To understand learning disability it is important to firstly understand what a disability is. A person with a learning disability has an impairment which developed before, during or shortly after birth. This limits their ability to learn, understand or communicate, and restricts their ability to participate and be involved in everyday life situations. They may also have a physical or sensory disability or a mental health problem too.
There are many different kinds of learning disability requiring different levels of support. Some people may need occasional support with things like completing forms, managing money, using public transport or having a job. Some may need support with everyday things like getting dressed, shopping or help to live more independently. While others with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) need full-time support with every aspect of their lives.
It is important to think about a person with a learning disability as an individual first. Like everyone else in society a person with a learning disability has individual needs, dreams, rights and responsibilities. It is not helpful to think of a person with a learning disability as part of a group of people who sit outside of mainsteam society.