Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities

Learning disabilities can be difficult to describe because they are different for everyone that has them. In general, a learning disability is a condition that makes it harder for someone to learn, understand or do things.

People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complicated information and interact with other people. 

Conditions associated with learning disabilities

Autism and Asperger’s syndrome

Down’s syndrome

Williams syndrome

Cerebral Palsy

Fragile X syndrome

Global Development Delay

What your GP can do

Learning Disability Register

The learning disability register is a list of people who have a learning disability. Doctors use it to make sure that people with a learning disability get the right support in the right ways. Talk to your GP about joining the register.

You can ask to be added to the learning disability register by contacting your GP surgery. When talking to your GP, you could mention:

  • Tell them how your learning disability affects you in your daily life
  • Tell them about any disability benefits you receive
  • Tell them if you have a social worker

To join the register, you do not:

  • Have to take any tests
  • Need to be receiving support from social services
  • Have to receive any disability benefit payments

Advantages of being on the Learning Disability Register:

  • Free annual health check (over the age of 14)
    See here for more information
  • Free flu vaccinations for you and your carer
  • Reasonable Adjustments
    – Reasonable adjustments are small changes that can help people with a learning disability be treated equally. By law, you may ask for reasonable adjustments to be put in place.
    Examples of reasonable adjustments:
    – Staff who speak clearly and use easy words
    – A longer appointment
    – A hospital passport which tells people all about you
    – Support workers or family members with you
    – Quiet waiting rooms
    These are just some examples. You can talk to your GP about arranging reasonable adjustments that will best suit you.

Mencap have lots of information and resources on their website, as well as a helpline for those caring for or living with a learning disability. Call 0808 808 1111 or email [email protected] to get in touch.