What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is described as a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example day to day tasks such as household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.

People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complicated information and interact with other people. 

The level of support someone needs depends on the individual. For example, someone with a mild learning disability may only need support with things like getting a job. However, someone with a severe or profound learning disability may need full­time care and support with every aspect of their life – they may also have physical disabilities.

Our plans for learning disabilities 

Our plans for learning disabilities focus on transforming care. These plans are based strongly on the transforming care for people with learning disabilities – next steps report which follows on from the Winterbourne View Concordat.  

The author of the report, Stephen Bubb, states: "over the past few years people with learning disabilities and / or autism have heard much talk but seen too little action". Transforming care for people with learning disabilities - next steps, therefore focuses on improving services for people with learning disabilities and / or autism, who display behaviour that challenges (including those with a mental health condition). This will drive system-wide change and enable more people to live in the community, with the right support, and closer to home.

The programme reinstates that children, young people and adults with a learning disability and / or autism have the right to the same opportunities as anyone else to live satisfying and valued lives, and to be treated with dignity and respect. They should have a home within their community, be able to develop and maintain relationships, and get the support they need to live healthy, safe and rewarding lives.

Over the past 10 years, we have been making strides to ensure this vision becomes a reality. Locally Bradford’s changing lives programme has been the vehicle to implement this strategy for people with learning disabilities. However, for a minority, we continue to remain reliant on inpatient care - a view often held by families.

We are also following the NHS England policy and guidance following a care and treatment review