtain permission in advance, then go out under the watchful eyes of paid staff.
In some cases, disabled adults arrive at group homes having been sexually abused as children or adolescents, heightening the need for supervision. Rachel, whose disability makes her prone to impulsive behavior, darted out of the house without telling anyone, setting her mother and sister off on a frantic search through the neighborhood. She has long argued that sexual health and vulnerability should be among the factors assessed when a disabled person moves into a group home. I will help you, and she understood that. The key, Opheim said, is for each person to be assessed individually, rather than permitting group homes to create rules that arbitrarily apply to all residents. Both have parents who encouraged them to talk openly about sex and about setting their own boundaries. Building trust Ninety minutes. Romance sometimes seems impossible to Minnesotans with disabilities. The obstacles include arbitrary curfews, lack of transportation, and segregated housing that cuts them off from mainstream social life and opportunities to date. Recently, Gatlin said she represented a woman who wanted help requesting a night with her boyfriend, who lived in a group home. With late-summer mosquitoes buzzing around them, the two giggled and caressed each other, their voices muffled by the rush of a nearby stream and the traffic above. One in five residents of state-licensed group homes has a severe and persistent mental illness, and most have cognitive disabilities, which can limit their capacity to consent to sex. Now, after nearly a year of supervised visits, Duncan said he is building up courage to ask permission for an overnight stay alone with his friend. Well, I want that. Rachel is a freshman at Bethel University, a conservative Christian school, where she signed a pledge to remain abstinent until marriage. When they arrived, at dusk, Nicholas walked Rachel to the front door of the dormitory and they held each other in a long embrace. What are they going to think? Although Minnesota law gives group home residents the right to have visitors and associate with people of their choosing, their legal guardians must nonetheless balance respect for their rights with the need for safety. Across Minnesota, disabled adults complain of having to overcome constant hurdles to engage in romantic activity and sustain loving relationships. More ambitious requests — such as spending the night in bed with a partner — can trigger a long sequence of meetings and consultations. The request was initially turned down, prompting the woman to demand a meeting with the group home staff. A few hours later, LouAnn Larson got a cellphone call from Nicholas saying they were safe. Their first date was a visit to the Minnesota Twins winter caravan in Fergus Falls. Rachel Larson and Nicholas Hamilton hugged as they said goodbye after a date. Rachel Larson, 21, and Nicholas Hamilton, 24, who have developmental disabilities, have been dating about a year, and both have the support of their families. Though visibly nervous at the meeting, the woman prevailed, Gatlin said. To be taken on a date, Duncan had to notify his group home staff at least 24 hours ahead of time.
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