We use cookies to help us improve the website and your experience using it. You may delete and block all cookies from this site at any time. However, please note this may result in parts of the site no longer working correctly. If you continue without changing your settings we will assume you are happy to receive all cookies on this site.


Learning Disability

pop up standWhat is a learning disability?

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities - for example household tasks, socialising or managing money - which affects someone for their whole life.

People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complex information and interact with other people.

The level of support someone needs depends on individual factors, including the severity of their learning disability. For example, someone with a mild learning disability may only need support with things like getting a job. However, someone with a severe or profound learning disability may need full-time care and support with every aspect of their life - they may also have physical disabilities.

People with certain specific conditions can have a learning disability too. For example, people with Down's syndrome and some people with autism have a learning disability.

Learning disability is often confused with dyslexia and mental health problems. Mencap describes dyslexia as a "learning difficulty" because, unlike learning disability, it does not affect intellect. Mental health problems can affect anyone at any time and may be overcome with treatment, which is not true of learning disability.

It's important to remember that with the right support, most people with a learning disability in the UK can lead independent lives. - Mencap 2016

Definition: What is a learning disability?

It is important to note that the term 'learning disability' is just a label and people with learning disabilities should be treated as people first. Learning Disability (LD) is the most commonly used term in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and refers to an individual who has development delay, which is usually evident from early childhood. An individual must meet the following three criteria for the term to apply:

  1. Impaired intellectual function, which includes a significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information and to learn new skills.
  2. Impaired adaptive or social functioning, which refers to a reduced ability to cope independently.

what is a learning disability

learning disability definition

how manyIf you need to attend or come into Royal Manchester Childrens Hospitals, Outpatients or the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, please tell a member of  staff to help to place a method of commuication to inform professionals to meet your individual needs and to help plan your care.

They can also provide a patient pager to help support you