What is a Learning Disability?

The term Learning Disability is a collective diagnosis for people who find it harder to learn and understand than other people. This is due to their brain's ability to receive and process information. There are many different types of learning disability but most develop before a baby is born, during birth or because of a serious illness in early childhood. Some people with a learning disability will have a specific diagnosis such as Down's Syndrome, Autism or Fragile X. For many, there will be no known cause for their learning disability and they will be told they have Global Developmental Delay.

Learning disabilities make it harder for people to learn, which often means they don't get the same opportunities or rights as others. Some people need support with everyday practical or social skills; some need 24 hour care whilst others are able to lead fairly independent lives. All of them, with help, can reach their full potential and make the most of their lives.

It is estimated that there are about 17,000 people in Hertfordshire who have a learning disability with approximately 6,000 of those living in South West Hertfordshire. Fewer than 20% of these people are known to Social Services and have access to their support and services.