About Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities affect about 1.5 million people in the UK.

A learning disability is a common, lifelong condition which is neither an illness nor a disease (Royal College of Nursing 2013).

The term is used in relation to people who have the following characteristics:

  •     a significant impairment of intelligence
  •     a significant impairment of adaptive functioning

Typically the age of onset occurs before adulthood (in other words, in the developmental period) (British Psychological Society, 2000).

People with learning disabilities are unique individuals with their own likes and dislikes, history and opinions, and have the same rights as anyone else (RCN, 2013).


If you would like this information in an alternative format, for example large print or easy read, or if you need help with communicating with us, for example because you use British Sign Language, please let us know. You can call us on 01934 647216 or email wnt-tr.PALS@nhs.net