What is a learning disability?

"Disability does not mean inability!"

Learn about disability

What is a learning disability?

From physical disability to learning disability, there is a broad spectrum of disabilities that affect people in different ways. However, it's important to remember that disability does not mean inability. We strongly believe that people who have a disability should be given the same opportunities to fulfill their potential as everyone else. At Les Amis, we aim to empower our residents and service users to live full and fulfilling lives,and we actively support and encourage them in what they choose to do, working inclusively with parents, carers and other professionals to ensure the very best care.

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which means that an individual may have difficult with everyday activities, such as household tasks, or with socialising or managing money. These issues can affect someone throughout their whole life, so it’s important to implement a plan that works for them and allows them to develop at their own pace.

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

The level of support someone needs will depend on the individual. For example, someone with a mild learning disability may only need help with tasks like filling out a job application. However, someone with a severe or profound learning disability may need full time care and support in every aspect of their life, and they may also have physical disabilities which require the use of certain equipment or adaptations to their home. 

People with other conditions can have a learning disability too. For example, people with Down’s syndrome and some people with autism have a learning disability that needs specific care and support. Despite this, it should be stressed that most people with a learning disability in Jersey are able to lead independent and satisfying lives.

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What causes a learning disability?

There are several things can cause a learning disability. A learning disability occurs when the brain is still developing (before, during or soon after birth), and the severity ranges from mild, to moderate and severe. People can also develop learning disabilities as they get older; through trauma or illness, or exposure to toxic chemicals. 

Before birth, things can happen to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) that can cause a learning disability. A child can be born with a learning disability if the mother has an accident or illness, or through exposure to toxins, such as lead or drugs and alcohol whilst she is pregnant. Sometimes, learning disabilities are genetic, in other words a development of certain genes. Genes are the chemicals in our bodies that contain information about us,­ like how we look and how we sound…

  • A person can be born with a learning disability if he or she does not get enough oxygen during childbirth, has trauma to the head, or if he or she is born too early (or due to a prolonged labour).
  • After birth, a learning disability can be caused by early childhood illnesses, accidents and seizures. Neglect and lack of stimulation can also be a factor for the development of a learning disability. 
  • Adults can develop learning disabilities following trauma, stroke or illnesses such as dementia. Drug and alcohol abuse can also contribute to learning disabilities later on in life.
What kind of learning disabilities do people have?

There are quite a lot of different types of learning disability, which can be mild, moderate or severe. In all cases, a learning disability is a lifelong issue.

It can be difficult to diagnose a mild learning disability, as individuals will often mix well with others and will be able to cope with most everyday tasks. However, they may need support in other areas of their life such as filling out forms, or managing finances and bills.

People with a moderate learning disability or profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD), will need more attentive care and support with areas such as mobility, personal care and communication. Physical disabilities are often an attribute to some learning disabilities and as such, different care is needed to overcome any physical difficulties.

​How can I make a comment or complaint?​

If you have a comment on how we could improve our services, or would like to compliment the service you have received, phone us on 01534 850600, fill out the form on our feedback page

Getting in touch

We’d love to hear from you if you want to find out more. We’re based at Five Oaks, close to the JEP, so feel free to pop in during working hours. Or give us a call on 850600 or email info@lesamis.je. Alternatively, you can message us through Facebook or Twitter.

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DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT BY iPOP DIGITAL - Les Amis Limited Registered Charity No. 232 - LA Incorporated No.231 - ASSOCIATION OF JERSEY CHARITIES NUMBER: AJC 113