What is a learning disability

This is a difficult question to answer as everyone is an individual, so there is a wide range of characteristics and ways people can be affected. There are certain things that are unique to someone with a learning disability, and some that are common conditions for a lot of people.

The Internet offers many definitions, most describe the basics of what a learning disability is in the same way. For example, The Foundation for people with learning disabilities website says:

“Having a learning disability means that people find it harder to learn certain life skills. The problems experienced differ from person to person, but may include aspects such as learning new things, communication, managing money, reading, writing, or personal care.  Some people are born with a disability, while others may develop one as a result of an accident or illness in childhood.

Types of learning disabilities differ hugely. Someone with mild disabilities may be able to live independently with minimal support, whereas someone with severe and profound disabilities may need 24 hour care, and help with performing most daily living skills.

A learning disability is defined by the Department of Health as a “significant reduced ability to understand new or complex information, to learn new skills (impaired intelligence), with a reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning), which started before adulthood”.

Sometimes, the term ‘Global Developmental Delay’ (GDD) is used to describe a learning disability. GDD describes a condition that occurs between birth and the age of 18 which prevents a child from reaching key milestones of development like learning to communicate, processing information, remembering things and organising their thoughts.”

If you are a carer or someone with a learning disability, we’d love to get your feedback on this, please write to publicity@sunnysideruraltrust.org.uk