A learning disability affects the way a person understands information and how they communicate.

Around 1.5m people in the UK have one. This means they can have difficulty:

  • understanding new or complex information
  • learning new skills
  • coping independently

It is important to improve the quality of life for people living with a learning disability through positive support.   Our software facilitates a level of independence and empowers the person.  They are able to participate and therefore regardless of ability can include everybody.

When using the software, Service Users, clearly demonstrated engagement and were stimulated in such a way that they showed progressive improvement over a short period of time which represents measurable outcomes.

Offering this type of empowerment can provide relief and greater use of staffing resource as Service Users are able to work independently in some cases.

Read our Warwickshire Care Services case study.

It is thought that up to 350,000 people have severe learning disabilities. This figure is increasing.

Mild, moderate or severe learning disability

A learning disability can be mild, moderate or severe. Some people with a mild learning disability can talk easily and look after themselves, but take a bit longer than usual to learn new skills. Others may not be able to communicate at all and have more than one disability

A learning disability is not the same as a learning difficulty or mental illness. Consultant pediatrician Dr Martin Ward Platt says: “It can be very confusing,” he says, pointing out that the term “learning difficulties” is used by some people to cover the whole range of learning disabilities.

“It is easy to give the impression, by using a term like ‘learning difficulties’, that a child has less of a disability than they really do,” says Dr Ward Platt.

Some children with learning disabilities grow up to be quite independent, while others need help with everyday tasks, such as washing or getting dressed, for their whole lives. It depends on their abilities.

Children and young people with a learning disability may also have special educational needs.

Profound and multiple learning disability (PMLD)

A diagnosis of a profound and multiple learning disability (PMLD) is used when a child has more than one disability, with the most significant being a learning disability.

Many children diagnosed with PMLD will also have a sensory or physical disability, complex health needs, or mental health difficulties. People with PMLD need a carer or carers to help them with most areas of everyday life, such as eating, washing and going to the toilet.

What causes learning disabilities?

A learning disability happens when a person’s brain development is affected, either before they are born, during their birth or in early childhood. Several factors can affect brain development, including:

  • the mother becoming ill in pregnancy
  • problems during the birth that stop enough oxygen getting to the brain
  • the unborn baby developing certain genes
  • the parents passing certain genes to the unborn baby that make having a learning disability more likely (known as inherited learning disability)
  • illness, such as meningitis, or injury in early childhood
  • Sometimes there is no known cause for a learning disability.

Some conditions are associated with having a learning disability, such as cerebral palsy. This is because people with these conditions are more likely to have one.

Everyone with Down’s syndrome, for example, has some kind of learning disability, and so do many people with cerebral palsy. People with autism may also have learning disabilities, and around 30% of people with epilepsy have a learning disability