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Cambridgeshire Mencap

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What is a learning disability?

What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is caused by the way the brain develops

There are many different types and most develop before a baby is born, during birth or because of a serious illness in early childhood. A learning disability is life long and usually has a significant impact on a person's life.

Learning disability is not mental illness or dyslexia.

People with a learning disability find it harder than others to learn, understand and communicate. People with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) need full-time help with every aspect of their lives - including eating, drinking, washing, dressing and toileting.

There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Like all of us, they are individuals who want different things in life and need different levels of support.

Causes - A learning disability is caused by the way the brain develops - before, during or soon after birth.

Associated conditions - People with a learning disability may have other physical and emotional conditions associated with learning disability.

Other useful sources of information and advice:

Bibic -  is a national charity offering practical help to families caring for children with conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome, developmental delay, traumatic and acquired brain injury and specific learning difficulties such as attention deficits hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and dyspraxia www.bibic.org.uk

BILD - The British Institute of Learning Disabilities is a national charity committed to working with government agencies and other organisations to help shape UK policy and strategic thinking around learning disabilities www.bild.org.uk

Cerebra - A charity set up to help improve the lives of children with brain related conditions through researching, educating and directly supporting children and their carers www.cerebra.org.uk

The Down's Syndrome Association - offering help and advice for people who have Down's syndrome www.downs-syndrome.org.uk

National Autistic society - championing the rights and interests of all people with autism www.nas.org.uk

Royal Mencap - A national charity and the 'voice of learning disability' www.mencap.org.uk

SCOPE - A charity offering support and advice for people with cerebral palsy, their families and carers www.scope.org.uk

Unique - support group providing support and information for families and individuals who have a rare chromosomal disorder www.rarechromo.org.uk

Disability Direct is an online directory and disability website designed to help you find just the right information, support or equipment you need to live your life.


Source: Mencap

What we do

What we do

We help people do the things they enjoy most, make new friends, learn new skills and become more independant.

Make a donation

Your support helps us empower people with learning disabilities and their families. It helps them live the lives they want.

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