Learning disabilities

General links


UK Wide

Foundation for people with learning disabilities - help and information on support services and organisations.

British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD) - BILD's work focuses on human rights, positive behaviour support, developing the workforce that provides support, and working for greater community involvement.

Learning Disability Coalition - represents 14 learning disability organisations, and over 160 supporter organisations who have come together to form one group with one voice.

Learning disability services - RNIB.

England & Wales

SeeAbility - SeeAbility's purpose is to encourage people who are blind or partially sighted and have other multiple disabilities to achieve their full potential and enhance their quality of life.

Mencap - the largest charity working for people with learning disabilities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Mencap work to change laws, challenge prejudice and support people with learning disabilities to live their lives as they choose.

Down's Syndrome Association - helping people with Down's syndrome to live full and rewarding lives.

PMLD Network - a group of people committed to improving the lives of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

Improving health and lives learning disability observatory - Public Health England.


Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland - The MWC is an independent organisation working to safeguard the rights and welfare of everyone with a mental illness, learning disability or other mental disorder in Scotland. It publishes good practice guidance and provide advice and information about rights and best practice in relation to two laws: the Mental Health (Care & Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000.

Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability - SCLD is a charity that is made up of 12 partner organisations who have joined together with funding from the Scottish Government to help people make the changes set out in The same as you? (see reports etc below).

The Knowledge Network: Learning Disabilities portal - NHS Education for Scotland's portal provides information, resources and education for health and social care staff supporting children and adults with learning disabilities in Scotland.

Getting it right together: Learning how to confidently meet the healthcare needs of people with learning disabilities - Healthcare Improvement Scotland

Mental Welfare Commission Guidance on General Hospital Care - The MWC's guidance on treatment of patients with a mental illness, learning disability or other mental disorder in general hospital settings.

ENABLE - the largest Scottish organisation for people with learning disabilities and their families.

PAMIS -  established in 1992 to provide support for people in Scotland with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD), their family and paid carers.

Sense Scotland - offers a range of services for people whose complex support needs are caused by deafblindness or sensory impairment, physical, learning or communication difficulties.

Down's Syndrome Scotland - provides a range of services as well as campaigning to promote the interests of people with Down's Syndrome and their families.

Communication Forum Scotland - an informal alliance of organisations representing people with varied communication support needs.

Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance - committed to finding  an advocate for every vulnerable person in Scotland.

Northern Ireland

Family Support A-Z - search under L for 'Learning Disability' A-Z for LD services in Northern Ireland

Mencap Northern Ireland

Down's Syndrome Association Northern Ireland

Positive Futures - supporting people with a learning disability and their families to live full and valued lives

Inquiries, reports, policy documents etc

England & Wales:

Death by indifference (pdf) - following up the Treat me right! report. Mencap (2007).

Healthcare for all - 2008 report of the independent inquiry and Sir Jonathan Michael into access to healthcare for people with learning disabilities. Department of Health (England).

Health Inequalities and People with Learning Disabilities in the UK: 2010 (pdf) - Learning Disabilities Observatory.

Children and Families Act 2014 (pdf).

Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years (pdf) - statutory guidance for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities. Department for Education/Department of Health (England) (Jan 2015)

A Step by Step Guide for GP Practices: Annual Health Checks for People with a Learning Disability - Royal College of General Practitioners.

Equal access? (pdf) - A practical guide for the NHS: Creating a Single Equality Scheme that includes improving access for people with learning disabilities. Department of Health (England).

Building the right support (pdf) - a national plan to develop community services and close inpatient facilities for people with a learning disability and/or autism. NHS England/Local Government Association/adass (Oct 2015).

Learning disabilities: challenging behaviour - NICE quality standards.

Meeting the health needs of people with disabilities (pdf) - guidance for nursing staff. Royal College of Nursing (2013).

Out of sight (pdf) - stopping the neglect and abuse of people with a learning disability. Mencap. 


The Same as You?  (pdf) - a review of services for people with learning disabilities. Scottish Government.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland - links to reports of peer review visits to Health Boards in 2009.

People with learning disabilities in Scotland (pdf) – Health Needs Assessment Report 2004. NHS Health Scotland. 

Tackling Indifference (pdf) - healthcare services for people with learning disabilities, national overview report 2009. NHS Quality Improvement Scotland.

The Keys to Life (pdf) - improving quality of life for people with learning disabilities. The Scottish Government (2013).

Northern Ireland:

Bamford Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability - Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.