A learning disability affects the way a person learns new things in any area of life, not just at school. A learning disability affects the way a person understands information and how they communicate. It is estimated that 1.4 million people in the UK have a learning disability. This can mean they can have difficulty:
- Understanding new or complex information
- Learning new skills
- Being independent
A learning disability happens when a person’s brain development is affected, either before they are born, during their birth or in early childhood. Sometimes there is no known cause for a learning disability.
A learning disability can be mild, moderate or severe. Some people with a mild learning disability can talk easily and look after themselves, but take a bit longer than usual to learn new skills. Others may not be able to communicate at all and have more than one disability.
It is thought that up to 350,000 people have severe learning disabilities; this figure is increasing.