Learning Disability Week | Living Life with a Learning Disability

white letter tiles spelling "learning disability"

Learning Disability Week is an annual campaign from Mencap, dedicated to educating and raising awareness of learning disabilities and the experiences of individuals with learning disabilities. This year, the week of 20-26 June is Learning Disability Week, and the theme is “Living Life with a Learning Disability”.

The aim of the campaign this year is to look at the issues people with learning disabilities are still facing, even after the end of the Covid-19 restrictions, such as dealing with anxiety, or feelings of loneliness and isolation. Research has shown that people with a learning disability are more likely to report feelings of loneliness than those without a learning disability.

In addition to this, the campaign will also focus on how individuals with a learning disability are reconnecting with friends and getting back out into their communities following the end of lockdown and the removal of Covid restrictions.

In this blog we are going to look at learning disabilities; what life is like for people living with a learning disability, and how Learning Disability Week is key in raising awareness and telling the stories of individuals with learning disabilities.

What is a learning disability?

Differing from a learning difficulty such as dyslexia or dyscalculia, a learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which may lead to difficulty with things such as understanding complex and complicated information, learning certain skills, or the ability to take care of oneself. All learning disabilities are lifelong.

In this video from Mencap, 5 individuals with a learning disability share what it means to them:

Learning disability causes

Learning disabilities occur when the brain is still developing, and so as a result, learning disabilities often occur before, during, or shortly after birth.

Problems with the development of the central nervous system during pregnancy can cause a learning disability.

Genes can also play a role in the development of a learning disability, for example, Down’s syndrome is caused by an abnormality in chromosome 21, however this is not hereditary.

Other causes of a learning disability could be premature birth, a new born not receiving enough oxygen during birth, accidents, trauma, or illness after birth.

There are different types of learning disabilities, and each disability can be experienced in a range from mild to profound. This means that life with a learning disability can be different for everyone.

Life with a learning disability

This year, the theme of Learning Disability Week is all about sharing what life is like for someone with a learning disability.

Individuals with a mild learning disability may find it easy to communicate and mix with others, and may find the majority of everyday tasks manageable. They may need additional support with certain tasks such as making phone calls.

Individuals with a moderate learning disability may find it easy to interact with others, but may need some support with communication. Individuals with a moderate learning disability may also need support with mobility and personal care, but not always.

Individuals with a severe or profound learning disability will likely need support with personal care, mobility, and communication.

It is a common misconception that people with a learning disability are unable to live independently. In fact, it is entirely possible for individuals with a learning disability to live fulfilled, happy, and independent lives.

Learning Disability Week was founded by Mencap with the aim of dispelling these common misconceptions and raising further awareness about learning disabilities.

Learning Disability Week 2022

Every year, Mencap’s aim for the Learning Disability Week campaign is to educate and raise awareness, fight and campaign for a fair society, and smash stigmas and end discrimination against individuals with a learning disability.

This year, Mencap is encouraging individuals with a learning disability to get in touch and share something about their life – what they love, what they are proud of, and what they would like to change. These stories from people with lived experiences will be shared across platforms, highlighting just what life is like for somebody with a learning disability.

Further support

For further support, Mencap has an online community – a safe space for parents and carers of individuals with a learning disability to ask questions, share advice, and ask for and receive support. You can access the community here.

Mencap also offer a free learning disability helpline service, providing advice and support for individuals with a learning disability, their families, and their carers.

The helpline is open Monday – Friday, 10am – 3pm. Call 0808 808 1111.

Northern Healthcare support

Northern Healthcare provide 24/7 support to our residents, and this includes individuals with a learning disability. Our teams work with each of our residents to create a unique support plan to best support the needs of every individual.

A new Northern Healthcare service is due to open soon; located in Sandbach, this service is dedicated to supporting individuals living with a learning disability. Our team will support residents to live independently, helping individuals to learn new techniques and skills to empower independence.


Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash.

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