Learning Disability

A Learning Disability (formerly known as a Mental Handicap and referred to as an Intellectual Disability) is a type of DISABILITY.

A Learning Disability usually has a significant impact on a PERSON's life. A PERSON with a Learning Disability finds it harder than others to learn, understand and communicate.

People with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities need full-time help with every aspect of their lives, including eating, drinking, washing, dressing and toileting etc.

Learning Disability includes the presence of a significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information, to learn new skills (impaired intelligence), with

Further information regarding people covered by definition can be found in the document 'Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century'.

Although, from a social care perspective, an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of seventy or less is not sufficient reason for deciding if an individual should be provided with additional health and social care support, the following definition is applied within the Mental Health Services Data Set in the specific circumstance where data providers do not have an explicit data item to capture whether a PATIENT has a Learning Disability

Someone is considered to have a Learning Disability when they function at a level of intellectual ability which is significantly lower than their chronological age. This is usually considered to be equivalent to having an IQ of seventy or less:

Note: A Learning Difficulty is a type of Special Education Need which affects areas of learning, such as reading, writing, spelling, mathematics etc.

Further information on Learning Disabilities, can be found on the internet, for example:


This supporting information is also known by these names:
formerlyMental Handicap
alsoknownasIntellectual Disability
pluralLearning Disabilities