Learning Disabilities & Neurodevelopmental Disorders (NDD)

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Beyond Words, a charity that provides books and training to support people who find pictures easier to understand than words, has a selection of useful Covid-19 related resources on its Coping with Coronavirus page.

What is a Learning Disability?

According to Valuing People: A new strategy for learning disability for the 21st century, the government White Paper for England about health and social care support for people with a learning disability (2001), an individual who has a Learning Disability has the presence of:

  • a significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information or to learn new skills
  • a reduced ability to cope independently
  • an impairment that started before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development.

This means that the person will find it harder to understand, learn and remember new things, and means that the person may have problems with a range of things such as communication, being aware of risks or managing everyday tasks.

What is a Learning Difficulty?

A Learning Difficulty is not a Learning Disability.  This includes:

  • dyslexia
  • dyspraxia
  • Special Educational Needs
  • difficulties arising from brain injury occurred later in life
  • ADHD
  • dementia.

Tips for successful remote consultations with patients with additional needs

To make consultations with patients who have additional needs, such as learning disabilities, as successful as possible, it can be helpful to:

  • allow more time for them
  • check regularly that the patient is finding the consultation helpful
  • consider whether other forms of communication would be more suitable
  • augment the consultation with written material and follow up via email
  • have family members or carers present
  • apply a lower threshold for a comfort follow-up call the next day than you would normally.

See the Downloads section (click on show more) for easy-read advice on coping with Covid-19, staying safe and staying at home, for both those with learning disabilites and their carers. Mencap has also produced easy-read advice explaining Covid-19.

Useful information

Easy-read patient information leaflets on a variety of conditions and medications can be accessed via the EasyHealth websiteThe Royal College of Psychiatrists also has resources and leaflets available for people with learning disabilities in easy-read format and for their carers and clinicians. This includes information about capacity and consent.

NHS England has produced a series of leaflets to help families and carers of people with a learning disability know the signs of constipation, which can have fatal consequences more often in this group than in the population as a whole, and what to do if you think someone is constipated.

Initiatives to stop over-medication

STOMP and STAMP are initiatives to stop over-medication and support appropriate treatment in children with learning disabilities. This leaflet provides information on STOMP and STAMP to help families become more involved in discussion regarding psychotropic medication.

How to prepare your patient for a hospital visit

  • ask the patient's carer to fill in a Hospital Passport for them to take into hospital. This contains basic information to help them and the hospital staff if admission to hospital is needed or when attending an appointment.
  • encourage the patient to watch UCLH or RFH video prior to their visit
  • notify the Hospital Acute Liaison Nurses for learning disability patients that the person is coming in
  • print off/encourage the patient to read the relevant easy-read leaflets on the UCLH website.

Reporting the death of a person with a learning disability

The Learning from Lives and Deaths of People with a Learning Disability and autistic people programme (LeDeR) is a national review of deaths of people with learning disabilities. Please use this website to report a death of patient with learning disability who was aged more than four years old.

The LeDeR annual report from 2020 is available on the NHS website.

Area specific guidance for Camden

Here is a selection of useful information for GPs and carers of those with learning disabilities:

Area specific guidance for Barnet

Covid-19 vaccination resources for people with LDs (Barnet)

Legislative reports index

Say No to Abuse

Easy Read Health information

My Health Matters

In Barnet, a new Health Action Plan called My Health Matters has been developed. My Health Matters folders are given out to everyone with a learning disability in Barnet. Service users, carers and families can contact the service via the duty desk to arrange training by phoning 020 8359 6161.

Annual Health Checks

Royal College of GPs Mental Capacity Act

Pre Annual-Health Check Questionnaire

The Pre-AHC questionnaire is designed to be sent out to Service Users, providers and carers prior to the AHC taking place. This is a great tool to use to gather information to help inform the AHC itself and should therefore be sent back to the practice in good time. 

Hospital Communication Pack


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Dr Niro Kuganenderan


Borough Learning Disabilities & Autism Clinical Lead

Dr John McGrath


Borough Learning Disabilities & Autism Clinical Lead


Dysphagia screening tool for people with a learning disability

NCL Wide
Download DOCX, 39.27 KB

NHS 111: Easy read information

NCL Wide
Download PDF, 954.03 KB

Adult ADHD self-report scale (ASRS-v1.1): Symptom checklist

NCL Wide
Download PDF, 62.09 KB

Covid-19: ILDP adapted support pack

NCL Wide
Download DOCX, 5.03 MB

Covid-19: Top tips for carers on activities to do at home

NCL Wide
Download DOCX, 34.79 KB

Contact information: Who can help in an emergency?

NCL Wide
Download DOCX, 942.73 KB

Covid-19: Beating the virus (a book beyond words)

NCL Wide
Download PDF, 3.46 MB

Covid-19: Easy read top tips for staying at home

NCL Wide
Download PDF, 5.16 MB

Covid-19: Six easy read posters/flyers

NCL Wide
Download ZIP, 7.44 MB

Covid-19: Easy read advice

NCL Wide
Download PDF, 1.81 MB

Sepsis patient leaflet: Plain English version

NCL Wide
Download PDF, 191.15 KB

Sepsis patient leaflet: Easy read version

NCL Wide
Download PDF, 241.32 KB

Annual health check letters and goals: Easy read

NCL Wide
Download ZIP, 4.84 MB

Pre-health check questionnaire

NCL Wide
Download DOCX, 1.19 MB

STOMP resources

NCL Wide
Download DOCX, 286.81 KB

PHE easy read adult flu leaflet

NCL Wide
Download PDF, 132.41 KB

Learning disability health check guidance

NCL Wide
Download PDF, 727.42 KB

Learning disability codes

NCL Wide
Download DOCX, 256.25 KB

Registration form: Easy read

NCL Wide
Download PDF, 1.85 MB

Registration forms: Large print

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Download ZIP, 163.52 KB

GP appointment cards: Easy read

NCL Wide
Download DOC, 643.5 KB

Consent to share communication on needs: Easy read

NCL Wide
Download PDF, 152.06 KB

Communication support form: Easy read checklist

NCL Wide
Download PDF, 286.73 KB

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Last updated: Wednesday, 25 May 2022
Review date: Tuesday, 14 March 2023