Learning disability

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities, such as household tasks, socializing, 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 complicated information and interact with other people (Mencap). A learning disability is different for everyone, no two people are the same, some people who have a learning disability can work, have relationships, live alone, and get qualification, other people might need more support throughout their life. (NHS).

Learning disability is often confused with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia. Some people also confuse neurodevelopment and neurological conditions like ADHD with learning difficulty or learning disability, dyslexia can be described as learning difficulty because unlike learning disability it does not affect intellect. (Mencap)

Being diagnosed with a learning disability is helpful, as this can get you the support you need, every learning disability is different, having a diagnosis can be important and helpful, some people may not feel they want a diagnosis, a learning disability diagnosis can happen at different ages. Having a diagnosis doesn’t tell you everything about who a person is and what they can do, if you think you or your child might have signs of a learning disability, the first step is to speak to your GP. If you have a learning disability you might need some support when you are an adult, the adult social, the adult social care department within Birmingham and Solihull council will work with you to find out what support you need. Your family, carer, or support worker can help you if you need them to. This is called a needs assessment. (Birmingham City Council)

Contacting us about adult social care services and support | How to contact us about adult social care services and support

Care Act assessment

Learning Disability is not….

  • Learning disability is not an illness, it is a lifelong condition, which means that people will always have some difficulty with learning. However, there is a lot that can be done to help people learn new skills and develop
  • Learning Disability is not a mental health problem although some people with learning disability can develop mental health problems.
  • It is not a specific “learning difficulty” (like dyslexia) which affects a specific area of learning
  • School reports might say a learning difficulty but this is not the same as what is meant by learning disability
  • It is not autism – some people with a learning disability might have autism as well, but it is not the same thing.

Four different levels of learning disability

Learning disabilities can range from mild to severe, no two people are affected in the same way, some people with learning disabilities go to work, have relationships and live independent lives, others require daily support in many areas of their life.  For some, learning disability is part of their identity, not something they wish to be ‘cured’. There are different levels of learning disability. (Sense.org.uk)

Level 1 Mild Learning Difficulties

  • Might have problems in some areas but manage ok in other areas and need support some of the time

Level 2 Moderate Learning Difficulties

  • Might have problems in more areas and need support a lot of the time

Level 3 Severe Learning Difficulties

  • Might have problems in more areas and need support most of the time

Level 4 Profound Learning Difficulties

  • severe limitation in self-care, continence, communication and mobility
  • (WHO, 2022)

NHS Long term plan for Learning disability and autism

The NHS is committed and has a crucial role in helping people with a learning disability, autism or both, to ensure happier and healthier lives, the plan aims to improve people’s health by making sure they receive timely and appropriate health checks, while improving the level of awareness and understanding across the NHS of how best we can support them as patients, more people with complex needs will be supported to live fulfilling lives at home rather than in hospital, here at BSMHFT we are committed to the NHS Plan and to make changes within our organization to ensure we improve on our services. (long term plan NHS) You will see more of this, under of Learning and Autism Agenda tab. Please see below links for full information of the NHS long term plan.

Easy read Long Term Plan

NHS Long Term Plan » Online version of the NHS Long Term Plan

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