A range of disabilities of mental capacity. Clients with learning disabilities may have a limited mental capacity but will generally be able to function to the full extent of such abilities. The causes of learning disabilities are as follows:
• Genetic disorders, e.g. Down’s syndrome
• Intrauterine injury, injury to the growing foetus in the uterus such as an infection which causes damage to the brain and to parts of the nervous system , e.g. paralysis of a limb and loss of mental function
• Birth injuries , any injury to the baby during birth affecting the brain and nervous system, e.g. cerebral palsy
• Anatomical injuries to the brain or spinal cord such as spina bifida and hydrocephalus ; there are different degrees of such disabilities which range from mild through moderate to severe or profound learning impairment.
In 2002, a government White Paper ‘Valuing People – a New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century’ was introduced with four underlying principles of rights, independence, choice and inclusion. It confirms the rights of all individuals in conjunction with the Human Rights Act 1998 and Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and 2005 which works for people with learning disabilities.