Looking after someone with learning disabilities

Firstly, let’s clarify – is it learning difficulties or learning disability? Learning difficulties refers to finding a particular aspect of learning difficult whereas learning disabilities refers to an overall cognitive impairment. The information we have collected here refers to learning disabilities. For more information on learning difficulties, we’d recommend visiting Mencap for more information and guides.

How to support someone with a learning disability

There are many things you can do to support a person with a learning disability and to ease any stress for their carer. In the first instance, we recommend getting in touch with your local council to find out what support is available to you. We also recommend getting a Carers Assessment completed (find out more about Carers Assessments here). You can also view local support on our directory.

What causes learning disabilities?

Learning disabilities happen before birth, or in early childhood. They occur when the brain is unable to develop properly. A number of different things can cause learning disabilities. These include:

  • Genetics – an inherited condition.
  • An injury or illness in early childhood
  • The mother having certain illnesses during pregnancy
  • A lack of oxygen to the brain during birth

Types of learning disabilities

An individual can have mild learning disabilities, moderate learning disabilities or severe learning disabilities. The effect of these learning disabilities varies from person to person – some people lead a relatively normal life while others may have additional conditions and illnesses which when combined with learning disabilities, means they need a substantial level of care.

Learning disabilities in adults can mean they have an inability to live an independent life, and learning disabilities in children may mean that they need additional support throughout their education/childhood and into adulthood

Community learning disability team

A community learning disability team provides specialist support to adults with learning disabilities. They ensure that individuals with learning disabilities receive the same care and treatment as everyone else.

Useful links:

Conditions & Illnesses

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