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Autism, learning disabilities and learning difficulties

Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) is not a learning disability. Autism is a social and communication learning difficulty.

However, it is statistically more likely that people with ASC will have a learning disability than other sections of the population. 

Sometimes ASC is referred to as a developmental disability.


What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is defined by Mencap as a "reduced intellectual ability and difficulty in everyday activities". 

A learning disability affects the way a person learns new things in any area of life.  


The relationship between autism and learning disabilities

Around half of people with ASC also have a learning disability, many of whom will qualify for support from learning disability services.

Although some people with autism may be of average or above average intellectual ability, they may still experience difficulties in key areas. 


Support from within learning disability services

Where adults with autism qualify for support from social care, they are most likely to be supported within learning disability services.

In 2014 ECC data systems were altered to include the capture of presence of autism. Research has found that within the adult learning disabled population, the likely prevalence of autism is between 20% and 30%.


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