What is a Learning Disability?
Across the UK, over 1 million people have a learning disability. Learning Disabilities affect the way that a person learns new things, understand information and communicate and socialise with others. This means that they may have difficulties with things such as household activities, learning new skills or coping independently, for example with managing money.
A person with Learning Disability may need support which can be offered in different ways, the level of support will depend on the severity of their Learning Disability. People with a mild learning disability may be able to communicate easily but take a while to learn new skills, so they may only need support with things such as getting a job. Someone with a severe Learning Disability however may need full-time care and support, for most aspects of everyday life such as eating and washing. They may also have difficulties in communication.
Learning Disability is often linked with other conditions, for example, someone with Down's Syndrome or Autism may also have a learning disability. With the right support, individuals with a Learning Disability can lead a full and independent life.
The causes of Learning Disabilities occur when a person's brain development is affected either during birth, before they are born, or in childhood.
Brain development can be affected by many different factors, common ones include:
- Illness in childhood such as Meningitis
- The mother becoming ill herself during her pregnancy
- Parents passing certain genes to the unborn baby (Inherited Learning Disabilities)
- Problems during birth that stop enough Oxygen getting to the brain
In many cases however, there are no known causes for an individual to have a learning disability
Danshell has considerable experience and expertise in helping those with a Learning Disability maximise their potential both as individuals as well as within the context of society. We have many Learning Disability Services across the UK to support people to develop independent skills.
A multidisciplinary, person centred approach lies at the heart of the support we offer to our service users. An experienced team including a consultant psychiatrist, psychology, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, nursing, and support workers work with each service user to identify their hopes, expectations, and interests, devising an individual treatment plan that has as its aim the maximisation of potential in the least restrictive of environments.
It is acknowledged that using outcome measures is the best way to measure how well the targets that are set are being met. Measurements such as the HoNOS-LD and Lifestar are used to measure ongoing change. Pre and post intervention measures are utilised to gauge the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions such as anxiety or anger management work. Each discipline will use proven tools to both effect change as well as measure it. The aim is always to keep the person at the centre of all that is done so as to maximise potential and prepare the service user to contribute to society to the best of his or her ability.