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What does it mean to have a learning disability?


A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.


People with learning disabilities tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complicated information, interact with other people or cope independently.


A learning disability happens during the brain’s development and may occur during pregnancy e.g. from genetic causes, a traumatic birth or early childhood illness (e.g. meningitis).

What is a learning disability?

See our resources page to find out about government policy and people with learning disabilities

How does having a learning disability affect individuals?


Some adults with a learning disability can live independently, while others need 24/7 help and may require assistance with everyday tasks, like washing and dressing.


A small number of individuals may not use words, or use very few words, and some may have additional health needs. A learning disability is a lifelong condition and will affect individuals in different ways. Find out more about living with a learning disability and how we support our members, by watching our short video on the link below.


The way a learning disability affects an individual depends on the kind of obstacles they face (e.g. prejudice, inaccessible transport, employment issues and financial assistance) and the support they have.


To enable people to reach their full potential, our vision is for a society where ‘people with learning disabilities are treated equally, listened to and included in community life.’

How can you support us?

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