Learning Disabilities: What Are They?

An individual with a learning disability will have a restricted ability to learn, absorb information and will often be unable to live an independent life, without support or assistance. There are several different types of learning disability, and there are over 1 million people in the UK with a diagnosed learning disability.

Learning Disabilities: How are they caused?

Some learning disabilities are genetic. It is possible for a child to have a learning disability if one of their parents has been diagnosed with one. An illness at a young age, such as meningitis, can cause a learning disability, as well as an injury.

Oxygen deprivation during birth can result in a learning disability. If the baby’s brain wasn’t receiving enough oxygen while their mother was in labour, this can lead to a learning disability. As well as this, if the mother has an illness during the pregnancy, this can affect the unborn child and lead to a learning disability.

However, it is not always possible to know the cause of a learning disability.


More about Learning Disabilities: How do they affect someone’s daily life?

How a person’s life will be affected by a learning disability, largely depends on the severity of the learning disability. In more mild or moderate cases, an individual with a learning disability can often live independently, with minimal support or assistance. An individual with a mild or moderate learning disability may not need that much extra support at school or in their later academic studies. However, on the opposite end of the spectrum, a severe learning disability can cause an individual to need a support worker, or even require access to a wheelchair in order to move around.

People with a learning disability may also require support and assistance with daily activities which require physical movement and hand-eye coordination, such as housework and trips to the shops. Managing finances may also prove tricky for an individual with a learning disability. But with the right support in place, it is possible for people with a learning disability to live a high-quality life.

Leafcare Learning Disability Support

Leaf Complex Care offer specialist support based on an individual’s circumstances. This support includes care packages, which are tailored to all levels of learning disabilities. These packages are designed to allow an individual to live an independent life.

learning disability drawing happy faces

How would you describe a learning disability?

The symptoms of a learning disability can be displayed while a child is at school, if not when they are initially learning to walk and talk. It’s important to remember that there are occasions when symptoms are temporary, and so if your child is showing signs of a learning disability, perhaps via problems with their hand-eye coordination, then it is possible that these symptoms will ease within a few weeks or months. But monitoring the symptoms is vital, and it is advisable to take note of any changes to your child’s symptoms. If your child has a learning disability, then their symptoms will be permanent.

It is possible to ease symptoms of a learning disability, but not to cure them, so if there are continuous signs of a learning disability then it is advisable to let your child’s teachers, doctors and any other relevant parties in their life know. Once you have discussed the symptoms with these parties, it may be possible to arrange an assessment with the potential for a diagnosis.

According to the NHS website:

“A learning disability affects the way a person understands information and how they communicate. This means they can have difficulty:

  • Understanding new or complex information
  • Learning new skills
  • Coping independently”

Learning disabilities – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Leaf Complex Care offer specialist support based on an individual’s circumstances. This support includes care packages, which are tailored to all levels of learning disabilities. These packages are designed to allow an individual to live an independent life.

person with learning disability with support worker working on computer

Learning difficulties vs learning disabilities

The simplest way to look at it is that a learning disability is a disability which affects the ability to learn. It affects an individual’s ability to absorb new information. Whereas learning difficulties may make learning tricky, but an individual will likely have a normal, or average, level of intelligence.

Types of learning disability

Non-verbal learning disability: a Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD) is a learning disability where an individual will have difficulty interpreting communication which is provided via non-verbal means. Understanding non-verbal cues, for example in a social situation, can be difficult and thus it can be hard for an individual to make friends or develop a bond with others.

Academic areas, such as writing ability, are usually not affected by a Non-Verbal Learning Disability, and it is unlikely that speech will be affected either. But an individual is likely to interpret spoken words, instructions and information more literally than other people might. A high percentage of people with Asperger’s syndrome will also experience symptoms of an NVLD.