Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging
Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

2 What is a learning disability?

The previous section discussed how labels used about people with learning disabilites are controversial. But what exactly is a learning disability?

In this section you will be introduced to two recent definitions.

The definition in use in England (Figure 1) was adopted in 2001, from a White (Government) Paper called Valuing People.

Described image
Figure 1 The English definition of a learning disability

The definition in the Scottish Government’s Keys to Life strategy document (2013) is similar and a little clearer (Figure 2).

Described image
Figure 2 The Scottish definition of a learning disability

You can see from both of these definitions that there are four key elements to identifying a learning disability:

  • it is a lifelong condition
  • you have more difficulty than others in understanding things
  • you will struggle to learn new skills
  • you may need some help to manage your life.

People sometimes believe that a learning disability applies to people who score less than 70 in intelligence tests, known as IQ. However, the strategy documents are unanimous – it is not enough just to measure intelligence. An assessment needs also to take account of social functioning and communication skills – in other words, how well people manage their lives.

LD_1

Take your learning further371

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses372.

If you are new to university level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. Find out Where to take your learning next?373 You could either choose to start with an Access courses374or an open box module, which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification.

Not ready for University study then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn375 and sign up to our newsletter376 to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371