Learning Disabilities

A learning disability affects the way a person learns new things throughout their lifetime. Find out how a learning disability can affect someone and where you can find support.

A learning disability affects the way a person understands information and how they communicate. This means they can have difficulty:

  • understanding new or complex information
  • learning new skills
  • coping independently

Around 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability. It's thought up to 350,000 people have a severe learning disability. This figure is increasing.


Mencap provide a range of services from round-the-clock care to helping someone join in with local leisure activities, providing advice and information on things like employment and education, helping someone to live independently for the first time, and even things like reporting a crime to the police.

In a nutshell, they try to help in any area of a person’s life where they need support. 

Click here to visit their website.

Annual Health Checks

Annual health check - easy read guide

This leaflet tells you what a health check is, how to get a health check, and how to find out more information about health checks.

View PDF by clicking here.

Learning disability and autism

The NHS programme is called transforming care and is all about making health and care services better so that more people with a learning disability, autism or both can live in the community, with the right support, and close to home.

The content of this page has been adapted from NHS UK Choices.


The Easy read newsletter tell you about what the NHS are doing to make the NHS better for people with a learning disability, autism or both.

Easy Read Newsletter: Issue 11

In this issue you can find out about:

  • Getting help with difficult feelings – help when you’re feeling sad, angry, worried or confused.
  • Support for children and young people in crisis – spotting signs you’re in crisis and how to get help.
  • The Mental Capacity Act – getting the right support to make decisions.

We would like to know what you think! You can give us feedback on the newsletter at engage@nhs.net

Read the Learning Disability newsletter Issue 11

easy read

Easy Read Leaflets

Easy read is an accessible format of providing information designed for people with a learning disability.  The easy read format is easy to understand because it uses simple, jargon free language, shorter sentences and supporting images. 


Visit the following website to find easy read information leaflets:


Going to the dentist

This photo story shows how Katrina gets the right care when she goes to the dentist by asking for reasonable adjustments.

STOMP - Owen's story

STOMP stands for stopping over medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both with psychotropic medicines.

STOMP is about everyone working together to make sure people get the right medicine when they need it.

It is also about making sure that people get the other  support they need. This might mean they are less likely  to need this sort of medicine.

STOMP is about helping people to stay well and have  a good quality of life.

Sarah and Owen Thomas talk about how getting the right support and medication has helped Owen make the most of the opportunities he has been offered – including performing in his local pantomime and competing in the British and English Equestrian Vaulting Championships.

For more information read the easy-read leaflet.

Help for people with a learning disability, autism or both, to use NHS 111

NHS 111 is the NHS non-emergency number. It’s fast, easy and free. Call 111 on your phone and speak to a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals. They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you.

The video explains that you should call 111 if:

  • You need medical help – but it’s not a 999 emergency
  • You think you need to go to accident and emergency or need another NHS urgent care service
  • You don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP to call
  • You need health information or reassurance about what to do next.

The NHS 111 service is staffed by trained advisors, supported by healthcare professionals. It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Calls are free from landlines and mobiles.

The video was created with the support of many self-advocacy groups, and forms part of our ongoing work to ensure that everyone has access to NHS services.

The video provides tips on what you can do, to have a good call and aims to encourage more people with a learning disability, autism or both to use the NHS 111 service. The video will also be used to train all of the NHS 111 advisors.

It will help them to better understand the needs of people with a learning disability, autism or both and make adjustments during calls to suit their needs. Find out more about the NHS 111 service by watching the video.



Cervical Screening

All women between age 25 and 64 are asked if they want to have a smear test. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland you are invited:

  • every 3 years between age 25 and 49
  • every 5 years between age 50 and 64

In Scotland you are invited every 5 years between age 25 and 64.

Smear tests can help stop you getting cervical cancer. It is your choice whether to have a smear test.  

We know you may find smear tests confusing or worrying, but you are not alone if you feel this way. If you want to ask questions about having a smear test, read information about what is happening. You may want a friend, carer, or learning disability nurse to read it with you. You can also call Jo's cervical cancer trust on 0808 802 8000.

Easy Read leaflet below: