What is a Learning Disability?

Learning disability is also referred to as special needs, intellectual disability and developmental disability. The term ‘Learning Disability’ is defined by the Department of health as follows:

Learning disability includes the presence of:

  • A significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information, to learn new skills (impaired intelligence), with;
  • A reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning); which started before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development.(GB.DH 20)

What do we do?

We work in close collaboration with families and carers to encourage development manage behaviour issues and promote good emotional and Physical health for children and young people, with learning disabilities, aged 0-18 years.

We work very closely with parents to help them develop a consistent approach to managing their child.

Our aim is to provide a high quality, holistic, needs led service focusing on the behavioural and developmental needs of children and young people with learning disabilities which may include Autistic Spectrum Conditions and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

We work closely with parents and professionals supporting the child to develop a consistent approach. In order to build the skills and capacity of parents and community health staff to work more effectively with the children, young people and families who use the service, the service will offer training and development opportunities to these groups.

Here are some examples of how we could help:

  • Support in accessing health services
  • Sleeping patterns and routines
  • Feeding routines
  • Behaviour support and advice
  • Understanding and supporting autism
  • Mental health issues
  • Total communication
  • Toilet training and continence
  • Personal hygiene
  • Sexual health

We aim to help reduce barriers and support the child or young person to pursue a fulfilling life.

Children’s Learning Disability Health Team Leaflet
Information on how to refer to the Children’s Learning Disability Health Team

Which children and young people do we work with?

We work with children and young people from birth to their 18th birthday. The child is likely to have a diagnosis of a learning disability, ie. ‘an enduring developmental delay that has a significant impact on the daily life of the child and the family.’

The learning disability may also affect the child’s physical and sensory development, emotional well-being, communication skills and health needs.

We will work with children and young people whose normal behaviour challenges service delivery and causes significant strain to their families, and those who have an autistic spectrum condition and learning disabilities, but not those with a higher level autistic spectrum condition who my be of average or above average intelligence.


Our service can be accessed by a professional working with a family. This could include GP, school nurse, health visitor, care manager, teacher or anybody else working with the child.

Please include confirmation that parents/carers have given consent for the referral to this service.

  Download the referral form