Overview and key messages
There are several ways in which the term ‘learning disability’ can be defined, however for the purposes of this assessment, Learning Disability is defined as:
- A significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information and to learn new skills (impaired intelligence)
- A reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning); or
- These are in evidence before adulthood and have a lasting effect on development.
The way in which the needs of people with a Learning Disability are met has changed over the last twenty years. People who would historically have been placed in institutional care are increasingly being supported to live in their communities. Health and social care services along with the third sector collaborate to maximise the independence and potential of those who use our services.
Although Autism is not a learning disability it has been included in this section as services for people on the spectrum are generally provided from within learning disability teams or community mental health teams and NICE guidance (2008, 2012) provides standards for provision of services.