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Living with a learning disability

Published on: 17th June 2022


Mencap’s Learning Disability Week takes place on 20-26 June. It is an annual campaign that tells the story of what it’s like to live with a learning disability.

According to Mencap, a definition of learning disability could be “a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life. 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.”

A learning disability covers a range of conditions and diagnoses, such as Down’s Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, Celebral palsy, Batten disease, amongst many others. Find out more at Gov.UK.

However, the definition should be used only as a general guide. A learning disability means different things to different people. If you think you might have a learning disability find out more about seeking a diagnosis.

This year, Mencap has chosen the theme of “Living Life with a Learning Disability” and reconnecting with friends and  communities following the pandemic. Another focus is an opportunity to talk about issues people continue to face following the removal of Covid restrictions and guidelines, perhaps as a result of being worried to go out or due to the difficult experiences of the last two years e.g. poor mental health, loneliness and access to healthcare. 

At North West London we believe it’s important for people to share and to tell their stories. If you consider yourself to have a learning disability share your experiences with nhsnwlccg.communications.nwl@nhs.net . We will include them below.

There are many community organisations that can support those with a learning disability and their families, whether that’s helping with an aspect of the condition itself or creating opportunities to socialise and take part in the activities and interests they enjoy. The Local Authority websites are a good source of information, and each of our eight boroughs also has a Local Offer page aimed at children and young people and their families.  

The Community Learning Disability Teams in each borough offer specialist health assessments and therapeutic interventions for adults with a learning disability. They also provide support to access primary and secondary health services, where facilitation is needed.

People with a learning disability often have poorer physical and mental health than other people, and can sometimes find it hard to know when they are unwell, or to tell someone about it. It is therefore important that people with a learning disability have an annual health check with their GP. These are offered to those aged 14 and over.