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The top 4 most common questions about Learning Disabilities

As a supported living provider, Seco Support offer their services to people who have learning disabilities, autism or mental health difficulties.

But what exactly is a learning disability?

Read on to find out more.

1. What is a Learning Disability?

Perhaps the most important question discussed during our training week is what defines a learning disability.

Seco Support defines a learning disability as:

  • IQ score of below 70,
  • Lack of social functioning skills, and
  • Diagnosed before 18 years old.

People with a learning disability may struggle with every day activities such as household tasks, learning new skills or understanding information. This will have become apparent before they became an adult.

2. Are all Learning Disabilities the same?

Just as the common cold affects everyone differently, so do learning disabilities. No two people are the same.

There are different levels of learning disabilities, ranging from mild to profound. People with a mild learning difficulty may not need as much support, and can cope well with household tasks. People with a severe or profound learning disability will need a lot more care and support.

3. Are learning disability & learning difficulties the same thing?

If you or your child has a learning disability, you may also have heard ‘learning difficulties’ used interchangeably. However, the two are not the same.

Mental health.org defines the two:

  • a learning disability constitutes a condition which affects learning and intelligence across all areas of life
  • a learning difficulty constitutes a condition which creates an obstacle to a specific form of learning, but does not affect the overall IQ of an individual

For example if you or your child has dyslexia, this would affect a specific area (reading and writing). This would be considered a learning difficulty, as it does not impact across all areas of their lives.

A learning disability impacts upon all areas of you or your child’s life, such as

  • understanding complicated information
  • learning some skills
  • looking after themselves or living alone

4. What causes a learning disability?

Learning disabilities can be caused by a number of factors, and in some cases, no known cause is ever found.

A learning disability can occur whilst the baby is developing in the womb, during birth or in childhood. Sometimes genes passed on by the parents make having a learning disability more likely.

It is important to remember that a learning disability is not an illness or a disease. And with the right support, and vast improvements in the health and social care sector over the years, people with learning disabilities can live a long, healthy, contented life.

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