People have learning disabilities from birth, or develop them during infancy or childhood. A person with learning disabilities needs additional support with learning whilst at school, and with daily activities at school and as they live through their adult life. There are several definitions of learning disabilities, and some definitions require the person to have an intelligence quotient less than 70, such as the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases. Other definitions, such as that used by the Scottish Government, focus less on intelligence points, but describes people with learning difficulties as those who have a significant, lifelong, condition that started before adulthood, which affected their development and which means they need help to understand information, learn skills and cope independently.

People with learning disabilities experience poorer health compared with people in the general population. Many of these health inequalities are avoidable and could be prevented through effective health care management, health promotion and improvements in access to health services. There is a need to understand the multiple factors that influence the health of people with learning disabilities and to take action to address these. 

The pages in this section provides information on Scottish disability policy and statistics on the prevalence and health of people with learning disabilities in Glasgow. 

Additional resources

The Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory was set up in 2015, with funding from the Scottish Government, to contribute to health improvement by providing information, data, and intelligence on the health and healthcare of people with learning disabilities and people with autism.  Follow the link to the SLDO website (given above) for more detailed information on learning disabilities.