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Learning Disability

What is it? 

Learning Disability is a lifelong condition that means people need help to:
  • Understand new information
  • Learn new skills 
  • Cope independently.
This means that people with learning disabilities will find it harder to understand, learn and remember new things and means that they may have problems with a range of things such as communication, being aware of risks or managing every day tasks.

Intelligence Quotient(IQ) and Learning Disabilities

An intelligence quotient(IQ) is a score from one of several standard test designed to assess intelligence. IQ tests are no longer routinely used because their value is questioned by many professionals. However, such test can still be accepted in medical, educational and legal settings as the basis  for confirming a diagnosis of learning disabilities. An IQ of 70 is an international benchmark of having a learning disability and an IQ of:
  • 50 – 70 is mild learning disability
  • 35-50 moderate learning disability
  • 20-35 severe learning disability
  • Below 20 profound learning disability.
However, what a person can achieve or do does not necessarily relate to their IQ score as it depends on what opportunities they have had to learn and practise living and social skills.

What to look out for 

Everyone with a learning disability is a unique individual who will find it difficult to cope with a variety of different life situations. This can include:
  • Reading, writing and comprehension
  • Filling in forms
  • Explaining things
  • Following instructions or directions
  • Concentrating for long periods of time
  • Telling the time and time awareness
  • Using public transport
  • Managing a home including budgeting and cooking
  • Understanding social norms and cues
In terms of health issues, they are likely to have greater health needs than the rest of the population and are at increased risk of experiencing:
  • Epilepsy
  • Sight or hearing problems
  • Difficulties with eating and gastrointestinal problems
  • Hypertension and respiratory disease
  • Obesity and coronary heart disease
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid problems

What to do 

People with a learning disability are more vulnerable to hate crime including bullying, exploitation and abuse. They can be easily influenced by others.