A learning disability is described as:
- a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind
- significant impairment of intellectual functioning
- significant impairment of adaptive/social functioning
Someone who has learning disabilities or learning difficulties may find it hard to learn things in the normal way, as the brain is not able to receive and process information in the same way as others. They may have trouble performing certain tasks or displaying certain skills. They may also struggle with social skills and interaction, potentially leaving them vulnerable in dangerous situations.
A learning disability is an impairment that exists from childhood or develops before birth. It does not develop in adulthood.
A learning difficulty cannot be cured, but there is support available to help those with learning difficulties succeed in life. Learning difficulties are often confused with mental illness, but the two are entirely separate. The most common learning difficulties are attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia.
Learning disabilities cannot be cured, and for parents, it can be a difficult and stressful time trying to help their child through education and making sure they receive the best support possible for their needs. It is important to also focus on the long-term and bigger picture. Explaining the child’s condition to friends, family, and anyone affected can be difficult, but is essential in helping manage the situation.
Making sure the child eats well, sleeps well and gets regular exercise will help them to focus, and teaches them good habits for life.
Talking to the child’s school and GP are the first ports of call, after which the child may be referred to a Child Development Team which includes nurses, psychologists and speech therapists to decide on the best course of action. This may mean the child having additional support at their current school or moving to a school more suited to their needs.