Cambridge Independent Neuroscience and Psychiatry Services
Learning disabilities
What is a learning disability?

Learning disabilities can present in many different ways and the degree of disability may vary significantly. 

Children with learning disabilities may struggle with all areas of development, for instance, language development, physical development, cognitive development (understanding complex ideas for instance), social and emotional development. 

Children may present as much younger than their chronological age and we may refer to developmental age on occasion, which helps professionals to understand the level of support required. 

Some children may grow up to become independent and some children may require ongoing help to look after themselves.

Learning disabilities versus difficulties  

Children with learning disabilities may find it more difficult to read, learn, understand or do things, compared to other children of the same age.  They may struggle in many areas, such as self-care, school work, learning practical skills, language and friendships.

Children with learning difficulties often find specific things difficult and may need support with the specific difficulty or difficulties, but may find other things relatively easy, manage well, independently and without support. 

What causes learning disabilities?

There are often several risk factors involved such as,

Genetic role (can run in families)
Brain injury during or after birth
Brain infections
Infections before birth

It is important to note that in more or less 50% of all chi