A learning disability can affect the way a person understands information, making it difficult to understand new information and cope independently. Learning disability is often confused with mental health problems, which can affect anyone and may be overcome with treatment. A profound and multiple learning disability (PMLD) is when a person has other disabilities that significantly affect their ability to communicate, and may have severe difficulties hearing and moving.
There are different types of learning disability, but in all cases it is life long. People with PMLD need carers to help them with eating and going to the toilet, but many of them can learn to communicate in different ways and do things they enjoy. An individual with mild learning disability will often mix well with others but he may need support in some areas of his life.
Some adults are able to live independently, do washing and dressing, but it depends on the person’s abilities and support they receive. GPs, pediatricians, speech and language therapists, educational and clinical psychologists may help people with a learning disability understand what causes learning disabilities. You can find out about being a carer, including financial matters within this article.
1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability and this figure is increasing every day. Statistics tell us many things about people with learning disabilities, so we have put together the most important ones regarding learning disabilities. It is estimated that in 2011 1,191,000 people had a learning disability in England, including 905,000 adults aged 18+ (Source: People with Learning Disabilities in England 2011).
There is support for learning disabilities that are diagnosed at birth, however some might not be discovered until the child is old enough to talk. There are some services and support available for people with learning disabilities in England, as well as other countries. It can be caused by things such as problems during the birth that stop enough oxygen getting to the brain, inherited learning disability or meningitis, but sometimes there’s no known cause for a learning disability.
The severity of learning disability, however, might be mild or moderate; therefore some people can talk easily but may need a bit longer to learn new skills. Learning disability diagnosis implicates a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with household tasks or managing money, things that take longer to learn or understand. Your GP can refer you for specialist support if you need help your child’s care.
Depending on the individual, it makes it hard to interact with other people and the need of support occurs, especially if we are talking about a severe or profound learning disability that may also be combined with physical disabilities. Everyone with Down’s syndrome has some kind of learning disability, and people with autism may also have learning disabilities. It’s important, although, to remember that most people with a learning disability in the UK can get in touch with helpful teams that can offer advice and discuss what support they may find in the area.