The most commonly used definition of learning disability includes:
- Significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information and to learn new skills (impaired intelligence);
- Reduced ability to cope independently (social functioning); and
- The condition started before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development.
There is clear evidence that most people with learning disabilities have poorer health than the rest of the population, facing challenges in accessing healthcare and improving their own health.
Facts and figures
- Approximately 2.5 per cent of the UK population is estimated to have a learning disability. This includes children, adults and older people;
- In North Yorkshire and York this equates to about 20, 000 people;
- Around 2, 000 people with learning disabilities in North Yorkshire and York are receiving social care services;
- The prevalence of learning disability in the general population is expected to grow by ten per cent by 2020; and
- People with a learning disability are more likely than the rest of the population to suffer from health problems like congenital heart disease, physical disabilities, sensory impairment, epilepsy and mental health problems and obesity.
Learning disabilities - key documents
Improving health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities - an evidence-based commissioning guide for CCGs
Author / date: Learning Disabilities Observatory/RCGP/RCPSYCH, October 2012.
Making written information easier to understand for people with learning disabilities - guidance for people who commission or produce easy read information - revised edition 2010
Author / date: Department of Health, November 2010.
Healthy ambitions for people with learning disabilities
Author / date: NHS Yorkshire and the Humber/September 2010.
Dignity in health care for people with learning disabilities (RCN guidance)
Author / date: Royal College of Nursing, January 2010.
Equal access? A practical guide for the NHS - creating a single equality scheme that includes improving access for people with learning disabilities
Author / date: Department of Health, December 2009.
World class commissioning for the health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities