The Definition of Learning Disability

It can be difficult to give a simple definition of a learning disability given the extensive range of conditions a term as broad as this covers. As a general concept learning disabilities affect the way an individual learns new things, comprehends information and how they communicate their thoughts.

Learning disabilities range in severity so impact people’s lives to varying degrees. Those with relatively mild conditions can often look after themselves, have little difficulty in communicating but take a little longer to learn new things. More severe conditions may result in an individual being unable to communicate at all and requiring more dedicated care and support to cope with day to day tasks. This type of care is often required for their whole lives.

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Learning disabilities can be caused by a number of factors that affect brain development. The most common causes are believed to be illness during pregnancy, oxygen starvation cause by complications giving birth, genetic disorders and particular illnesses caught during childhood such as meningitis. There are however times when there is no apparent cause behind the development of a learning disability which can be especially difficult for parents to come to terms with.

A profound and multiple learning difficulty (PMLD) is another classification of learning disability. This diagnosis is given when a child has more than one disability with the most significant being a learning difficulty. Those living with PMLD will require full time care for day to day living and often have complex health issues associated with their condition.

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