Learning Difficulty or Disability?

What is the difference between having a Learning Difficulty and a Learning Disability?

According to Mencap, a Learning Disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socializing 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 full-­time care and support with every aspect of their life – they may also have physical disabilities.

People with certain specific conditions can have a learning disability too. For example, people with Down’s syndrome and some people with autism have a learning disability.

It’s important to remember that with the right support, most people with a learning disability in the UK can lead independent lives.

Learning Difficulties – Some of the signs that a child has learning difficulties are as follows. The severity of these symptoms will often depend on how severe the Learning Difficulties are.

  • Difficulty in learning new or complicated information;
  • Difficulty in learning practical skills such as tying shoelaces and getting dressed;
  • Difficulty in learning social skills such as holding a conversation;
  • Difficulty in communicating;
  • Low self esteem caused by comparing themselves to other children;
  • Poor memory;
  • Poor attention span.

Learning Difficulties can often be a life long condition but it should be stressed that they can usually be managed if appropriate and early intervention is sought.


Read this Booklet called –  It Takes All Kinds for a clearer picture on how to help individuals with Learning Difficulties.

Loneliness and Learning Difficulties are the subject, of this excellent blog by Dinah Aitken, published in 2016.