What is a learning disability?
A learning disability A learning disability is to do with the way someone's brain works. It makes it harder for someone to learn, understand or do things. is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities - for example household tasks, socialising or managing money - which affects a person 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.
There are approximately 70,000 people with a learning disability in Wales, with family members, carers and friends connected to them.
However, only 1 in 4 people with a learning disability in Wales are known to social services.
Conditions and learning disability
People with certain specific conditions can have a learning disability too. For example, people with Down syndrome Down syndrome, also known as Down's syndrome, is a type of disability. People with Down syndrome may find it hard to learn new things and may need support. They may have more problems with their health too. and some people with autism Autism is a disability. Autistic people find it difficult to understand what other people think and feel. They also find it difficult to tell people what they think and feel. Everyone with autism is different. can have a learning disability.
Conditions associated with learning disability
As well as having a learning disability, a lot of people have other physical or emotional conditions, and may receive more than one diagnosis.
This could have an impact on the kind of support they and their families need in their day-to-day life. You can find out more about some of the conditions that are closely associated with learning disability below.
What support do people with a learning disability need?
The level of support someone with a learning disability needs depends on the individual.
For example, a person with a mild learning disability may only need support with things like getting a job. However, someone with a severe or profound learning disability may need full time care and support with every aspect of their life - they may also have physical disabilities.
It’s important to remember that with the right support, most people with a learning disability can lead independent lives.
Learning disability explained
Find out more about learning disability in our Learning disability explained section on the main Mencap website A website is a page you can go to on the internet like Google or YouTube. .
Here you will find details of specific conditions as well as resources for healthcare professionals and employers.