Keeping healthy 'down below' Sheila Hollins and Jackie Downer Gaskell 47 pages £10 Looking after my breasts By Sheila Hollins and Wendy Perez Gaskell 53 pages £10

Most women are a little nervous about cancer screening - such as smear tests and breast examinations - but they would have some idea of what to expect and why it is important.

Women with learning disabilities may be completely unaware of the need for or existence of screening and may find the procedures involved frightening.

Supporters and carers (who could be family members) may be unsure if screening is appropriate for a woman and concerned about how to help her understand what will happen.

Staff in screening services will want to be sure that the woman has given her consent and that she is prepared for the procedure.

These A5 size books use vivid pictures to describe a story;

Carol is invited for a smear test and a similar story follows Beth through breast screening.

Both books cover recall to the service for further tests.

Keeping Healthy Down Below also briefly covers condom use and menstruation, and Looking After My Breasts covers breast awareness.

The pictures are simple but lifelike, showing women of different races and ages - there is no distracting detail.

The ring-bound format makes it easy to select specific pictures so that women can focus on particular parts of the story.

The books are designed for women to use at their own pace, and most women will read it with a supporter. The books have no words, but there is a suggested story line for supporters to work through, along with guidance for supporters on how to use the books, and suggestions for other resources such as the companion Good Practice in Breast and Cervical Screening for Women with Learning Disabilities. Issues of consent are addressed.

Sexuality can be an extremely difficult issue for supporters and carers to address: they need to be able to balance helping a woman protect herself from risks such as infection and pregnancy, while maintaining her right to privacy about her relationships.

These two books are part of a series of books without words developed for use with people with learning disabilities.

They make a valuable contribution to the growing number of resources available to help people with learning disabilities live healthy lives.

Independent consultant, health promotion and education, south east London.