Lewisham Learning Disability Implementation Plan Consultation

Closed 24 Oct 2023

Opened 13 Sep 2023




What is a Learning Disability?

A learning disability is defined as:

  • 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’.
  • An IQ of less than 70.

A learning disability is lifelong condition.

It has no social or economic or ethnic boundaries.

There is no cure for a learning disability.

What causes a Learning Disability?

A learning disability is caused by something which affects the development of the brain either before birth, during birth or in early childhood.

Possible causes may include:

  • an inherited condition – for example, Fragile X syndrome
  • abnormal chromosomes – for example, Down’s syndrome or Turner syndrome
  • exposure to environmental toxins or infections and illness during pregnancy (e.g.Rubella)
  • a premature birth or complications during birth resulting in a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain
  • illness – for example, meningitis or measles
  • injury or trauma to the brain in early childhood

Sometimes the cause of a learning disability remains unknown.

What a Learning Disability Isn’t?

People often confuse learning difficulty with a learning disability. Examples of a learning difficulty are Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Autism, is also different from a learning disability. Autism is also a lifelong condition which affects how a person communicates and relates to other people and experiences the world around them. 

What kind of support do people with a Learning Disability need?

Some people with a learning disability are able to live their lives with only a small amount of support. Other people may need daily support or 24-hour support, to keep them healthy and safe. The amount of support is different for each person. With the right support most people with a learning disability can learn and maximise their independence.

People with a learning disability have been telling the government, the NHS and their local councils that they want the chance to be more independent and to live the same lives as people without a learning disability.

What are we doing to help people with a learning disability in Lewisham?

We have listened to all the things that people with a learning disability and their families have been saying. We have put these in a plan – The Learning Disabilities Implementation Plan.

This plan focuses on Seven Priorities. These are the seven things that people have told us are most important to them. (You can read about these seven priorities when you click on the survey link below.)

Why your views matter

We want to ask people in Lewisham what they think about the Seven Priorities and if you think we have got them right.  

What you tell us will be used to make the Learning Disabilities Implementation Plan better, prioritise the actions we will take with the money we’ve got and so help improve the lives of people with a learning disability in Lewisham.

We will also present the plan and the feedback you gave us at these Council

  • The Healthier Communities Select Committee on November 2nd 2023
  • Mayor and Cabinet meeting on 6th December 2023

How you can take part.

We have organised a 6-week consultation. This begins on September 13th 2023 and closes on 24th October 2023.

We would like you to:

  • Click on the link to the survey below.
  • Read the priorities.
  • Give us your feedback.  

If you require any support to complete this survey, or you would like a paper copy of the survey, please contact us on:

Telephone: 07842 864291

Email: contractsteamduty@lewisham.gov.uk 

Please email us or leave a voice message with your name, your contact details and how we can help you. Someone will respond to your message within 2 working days.

If you want to have more detail, a draft version of the Learning Disability Implementation Plan is available to read in the related documents section below.


  • All Areas


  • Carers


  • Adult social care